Are You Still Sourcing Call Center Reps and CSRs Yourself?

Recruiting dozens of call center and customer service representatives (CSRs) is time consuming.

It’s also wasteful: what could your recruiters be doing if they weren’t constantly sourcing, interviewing and hiring for these positions?

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  • Could they be working to build a talent pipeline in other areas of your business so that they won’t be scrambling for candidates when openings occur?
  • Could they be sourcing, recruiting, interviewing, and vetting candidates for higher-level positions so that your company has a better chance of hiring these positions right the first time, thus cutting down considerably the chance that poor hires take place in these more important positions?
  • Could they be working more closely with hiring managers in creating job descriptions, screening applicants and vetting them, thus seeing to it that hiring managers only spend their time on interviewing top candidates?

Or are they instead constantly sourcing, recruiting, interviewing, and vetting dozens upon dozens of call center reps and CSRs…and then repeating it all again and again? (Call center reps, on the whole, tend to have low retention rates, with a turnover rate of between 25-35 percent.)

And that doesn’t even take into account additional costs of high turnover: training, benefits, salaries, etc. With high attrition, up to a quarter of your annual staff expenses can disappear.

Outsourcing your call center rep and CSR hiring improves recruiting effectiveness

Here’s how:

Many company recruiting/HR departments are short-staffed with team members stretched much too thin, resulting in difficulty in finding qualified candidates as well as improving their department’s overall recruiting function and processes.

Unfortunately, when HR/recruiters get backed up, it’s very difficult to get caught up with hiring.

Outsourcing CSR and call center rep recruiting means a company can take advantage of a staffing firm’s ability to reach more candidates (recruiting companies are constantly sourcing candidates), find passive candidates and overall find more qualified candidates more quickly.

Engaging a recruiting company to recruit call center reps and CSRs simply is a much more efficient – and effective – use of recruiting budgets.

CSR/call center rep turnover also can be reduced

CSR/call center rep turnover isn’t so much about a recruiting professional’s abilities but more with the actual recruitment function. The recruiting process performed by a staffing firm is one that’s been honed over the years by its dedicated, experienced, savvy recruiters.

Your business thus will enjoy better quality candidates.

Small companies can gain a competitive advantage

Using a staffing company with considerable experience recruiting call center reps and CSRs means a small or mid-sized business can efficiently and quickly work to build its own key staff. The company will be able to focus its limited resources where it truly counts: sourcing, recruiting and hiring people for higher-level positions.

Leave a good deal of the onboarding to the recruiting firm

Allowing your staffing partner to provide an overview of your company’s call center/customer service policies and procedures as well as your company culture can cut back considerably on your call center/CSR managers need to do so.

In short, integrate your sourcing, recruiting, hiring, and some on-boarding activities, and you’ll be opening both brain power and time for your own HR and recruiting pros to focus on recruiting higher-level positions, creating policies and benefits packages, handling employee concerns and issues, working on building employee engagement throughout your entire company, and more.

Employee turnover and productivity often are the first areas of a company to suffer when recruiting and onboarding is stressed. Even the Society of Human Resources Management has said that onboarding is key to retaining and engaging talent.

Helpmates has exceptional experience sourcing, hiring, onboarding, and training CSRs

This isn’t bragging: this is fact.  Just last year at the beginning of California’s stay-at-home orders, we helped two of our clients transition 60 call center specialists between them to remote work.

And we did it in just three days (over a long weekend).

In fact, so successful were we that our clients told us that none of their own customers suspected that the representative with whom they interacted the first week of lockdown wasn’t working at the clients’ locations.

We’ve been in the business of staffing customer service needs for more than 40 years. We understand completely what it takes to be an exceptional CSR or call center rep and we have both a deep and wide talent pool of terrific individuals looking for this kind of work.

Contact Helpmates for more information on how we can perform recruit CSR and call center representatives for you.

Tips for Hiring Great Temporary Specialists in SoCal

Your Los Angeles or Orange County company may need more workers as your business starts growing again as the economy continues to improve.

Yet you probably don’t really know how fast you’ll grow, in what areas you’ll grow and if you’ll be able to sustain that growth over a year or more.

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Bringing on temporary specialists could be the answer.

Bringing temporary specialists in for one or a few days, or even for several weeks if not months, can help you grow your workforce as needed in the next few months…and then cut back if necessary .

Yet hiring great temporary specialists isn’t as cut and dried as simply calling up or emailing your go-to workforce management partner and discussing your current needs.

Many folks who work for staffing companies register with several staffing companies.

This is normal. After all, a specialist’s favorite recruiting firm may not have an opening for the specialist when he or she comes off from one assignment and needs another. It’s therefore savvy for folks to register with more than one staffing company.

Which means you may be competing for their services.

