North American Customer Service Management Association

Support for Contact Center Professionals

Phase 6 Strategy - Step 2 Leadership Sourcing and Selection

Site Culture and Leadership

The most important thing a new management team will do is create the contact center culture.

Creating a culture that nurtures best practices, communication and collaboration isn’t easy but is possible. This requires daily communication of the company’s core values to managers and contact center agents. Leading by example means living these core values every minute of every day. By demonstrating company core values to employees and customers, leadership will set the tone and carve out the site culture.
When it comes to selecting the site manager and the management team, finding people who live and breathe the company core values and know how to demonstrate them daily is just as important as contact center experience, industry knowledge and management proficiency. When setting up a new contact center, culture isn’t something that just happens, it is something that is carefully created. You want a site leader and management team that gets that.
Promoting from Within

Everyone agrees it is time to start hiring for the new contact center management team. The leadership team must determine whether redeploying someone internally or recruiting externally best serves the organization.

The decision to promote someone into the role should be strongly considered, especially when a succession candidate has been groomed for this role. The promotion is part of the strategic succession plan. This internal candidate has the institutional knowledge from day one. The external candidate would be at a substantial handicap without institutional and industry knowledge. An internal candidate makes sense when there is a plan in place to fill that newly promoted candidate’s old role. You don’t want to leave an important management position vacant, creating vulnerability. And finally does this candidate have the capacity to continue to grow into future positions? Many times, managers reach their full potential and then block the succession path to most senior leadership roles.
If you have a few employees who know your company well, consider which ones have leadership potential. Often, the people who already work in your company will make the best managers. Consider the qualifications of your current employees, and if you have someone who meets the criteria for a management position, promote them. Communicate to your employees that you are recruiting for a new contact center management team, and you are looking to promote. Approach current managers and see if they have any ideas about employees that are management material. Talk to the employees who you think might make good members of your management team. Discuss their level of interest and your overall vision for the organization. Select internal candidates that have management potential. The most successful management teams are a balance of internal and external candidates so don’t sweat it if you don’t have enough to promote from within.
Why Look Outside

Why look outside your organization for contact center talent?

Companies that only promote from within and never hire from the outside suffer stagnation. Hiring from outside is a great opportunity to bring in some fresh ideas and experiences. These people have been around the block and have seen things that work and don’t work. This is invaluable information especially if they come from a competitor. Recruiting managers from other industries is a good way to reduce stagnation as they see it for the first time and see all the things that internal managers overlook due to its staleness.
Managers hired from the outside also motivate current agents to achieve new heights due to the higher expectations placed on the manager and the desire to do a great job by the agents. Hiring from the outside is a good thing.
A Special Note – The Site Manager

The Site Manager is a special manager. This is the captain of the ship and must have the skills, knowledge, and understanding of how to facilitate the new management team through the stages of team development.

When this is effectively facilitated the desired site culture will emerge. Too many new contact centers take it for granted that culture will just evolve on its own. If there is no written plan, no vision and no execution of creating the culture that one desires, then one day everyone looks around and is disappointed with the poor employee morale, low performance and of course that ugly turnover issue. Culture is consciously created. Choose a site manager who understands this concept and has the experience to make it happen. Your agents will prosper and it will be the place to work.
Leadership Sourcing Model

Does your organization have a leadership sourcing model or it does it start from scratch every time there is a leadership role that is vacant?

Developing a thoughtful and strategic leadership sourcing model will ensure candidate flow before a position is available. Having a “bench” to recruit from will save time and money and, if you’re offering the right value proposition, don’t worry if candidates already have a job. Most will make a switch for the right opportunity.
To have a bench filled with qualified leaders requires a leadership sourcing model that continually supplies candidates. Don’t fly by the seat of your pants!

Tips!

1. Eliminate stagnation by hiring from the outside. People with varied experiences from other companies and industry add value. A good blend of inside and outside hiring can keep your management team strong.
2. Instill the desire to improve. Continuous improvement is a value to everyone. Lead by example and those will follow.

Take the Next Step!

Site culture all starts at the top with a solid site leader who has the knowledge, experience and understanding of how to facilitate a new management team through the team development stages. Finding and choosing contact center managers is both an inside and outside recruitment task. You will find candidates internally who have the institutional knowledge and the outside candidates who bring fresh ideas and experiences to policy and procedure. This balancing of candidates requires a steady flow of candidates provided by a strategically planned leadership sourcing model. It’s a great thing to have managers on the bench ready to perform!

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