The future of HR

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Kirsty Holden 2nd February 2018 5 minute read

The future of HR

On Tuesday 23rd of January, the Contact Centre Association (CCA) hosted their HR Forum, where members gathered to discuss the future of talent development and retention. Capita's HR Operations Partner Kirsty Holden shares her thoughts on the outcomes of the day.

I was thrilled to attend the Contact Centre Association’s HR Forum in Glasgow. Keeping up-to-date with the very latest topics impacting the industry is crucial, as is having open discussions with other organisations that are facing similar challenges and opportunities as we are at Capita. There are some topics that benefit from being addressed at industry level, in addition to the work carried out at an organisational or industrial level.

The event tackled the issues of recruitment, retention, career progression and mental health. I was proud to see Capita’s own Stephen Mooney take to the stage to give an overview of some of the work the award-winning BBC Audience team delivered last year. Stephen talked about identifying an issue, how the team went about overcoming it, and the subsequent programme that was developed in partnership with Capita Capability and Development. I was interested to find out more relating to how they embarked on a culture change programme which has improved attendance, performance and engagement.

It was also a privilege to hear from other organisations and gain insight into how industry challenges are being tackled elsewhere – particularly in relation to the recruitment and retention of employees. Of the topics predicted to impact HR in customer management over the next twelve months, several key points stood out to me.

Recruitment

It was interesting to hear how organisations are taking different approaches to recruiting contact centre employees, and how some are moving away from traditional competency-based interview questions and introducing emotional intelligence as part of the process. Gamification is increasingly being used in recruitment and training – I’m interested to see how this can be developed further and how innovations in technology can improve this (particularly in the areas of virtual reality and mobile applications).

Mental health and wellbeing

This is an area of increasing importance in many organisations. Though physical health and wellbeing seemed to be the priority in recent years, organisations are now more than ever considering how they can take action to focus on mental health. It’s clear that, from a customer management perspective, we have to look at this topic from two sides. Firstly, we must continue to develop mental health and wellbeing programmes within our organisations. We must remove the stigma around talking about these issues, and promote positive ways of leading and managing businesses that consider the factors of working life that can impact mental health and wellbeing. Secondly, we need to consider mental wellbeing in greater detail when serving customers – our agents need to be able to identify different approaches to serving and supporting people that may be struggling with mental health challenges.

Career progression within contact centres

High rates of attrition can be a common problem in the industry. By creating thriving environments with a focus on engaging our workforce, we will begin to make a positive impact. Communicating potential career paths and providing training and development to help our contact centre colleagues progress is crucial, as is our approach to internal communication and celebrating the progress of our colleagues. 

As times change, so do the nuances of how we solve these challenges. Technology is a crucial enabler for us in HR – it can help us to ensure that we are able to keep on top of an advisor’s performance, and give our people access to tools and programmes that simplify their role and make it more rewarding. However, I firmly believe that technology’s role as an enabler should remain exactly that – a tool to help our people achieve even greater success for our clients. The opportunities available for our industry lie in our ability to unlock talent within our teams that helps to make our customers’ lives easier and supports our clients’ objectives. Some of the tactics we deploy will undoubtedly have technology right at the heart of them, but others will be based on leadership, management and the personal skills that will help to create an environment in which innovation can flourish.

I’m looking forward to seeing how our industry responds to these challenges over the next twelve months, and beyond.

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