That’s right: many temporary specialists are extremely sought after by the staffing firms with which they’re registered. They have proven themselves to be reliable and trustworthy. Or they may have highly sought-after skills AND have proven themselves to be reliable and trustworthy. They also may have multiple offers for assignments with possibly higher hourly wages.

Our point? Our clients have found that they, too, need to stay sharp and on top of their game when it comes to hiring the best temporary specialists for their assignments!

How to beat your competition and hire the best-of-the-best.

  • Make your hiring decision quickly.

Working with a staffing agency means that their candidates are pre-screened. You know they have been vetted and pre-qualified.

When interviewing specialists sent by your staffing partner, move quickly. Have just one or no more than two people interview them. Use a qualified fit assessment to make sure they have the skills for the work and will fit in. (Consider giving this assessment tool to your staffing partner so that they can do so when they interview the specialists.)

Aim to let your staffing partner know as soon as possible whether or not you want the candidates: end of day, or the next day is best, yet no more than three days.

  • At the interview.

Be extremely clear regarding duties and expectations. Explain them again, if necessary. Make it clear that you’re happy to answer any and all questions.

If there’s a chance the assignment might lead to the specialist being hired on to your payroll, do say so, but don’t give false hope. If there’s a 50/50 chance, say so. The same goes for if there’s only a 10 percent chance. Bottom line: don’t provide false hope. It’s better to surprise someone with good news – you want to hire them – then it is to set their expectations too high.

If the assignment end date is unclear at the time of the interview, let the candidate know so. Be as honest as possible: if the assignment definitely won’t be extended, say so.

If you often provide letters of recommendation for temporary specialists, let the candidate know. The candidate isn’t your employee, of course, but letting the candidate know that you do write letters for exceptional work is a definite selling point for your position.

  • When the specialist is working on assignment.

Treat the specialist as much as possible as a regular employee. Many specialists tell us they often feel like second-class citizens and will leave an assignment before its official end if they are offered one (via another staffing firm).

Onboard the contractors as you would a regular employee (minus the employee benefits conversation, of course). Touch base with them often and provide them kudos regularly (and be sure to let the staffing firm know, as well).

Include them in small team gatherings, such as Friday pizza parties (when your employees work in person together again), and so on.

Many of our clients are starting to bring on more temporary specialists.

We have many terrific specialists in our ATS but the best ones are taken quickly. Reach out to the Helpmates branch nearest you and let us know all about your workforce needs as the economy improves.

On the Lookout: Recruitment Trends for 2021 and Beyond

Technology and the competition for talent are changing the recruiting landscape significantly. Artificial intelligence and data analytics are giving recruiters powerful tools to locate, evaluate and communicate with job candidates. These digital tools are also helping recruiters find passive job candidates as the recruiters become more aggressive in their search for talent. Here are some of the trends gaining momentum in recruiting and likely to become even more widespread in the future.

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  1. Employer Branding

The competition for top talent is keen, and a company’s reputation and popularity have become increasingly important in attracting the best people. A brand name that stands out can make a real difference in recruiting, and that is why companies are focusing on branding.

Studies have shown that employers with strong brands get 50 percent more qualified applicants. More than 75 percent of job seekers check out the employer brand before they apply to a company.

  1. Automation

More companies are automating the recruiting process, a trend that will continue for the foreseeable future. The technology used for recruiting is becoming more sophisticated. Eighty-eight percent of all companies worldwide already are using automation/AI technology in their HR and recruiting efforts.

  1. Data analytics

Because of the large amount of data now available through applicant tracking systems and recruitment marketing websites, companies are able to analyze the data to help them make hiring decisions. They are using the data to determine what recruitment strategies are working and which are not.

Using data analytics improves hiring in a number of different areas, including the quality of the hire, and the cost and time to hire.

  1. Soft skills

Companies report that they are struggling to find workers with the needed skills. The shortage is especially acute with soft skills. Recruiting trends will focus on finding candidates who have demonstrated soft skills. According to some sources, two-thirds of all new jobs will depend heavily on soft skills, and the demand for such skills is expected to increase further into the future. These skills include such abilities such as collaboration, critical thinking, problem solving, and communication.

  1. Talent pools

Recruiters will be creating and using talent pools to a much greater extent in the future. They will be building their talent pools using both internal and external talent. Using current employees to fill open positions is a good way to retain employees and ensure a good fit for open positions.

  1. Artificial Intelligence (AI)

AI is helping recruiters handle some of the more routine tasks associated with the job, giving them more time to interact with candidates. It is also helping to improve the candidate experience. AI is expected to play a greater role in future recruiting.

Screening candidates is another task that AI is very effective at doing because it is much better than humans at minimizing bias in the process.

  1. Social media

This is a trend that has been gaining in popularity and is likely to become more so in the future. It has become so popular because recruiting on various social media sites really works. At least 84 percent of all companies recruit on social media (reported in 2017 so that percentage undoubtedly has increased since then).

