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The Talent is the Key: Ways Call Center Leaders Can Attract Talent, Build Skills, and Reduce Turnover

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Are you having difficulty filling your open call center roles and retaining your top talent? You’re not alone. Many call center leaders across the country are struggling with the same issues of attraction and retention within their call center. 

Call center leads want to best support their team, lower operating costs, and improve both staff morale and customer satisfaction. While there’s no magic bullet, we're sharing three key strategies that can help you and your team create and keep a productive call center workforce.

1. Consider transferrable skills

During the COVID-19 pandemic, in-demand jobs shifted significantly. Hospitality and retail workers found themselves out of a job and wondering how to apply their skillsets to new career opportunities. Transferrable skills include:

     • Active listening
     • Speaking
     • Customer focused mentality
     • Decision making
     • Teamwork/coordination with others
     • Computer skills
     • Work within a regimented schedule

Customer service roles such as those in call centers – both virtual and onsite – are an excellent next step. For hiring managers, it’s critical to consider displaced workers in their recruiting strategy. Take a deep dive into the skillsets of the role you’re looking to fill and consider other occupations that share those same skillsets. You may not always immediately see the correlation but often times there are untapped pools of skilled talent just waiting to make a positive impact at your organization.

2. Create opportunities for upward mobility with upskilling

Once you assess the skills that are needed, where there is talent with transferrable skills and where you’re experiencing talent skill gaps, that’s the opportunity to start building those skillsets through training. If candidates have most of the skills needed but a few gaps, training can help to fill the gaps. I find that when your employees feel the company is investing in them, they’re more apt to stay.

Soft skills are critical to success in today’s call centers. In fact, it’s engrained in our process at Manpower to identify those foundational soft skills, like conflict resolution and interpersonal communication skills, that make a candidate a strong fit for a job. Then, we help them to elevate to the highest performing professional with ongoing training opportunities in both technical and soft skills.

When we think of building the skillsets that we need for today and tomorrow, training and development is critical. Embrace a strategy that includes upskilling as a way to develop talent. One way we do this at Manpower is through our Manpower Acceleration Program, a part of MyPath, a robust training and development program that provides training, education, career coaching and development so Manpower Associates find a meaningful career pathway. We have a Contact Center Lead program that essentially welcomes customer service representatives with a background in call center environments to take courses on leadership, management and more so that they complete the program ready to take the next step to elevate in their career. Offering training such as this is an outstanding way to provide meaning and added value to your staff in a way that boosts your retention rates

3. Identifying triggers and reducing burnout

Call center leaders at every level are feeling the pain of increased turnover rates. It’s no surprise as call center positions can be uniquely stressful for many reasons. You may be dealing with angry or emotional customers, is standard in a front-line, navigating complex situations regularly all while juggling multiple responsibilities, managing time effectively and working toward your meeting goals. When that all piles up, it can lead to burnout. If you are constantly struggling with battling burnout, it’s difficult to invest in your team and create sustainable career pathways that ultimately helps your call center achieve peak performance.

This is not new news to call center managers. However, what may be new news is how to spot the signs that could start with absenteeism, lead to burnout, and potentially end in turnover.

Here’s what the Mayo Clinic² shares as symptoms of burnout to watch out for:
     • Becoming cynical or critical at work
     • Trouble getting started
     • Irritability or impatience with co-workers, customers or clients
     • Lack of energy to be consistently productive
     • Difficulty concentrating concentrate?
     • Lack of satisfaction from one’s achievements
     • Disillusioned about one’s job
     • Using food, drugs or alcohol to feel better or to simply not feel
     • Change in sleep habits
     • Unexplained headaches, stomach or bowel problems, or other physical complaints

¹ Blatt, R., Doellgast, V., & Kwon, H. (2004). The U.S. Call Center Industry 2004: National Benchmarking Report. The Global Call Center Industry Project. Retrieved from

² Mayo Clinic (2020). Job burnout: How to spot it and take action. Retrieved from

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