White Knight Case Study
Based on the HR Business Partner of White Knight’s findings there is a lot of room for improvement in their recruitment and selection process. Performance levels and customer satisfaction are taking a hit due to a lack of efficiency in areas such as recruitment/selection, staff retention, job design methods and reward management. My first recommendation would be a change in the advert strategies used by the company by firstly redesigning the job description, being more specific in job competency and personal characterisation that would be more suited to the call centre position.
Having a clearly outlined job description and person specification will not only help filter the pool of suitable applicants for vacancies but will also deter unsuitable candidates from applying. I would include person specification within the job description and have a 3+ year experience in a call centre environment as a must have, therefore, reducing the training and induction time and costs and lessening the stress it may have had on existing permanent staff who previous to this would have had to do the mentoring.
Secondly I would recommend an entire restructure of the existing interview process referred to as “crude and superficial” in the company. The current interview seems to be hugely unstructured, lacking in content. The job interview will be a primary source of information about candidates. The interview strategies I would implement in the company would be a mixture of two or three interview types. That being, firstly, an individual interview or a telephone interview and then a second phase to the screening process would be the introduction of work sampling as part of the interview process. The use on an individual interview and a telephone interview would be entirely dependent on the position(s) that needed to be filled at that time.
An individual interview would be used for the recruitment of permanent full-time because with the more permanent positions it is important to build up a rapport with potential candidates and to give a good impression about the company in order to retain staff and cut down on the level of staff turnover from the get go. For part-time positions I would recommend the use of telephone interviews, especially for the temporary staff recruited to handle the pre-Christmas peak. As the job position is for that of a call centre rep it would give a good indication of their phone manner and how well they are able to handle on the spot questioning over the phone.
The second phase of the interview would be of great value to both the company and applicants in the sense that the “work sampling” stage gives the candidate an opportunity to showcase their skills. It also indicates the level of performance of the applicant before taking the on applicant. This method of screening would be particularly beneficial in a call centre as you can observe how the manage customers.
Also as a recommendation for an improved outcome at Whit Knights I would aim to limit the large quantities of temporary staff being recruited to handle the pre-Christmas peak by managing existing staff members more efficiently and introducing job rotation and incentives. As found by the HR Business Partner “ Permanent agents with more than three years’ experience or temporary agents who returned in three consecutive years had a significantly higher levels of performance on average than those with less service – they were hitting the targets”.
As it stands the call centre is made up of 250 permanent full-time staff (working shifts), 60 permanent part-time staff (also in shifts) and a colossal 200 temporary agents most of them being part-time. If the permanent staff were to be managed more efficiently by way of eliminating shift work and have a more structured rota, enabling the prospects of job promotion (moving from a part-time to a full-time position) in turn reducing the amount of temporary staff being hired it would, in turn, lower the level of staff turnover in the company which according to the HR’s findings, has cost the company €224,000 last year alone as the level of recruiting and training was very high due to the amount of permanent staff leaving.
If there were incentives implemented as well as job variation/ rotation it would attract a wider scope of suitable candidates for the positions being offered at a full/part-time base as opposed to a high level of temporary positions. If these were to be implemented and included under the job description when advertising the vacancy then in turn it would full more reliable permanent positions eliminating the need for excess temp staff and maintain that high level of performance previously achieved by permanent staff. The level of service and performance would be a lot more standard and level across the board. Finally when a selection is made of suitable candidates I would lengthen the induction period as well as structuring it a lot better than it currently is.
As it stands the induction for new agents is a half a day’s training by a team leader followed by the new agent to shadow an experienced agent for two days before they start managing calls themselves. It is quite evident that there are no massive costs to the company in this department as they are utilising existing resources within the company which is very efficient but in turn the quality of this training/induction may be lacking.
The half day training should be stretched to at least a full days training as there is generally a lot of information being given during any induction period. It should include information about White Knight as a company, the conditions of employment, and possibly including workshops as well as 1 days shadowing of an experienced staff member, again as a way for new agents to showcase their skills but also gives the company a chance to demonstrating and teach new agents how they expect calls to be handled and managed so as to ensure an equal standard of customer service from the beginning and in turn deliver consistent quality to customers for the future. It would also eliminate the possibility of bad habits being passed on by permanent employees giving the training which was a possibility in the present part of induction.
Taking all the above recommendations in to consideration the time involved with implementing them would be quite minimal for the company. With regards to the interviewing process, the use of telephone interviews will cut the process in half if the telephone interview is well structured asking the same questions across the board in an aim to get the same level of answering from each candidate, in turn, making the interviewees answers more comparable. It would also cut the costs for the company in a sense that if the company should require a base for an individual interview they would have had to pay out for a function room if they did not have the facilities at their head-quarters.
In relation to the restructuring of the induction stage, it would be more cost efficient to hold a full days training as oppose to a half days training as you would have to pay to facilitate for new employees for the half day as it stands at probably the same cost. With the inclusion of a workshop as part of the induction it will also reduce the time it would take for a new agent to be fully trained in the job.