  1. Candidate Relationship Management (CRM) tools

Companies are increasingly using CRM tools in their recruiting activities. CRM tools are software that is specifically designed to enable companies to manage and look after their job candidates. This is more important than ever because of the war for top talent.

CRM software enables companies to provide ongoing automated communication with candidates to keep them informed and to hold their interest during the hiring process.

These software tools also provide searchable databases to help build up a talent pool. They enable companies to screen applicants for desired qualifications, schedule interviews and conduct background checks.

2021: the year things more than likely improve in so many ways

Next year undoubtedly will only accelerate recruiting trends that started a few years ago. What’s more as Americans receive a coronavirus vaccine and the economy improves, we also expect it to once again become much more of a candidate-market, making it ever harder to find and hire top talent.

We look forward to these challenges as we work with our client partners helping them source, vet and place skilled workers for jobs of all types. We look forward to hearing from our clients whenever they have a staffing or recruiting need.

May 2021 be a wonderful year on so many levels for all of us!!

Manager, Heal Thyself of Unconscious Bias

We all exhibit unconscious bias whenever we interact with others. In fact, psychologists have catalogued many different types of cognitive biases that filter our perception of the environment.

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But, once we are aware of these biases, we can be alert for them and recognize when we are falling victim to them. Managers need to keep them in mind when dealing with their workers to make sure the managers are dealing fairly and consistently with everyone under them. If you are a manager, here are a few biases to watch out for.

  1. Bias in delegating

Do you unconsciously favor some people over others when you delegate work? Do you tend to give the same workers more challenging and interesting work, while assigning more mundane tasks to others? Also, sometimes managers, without realizing it, give more complete and detailed instructions to certain workers, while imparting scant information to other employees, making their task that much harder.

  1. Bias in feedback

Managers may also unknowingly soft-pedal feedback for some workers, delivering it in a more casual, friendly manner, while taking a more authoritarian and judgmental approach with others.

  1. Bias in assumptions

Managers may also not be aware of unconscious bias they have toward people based on their background, such as race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, or education.

Other factors affecting a manager’s judgment unconsciously can be a person’s appearance, mannerisms, and speech, such as a particular dialect. These stereotypes can color a manager’s beliefs about a certain employee’s ability. If you’re manager, you need to think about your behavior toward employees, bring your assumptions out in the open, and examine them.

Also, we tend to give more credence to information that confirms beliefs or assumptions we already hold, neglecting data that may contradict our beliefs.

  1. Bias in recognition

A manager may consistently recognize or praise certain workers and withhold it from others for reasons the manager is not really aware of. Again, unconscious bias may be at work influencing how the manager reacts to some employees.

  1. Bias in hiring

Managers unconsciously tend to favor people who are like them. It’s something everyone does. We feel people who look like, have the same backgrounds, etc. us are somehow better. This is a bias hiring managers need to keep in mind when doing job interviews. They need to figure out how to counteract it. This kind of bias can hinder a company’s efforts to recruit a more diverse workforce, leading to employees who generally all think the same way.

  1. Bias in socializing

Again, because we have an unconscious bias toward people like ourselves, we might tend to socialize more with people like us. Managers may be chatting and bantering more with some workers than others because of this bias. This could make some of your team members feel left out or unappreciated.

  1. Bias in mentors

The bias toward people like us can also manifest itself in the choice of people managers look to for advice and counsel. As a manager, ask yourself if you tend to go to the same people for advice simply because you feel more comfortable with them, depriving yourself of different viewpoints and perspectives.

The tendencies listed above are biases related to other people, but we also have many biases about how we perceive the world around us and the information we receive. For example, when examining an issue or problem, we tend to reduce it to general terms and avoid details and specifics. When we make decisions, we gravitate more toward simple solutions rather than more complex ones. We also tend to see patterns even when there is not enough information to clearly establish one. We tend to pay more attention to events that occur more often, even though they may not be any more important than other events.

Helpmates is here to help Southern California’s employers find terrific workers for their temporary, temp-to-hire and direct-hire job opportunities. Contact the branch nearest you for more information on how we can help you find great people to help your business thrive.

Helpmates’ Proven Performers Prepared for Work in Our New Normal

We have oriented and prepared our top specialists in Covid-19 work safety best practices and they are ready to deploy quickly.

Whether you’re an essential business and still operating during our current safe-at-home reality or you’re hoping to reopen your business as you anticipate a relaxing of social distancing guidelines in the next few weeks, Helpmates has the proven workers ready for assignment, whether you need them to work on-site or remotely.

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We’ve been staffing companies throughout Southern California for more than 45 years providing workers businesses need now and in the future. We have oriented our top specialists in Covid-19 best practices and they are ready to work safely and securely in any type of business situation, whether it’s in an office, a distribution center, warehouse, manufacturing facility, or even remotely.

