White Paper                                         Going Home –                                         Which Road Do    ...
 BackgroundOver the last ten years, interest in remote agent contact center models has steadilyincreased. For example, att...
 When hiring remote or home agents, two questions need to be answered:    1. Can they do the contact center job?    2. Can...
     Key remote agent competencies include autonomy and time management.Understanding the competency profile        Four Q...
 Hub & Spoke versus VirtualWith remote agent models, you have two recruiting models:  Hub & Spoke – this means that your  ...
 In our view, the access to talent is the most critical benefit of the virtual agent model. Ina traditional brick and mort...
 The other key benefit to the virtual model is the ability to optimize your recruitingefforts. For each candidate that com...
 Odds and EndsA few other things to consider for the remote agent model:Employee or Independent ContractorMost remote agen...
 About FurstPersonFurstPerson provides talent assessment solutions for customer contactorganizations. We enable companies ...
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in …5
×

FurstPerson Going Home – Talent Acquisition Strategies for Remote Agent Models – Which Road to Take?

499 views

Published on

0 Comments
0 Likes
Statistics
Notes
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Views
Total views
499
On SlideShare
0
From Embeds
0
Number of Embeds
1
Actions
Shares
0
Downloads
0
Comments
0
Likes
0
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

FurstPerson Going Home – Talent Acquisition Strategies for Remote Agent Models – Which Road to Take?

