Why we take our time to recruit and train our staff

By Sharon James

 

Recent research has found that, on average, newly hired call centre employees receive 15 days of training before taking calls from service users. While this may be enough time to provide a thorough overview of a helpline and its service users, at Connect Assist we believe staff training needs to go far beyond a brief induction phase to be effective.

We pride ourselves on the quality of training we provide to all new members of staff, and our process takes up to five weeks in total.

 

A unique approach to recruitment

Unlike other call centres, the helpline services we provide are often real lifelines for people dealing with very difficult personal circumstances. Our employees are therefore hired based on their ability to both understand and manage vulnerable and often challenging callers.

When recruiting new staff we take the time to ensure each individual is right for the role. Not only must they have a desire to work with our clients, they must also be committed to supporting our service users. In fact, many of our staff have first-hand experience dealing with some of the issues they advise on daily.

As an organisation that works with a wide range of different charities and service users, we believe it is of upmost importance that our team reflects the diversity of the callers they will interact with every day. That’s not to say our recruitment process favours years of industry experience, in fact we often prioritise diverse life experience and the ability to offer understanding and compassion.

 

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Immersive staff training

At the start of a new partnership with an organisation, our contact staff undergo a period of classroom-based training, during which they immerse themselves in the charity they will be working with to gain as much first-hand insight as possible.

Each call handler only works with one charity, so they are able to build up individual expertise and offer tailored advice and support to service users.

Towards the end of their training, our new starters are each partnered with an existing employee in a ‘buddy’ system. During this time, each pair works through a number of role-play scenarios to ensure they are equipped to deal with any call that may arise.

No matter how far contact centre technology advances, here at Connect Assist we believe the individual skill and ability of our workforce is our greatest asset. In order to offer the most effective and efficient level of support to our service users, a thorough and on-going approach to recruitment and staff training will always be our highest priority.

 

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