These are some of our exceptional employees, people who have received consistent top marks from their previous assignments and they are eager and ready to be deployed to companies in the industry segments in which we place workers:

  • Office/Administration
  • Accounting/Finance
  • Human Resources
  • Healthcare
  • Manufacturing
  • Distribution/Logistics
  • And more.

We visit each of our industrial clients before sending our associates to work on-site and we provide Covid-19 safety support to our office-location clients.

Our clients have told us that our safety oversight visits protect not only our specialists, but also helps our clients improve their pandemic safety practices for their own employees.

In addition, while all of our Helpmates specialists already have received Covid-19 safety orientation, they will do so again right before they head to an assignment with you. We also ensure our specialists receive orientation in your company’s individual safety parameters and/or procedures before they head out for their assignment with you.

We maintain close contact with our specialists while on their assignments with you and make sure they stay up-to-date with new safety recommendations or guidelines as they change. For example, Los Angeles County’s recent mandate that everyone wear cloth face masks when in public, while Orange County in mid-April required that all workers in essential businesses such as grocery and liquor stores, pharmacies, gas stations, and places where food prep is done wear face masks. (This may have changed since this post was written.)

Here for you as you reopen

California will slowly start re-opening its economy in the next few weeks. Helpmates is prepared to help businesses reopen carefully as we have started orienting all of our new associates in Covid-19 safety guideline so that they are well-prepared for deployment.

Learn more about how Helpmates can help you and your workers stay safe now and in the months to come by calling Rosalie Villa at 949-225-5016 or via email at rvilla@helpmates.com.

Helping Employees Embrace Negative Feedback

None of us succeeds in our careers without receiving negative feedback at least once.

Many of us understandably melt into a puddle of despair and never recover believing that if feedback is true (and when done correctly, it is) then we are losers of the first order and so…what’s the point? And we then settle for a career of mediocrity, never reaching our full potential.

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Since constructive criticism is essential to employee growth and improved performance, we’ve put together a short list of things you can do to help your employees embrace – or at least welcome – negative feedback.

  • Feedback is a tool, not a weapon.

Remember that your purpose is not to shame an employee but to help them improve. When done well, employees receiving less-than-gushing feedback will understand that you’re not trying to hurt them, but trying to help them improve. Truly caring about your subordinates comes across when feedback is given in the spirit of “you’re pretty good; here’s how to get even better.”

(Note: if you learn that someone is using feedback in a vindictive manner to colleagues and/or subordinates, it’s time to have a sit-down to discuss and reiterate that such behavior is not acceptable. Yes, the irony here is not lost on us: there’s the chance you’d be providing strongly worded negative feedback to a negative feedback bully.)

  • The “feedback sandwich.” Is it time to retire it?

Some people think the old “sandwich” technique of delivering feedback with a “compliment/critique/compliment” process can give a worker a “false sense of how they’re doing” (hearing two positives to just one negative can appear to mean that they’re doing well).

  • Try the “critique and solution” method instead.

For example, say someone regularly provides reports past deadline. Tell the employee why this is a problem: “Joshua needs to edit and proof the report and Tenisha then needs to lay it out graphically and if it’s late, you put them both behind in their schedule.”

Then together come up with a solution.  Ask the worker to think about why they’re regularly late with the report and then the two of you can figure out how the report can be done on time.

Understand that you may have to do something yourself to help the employee fix the problem. Perhaps the employee feels the deadline is too rushed and so you then offer to provide a longer lead-time/extended deadline.

  • Follow up is key.

And by follow up we don’t mean micromanage. Check in with worker regularly (let them know you will do so) and offer feedback. Once you feel the employee has improved as much as possible and/or you think is necessary, back off.

  • Failing to provide feedback means you’re failing your employee.

Many managers have a hard time offering criticism to subordinates, but you’re doing no one any favors if you don’t:

  • You’re allowing an employee to continue a sub-par performance, possibly hurting productivity and/or profits.
  • You’re showing other employees that a sub-par performance is okay.
  • You’re not helping your subordinate grow and reach their full potential.

None of us improves without making mistakes and then having someone see that we’ve made a them, professionally pointing it out then offering direction and suggestions for improvement.

Criticism therefore is important for all of us: it helps us improve and better ourselves. Failing to provide negative feedback/critiquing employees when warranted means they will continue performing poorly. And, because it’s part of a manager’s job to help employees improve, by letting a poor status quo continue, you’re letting your subordinates down.

While we encourage you to work with employees to help them improve, if one or more can’t – or won’t – accept your feedback and strive to improve and you decide to terminate, Helpmates can provide you with top-notch workers for your temporary, temp-to-hire or direct-hire needs. We hope you contact the branch nearest you to learn more.

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