Did You Ever Accidentally Hire a Good Employee?
The title question is a combination of two others that are more difficult than they appear:
- Ever have an applicant who ticked every box but six months later, you are convinced someone switched that person out for the employee you have? You likely have a specific name in mind.
- Ever have an applicant who ticked every box and six months later, is even better than expected? You can probably name that person, too.
Those two questions lead to the obvious follow-up: what did you do different in those two instances? Probably nothing; you likely followed the same process with each hire. You could simply put the resumes of the finalists on the wall in filling the next opening and toss a dart; you have the same expectation of making a good choice. And until and unless you figure out how to tap into the occupational DNA of both applicants and existing employees, the preceding questions will dog you. The DNA aspect will be addressed in a subsequent post.
Turnover is an on-going issue among BPOs and the best remedy for reducing it is through hiring that focuses on job fit.
How do you do that? Data. Outsourcing providers regularly use data to monitor KPIs within campaigns, or track agent performance, or dig to spot emergent trends. The same can be done with people and the key data here is already available – just look at your top performers. What are their common characteristics? Do you know? Far too many organizations don’t because they’ve never bothered to find out. But if you do know, then you can assess applicants for skills and attitudes, preferences and behaviors, and map those results to high-performing agents.
Companies, too often, are populated by what we’ll call “at-leasters,” meaning those employees who do at least enough to meet minimum expectations and retain their jobs. It’s not likely they go beyond that; it’s not even clear if they like their work. This is the opposite of engaged employees. A lack of engagement is not just employees who are unhappy, unmotivated, or unproductive, it’s also employees put into positions for which they are poorly suited. Go back to the questions at the beginning. All that money spent to recruit, hire, and train someone when, in reality, many of those people are being set up for a poor fit, for boredom, maybe even for failure.
Finding good people is difficult and some of this is due to factors you cannot control. It is also true that the workplace is radically different from the era of working at a single employer for forty years and earning a gold watch and pension. But human nature is relatively constant – even the happiest company in America would be a drag for someone who is in a job that is ill-suited to their interests. When you like doing something, you not only do more of it, you do it with greater focus, higher productivity, and heightened intensity. It’s not rocket surgery. If it were, the question in the title would be one nobody asked.