Job initiation and career prospects are both very important to contact center agents, as they are to all employees. This category starts with questions about initial training and transition and then asks questions about the individual’s professional and personal growth prospects with the company.


Training and Promotions

5. Strongly Agree

4. Agree

3. Neither

2. Disagree

1. Strongly Disagree

Net Score
top 2 –

low 2

Our initial training program prepared me well for my position.

50.7%

43.6%

4.3%

1.0%

0.4%

92.9%

I felt supported during the transition from the initial training environment to doing my job independently.

27.2%

46.3%

13.8%

9.4%

3.3%

60.8%

I am satisfied with the opportunities for developing my skills.

33.0%

47.4%

11.2%

6.4%

2.1%

72.0%

I feel my personal growth is encouraged here.

27.9%

43.5%

14.8%

10.0%

3.8%

57.7%

There is a clear career track within the company.

31.9%

39.0%

15.6%

9.0%

4.5%

57.4%

Category Averages:

34.1%

44.0%

11.9%

7.2%

2.8%

68.1%

 

Overwhelmingly, respondents reported positive feedback on initial training in terms of preparing them for their positions. The Net Score for this question, at almost 93%, was the highest in the survey. 

However, responses to questions about support, growth and career after initial training drop precipitously. The transition period (also called “nesting” in many centers) is rated much less favorably, garnering about half as many strongly agree ratings as initial training.

Interpretation

The positive feedback on the preparation received in initial training is important since first impressions are crucial to nurturing a productive agent who will master his or her job and fit into the culture. However, many managers would do well to review their transition processes to see where improvements can be made in providing support to their new employees.

Analysis of the final three questions indicates that agents are reasonably satisfied with growth and career development possibilities in their jobs. However, there seems to be a distinction made by some of the respondents between opportunities for professional development on the one hand, and feeling that one’s personal growth is encouraged on the other.   It appears that agents see a structure that provides for skills and career development more than they see an interest in their own individual growth. Millenial employees, in particular, desire employment that favors their personal growth.

These findings indicate that managers might do well to focus on two areas:

  1. Transition phase from training to floor. You want the glow of initial training to continue when agents start doing their jobs. Providing a higher level of professional support, a warmer and more welcoming embrace as they face their first customers, and regular tips and feedback might make this phase a more satisfying one for more agents, and perhaps help reduce turnover.
  1. Personal development. Personal concern for agents’ development cannot just be written into a career manual or posted on the bulletin board. It must be conveyed by managers and supervisors to agents in dozens of personal interactions daily. Taking the time to learn and act on the growth aspirations of each individual is part and parcel of the manager’s job.

The concept that ties both of these areas together is mentorship. A center that embeds a mentorship mentality in managers from beginning to end will encourage nesting supervisors to see new agents as diamonds to be polished. It will also encourage supervisors and managers to take a personal interest in each agent’s aspirations and goals.

Finally, programs that encourage professional growth include plans for ongoing training and skills certification (via both in-house and on-line courses), and programs that allow agents to be temporarily loaned to other areas of the company, etc. Pay bumps and promotions to team lead positions that are tied to skills certifications (“learn to earn”) have worked well in many centers.

Training

Impact:

·      Agent Turnover

·      ATT, ACW

·      First Call Resolution

·      Employee Development Processes


"My
 Agent Voices blog posts are the result of research on over 5,000 agent surveys conducted in North America."
 - - Bruce Belfiore

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faculty-bruce-belfiore-3.jpgBruce Belfiore is Senior Research Executive and CEO of BenchmarkPortal, custodian of the world’s largest database of contact center metrics.  He hosts the monthly online radio show "CallTalk" and is chancellor of The College of Call Center Excellence, which provides courses for call center professionals.  He has consulted for many Fortune 1000 companies, helping them to improve the strategic value, efficiency and effectiveness of their customer contact operations. He is the author of the book Benchmarking At Its Best for Contact Centers and holds bachelor’s, MBA and JD degrees from Harvard University.

Topics: Agent Voices, Agent Turnover, Average Talk Time, First Call Resolution, After Call Work Time, Agent Development, Employee Incentives