  1. 1. White Paper Going Home – Which Road Do You Take? Talent Assessment in the Remote Agent Model888 626 3412 Toll Free info@furstperson.com furstperson.com © 2012 FurstPerson. All Rights Reserved.
  2. 2.  BackgroundOver the last ten years, interest in remote agent contact center models has steadilyincreased. For example, attendance at the 2012 Remote Agent Summit held inFebruary in Dallas increased by 30% over 2011. And home agent models are notlimited to the United States and Canada. Several firms are operating home agentmodels in Europe and a UK version of the US Remote Agent Summit is planned forJuly. Michele Rowan of At Home Customer Contacts which hosts the Remote AgentSummit and Workshops reports that:  Survey results from the 2012 attendees indicate that their percentage of home agent population will double in size from YE 2012 to YE 2013 going from an estimated 18% to 36% of their customer contact population.More companies continue to shift contact center capacity from the traditional brick andmortar infrastructure to the remote agent model because of the low investment andhigh returns.The value proposition of the remote agent model includes a wide range of operationalareas: 1. Cost reduction through lower real estate costs 2. Improved productivity and agent performance 3. Higher employee engagement 4. Talent attraction and retention 5. Business continuity 6. Preparation for the workforce of the futureIn this discussion, we will focus on the talent assessment strategies in the home agentmodel. Specifically, we will highlight: 1. The competency profile of a successful home agent 2. Understanding your recruiting model options – hub and spoke versus virtual 3. Preparing for candidate volume in the virtual model 4. Odds and ends to considerCompetency Profiles of Home AgentsThe remote agent – what makes them different?     2
  3. 3.  When hiring remote or home agents, two questions need to be answered: 1. Can they do the contact center job? 2. Can they do the contact center job at home? 3.When you are hiring for a home agent role, you are first hiring for a customer care,support, sales, loyalty, or collections role. You must first understand if the candidatefits the hiring profile for these jobs. Then, you must understand if the candidate canperform the job while at home.We suggest a convenient 4 Quadrant framework to understand the competency profilesof each remote agent contact center job.  Four Quadrant Model: Matching CompetenciesThe chart to the right outlines and Resultsfour groups of competenciesthat can be used to understandand define the contact centerrole. A job analysis can helpyou understand whichcompetencies are mostimportant to your contactcenter job. To learn moreabout contact centercompetencies, visit our blogpostings on contact centercompetencies here, here andhere.Now that we have defined the contact center job we can think about the importantcompetencies that drive performance at home. Data gathered by FurstPerson from over1,100 job analysis survey participants across 29 different organizations, employingagents in both brick and mortar and at home environments confirmed that autonomyand time management are two competencies that rate as more important for successfulcustomer care performance in an at-home environment than in a brick and mortarcontact center. These are not the only competencies to consider though. You can readmore about this research on our blog here.     3
  4. 4.   Key remote agent competencies include autonomy and time management.Understanding the competency profile Four Quadrant Model: Matching Competencies tois a critical first step but knowing how Assessmentsto evaluate the candidate against thecompetency profile is an even moreimportant second step. The 4Quadrant chart to the right referencestalent assessment tools that can helpyou evaluate job competencies andbetter select job candidates. Forexample, for home agents, measuringautonomy and time management canbest be performed through personalityassessments. Measuring multi-tasking,for example, is best done via asimulation. More complex call typeslike technical support or sales mayrequire using a problem-solvingassessment. Be sure to read moreabout using assessment tools as part ofyour hiring process on our blog here. The key point is to understand the difference between the traditional brick and mortarcontact center role and the home agent role. These critical differences determinesuccess or failure for the home agent role.If you are considering moving top performers home as either reward or to pilot a homeagent model, you should consider evaluating them for the home agent role. Justbecause they are successful as a brick and mortar agent does not mean they will besuccessful in the home agent role. In our experience, many organizations moveemployees home and then see deterioration in performance because they are not fit forthe remote agent role. You can learn more about this in a previous white paper poston home agents and Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) and Net Promoter performance.     4
  5. 5.  Hub & Spoke versus VirtualWith remote agent models, you have two recruiting models: Hub & Spoke – this means that your Virtual – this means that agents agents work at home but live within can live anywhere. a convenient drive time of the   physical center.Comparison Table: Hub & Spoke versus Virtual Models Hub & Spoke Virtual  Offers pilot option to try out the remote  Access to talent anywhere and anytime agent concept with minimal effort which improves your ability to source  All hiring and training can potentially be difficult skill sets (i.e. nurses) or the most done at the contact center reducing your talented potential agentsKey Benefits learning curve and investment  Significant growth in candidate volume  In-person contact with candidate  Hiring optimization – you can match  Some growth in candidate volume candidates to all contact center jobs because of home agent option  Increase in candidate volume does not  Very challenging to meet candidates in- match virtual model person which requires careful recruitmentPotential  Stuck with same talent pool associated process planning to personalize the process with brick and mortar center  Requires careful planning, execution, andDrawbacks  Cannot fully utilize real estate cost investment for hiring, training, and front line savings management       5
  6. 6.  In our view, the access to talent is the most critical benefit of the virtual agent model. Ina traditional brick and mortar labor market, superior talent for contact center jobs iscapped based on population size, competitive influences, and distance. You might be ata 3 to 1 candidate to hire ratio or maybe 4 to1 or 5 to1. This limits your ability to selectpotential top performers. Virtual models allow you to remove or reduce population sizeand distance from the recruiting equation. You now have access to more talent whichmeans you can be more selective. Think of hiring at a 20 to 1 ratio. Virtual home agentmodels enable you to hire more potential top performers.Why does this matter? It is all about optimizing your hiring process and performance todrive more profit for your organization. Using a data-driven hiring process willdemonstrate that the more selective you can be, the more value you can drive in newhire production. This can lead to performance improvements of 20% to 50% for moreselective hiring models than hiring models stuck at a 3 to 1 hiring ratio.The figure below helps illustrate why. The virtual agent model offers you a largerselection of potential top performers. This equates to screening out potential poorperformers and hiring only those that meet or exceed your performance threshold. Onlya data-driven hiring model will help understand these performance trade-offs that are adirect result of your hiring practices.Figure: Labor Pool Comparisons     6
  7. 7.  The other key benefit to the virtual model is the ability to optimize your recruitingefforts. For each candidate that completes your process, you can match them to all ofyour contact center job families and call types. This enables you to save significantrecruiting expense, improve the chances of a candidate being hired by yourorganization, and improve overall fill time.Candidate VolumeFor hub and spoke, candidate volume is not as large a concern because it will mirroryour brick and mortar volume. However, moving to a virtual model requires you tocarefully plan the recruitment process and workflow. You should experience an increasein candidate volume with a virtual model which means you need to consider hiringautomation. If you stick with a recruiter led interviewing process, your costs willskyrocket, the candidate experience will be poor and, the candidate and recruiter effortwill be significant. Whether it is using assessment tests or some other type of filtering,you should plan to automate the front-end of the hiring process. The figure belowhighlights a traditional recruiter led model with a technology, data-driven model. Whilethis is an illustration of real world models, notice that the automated approach, backedby data-driven hiring models, reduces the number of interviews from 100 to 56 whichsaves the recruiting team significant time. Moreover, the 56 candidates at this pointhave passed two assessments calibrated for performance in this organization.Figure: Hiring Process Models and Management – Technology Saves Time and Cost     7
  8. 8.  Odds and EndsA few other things to consider for the remote agent model:Employee or Independent ContractorMost remote agent programs use an employee only model for many reasons butprimarily because directly employing remote agents solves many potential problems. Infact, several independent contractor models are now being challenged with lawsuits.Pick a State or ProvinceWith 50 States, the United States offers mini-labs on employment laws, costs, etc.Frankly, some States, like California, are almost universally avoided by virtual homeagent models because of the costs to employ someone in that State. Make sure tounderstand the costs and regulations associated with each State so you can focus yoursourcing spend on the most attractive markets.Recruiting TacticOne interesting recruiting strategy is to set-up a Google Alert for call centers or contactcenters so that you are notified of contact centers that are closing. With a virtual model,you can then reach out to that organization’s Human Resources team to potentiallysource and select those employees into your remote agent program.Provide a Computer or NotYou will need to determine your company policy on providing a computer to the new hireor requiring them to purchase or use their existing computer. This has a number oftechnical and financial implications including compensations and tax benefits.Work Shift TrendsAccording to survey data from the 2012 Remote Agent Summit and Michele Rowan, anemerging trend is increased utilization of split and staggered work shifts at home (oftenseveral a day), attracting high-caliber employees to customer contact positions, whilesharply matching arrival patterns of voice and non-voice work in very targetedincrements. The results are labor cost savings as material as facilities reductions formany organizations.     8
  9. 9.  About FurstPersonFurstPerson provides talent assessment solutions for customer contactorganizations. We enable companies to hire superior talent for service, sales,and support roles. These roles may be in-person, over the phone, or viachat/email. Our talent assessment solutions are customized by client, designedby our expert selection consulting team, and delivered via our web-based talentassessment platform. Each solution is designed to improve businessperformance.FurstPerson has provided contact center hiring solutions since 1997. Oursolutions are active in over 1,000 locations across North America, Europe, LatinAmerica, and Asia. Our industry leading solutions cover both brick and mortarand home agent needs. Our innovative technology includes call centersimulations as well as other industry leading assessment tools.Our contact center clients have realized results that have improved new hireretention, job performance, workflow efficiency, and overall profitability.FurstPerson clients typically realize up to a 70% reduction in 0 to 90 day attritionand up to a 45% improvement in performance.Learn more about FurstPerson:                 9

×