Today’s contact centers have adapted to the routine entry and exit of their employees. Managers in most successful organizations have developed comprehensive strategies for addressing the challenges created by high attrition.
But with the economy on the upswing, hiring up across the board, and the Baby Boom generation on its way to retirement, contact center employee turnover rates may be well beyond the usual benchmark. And with a new generation of Millennials hitting the workforce in large numbers — with new preferences for how they share information and communicate — these changes will have a profound impact on how contact centers plan for onboarding, training, and knowledge management in the coming year.
In this two-part series, we’ll examine three challenges that evolving workforce demographics will bring to the contact center in the next twelve months. We’ll then explore ways that managers can use video to overcome these challenges by improving employee training and internal communications.
Let’s start by looking at the imminent challenges. At contact centers around the world, above-average turnover is already threatening institutional know-how. Here’s why:
1) The economy is up and so is job hopping
With Americans increasingly optimistic about the job market, more people are gaining the confidence to leave their old positions to find new work. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the national quit rate has risen significantly over the past year. And contact centers, which already have higher than average attrition rates, are likely to feel the effects of this growing labor movement than other industries.
2) Baby boomers are out
A recent report by XYZ University found that the American workforce is aging rapidly, leading to huge workforce turnover. According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, an average of 10,000 Baby Boomers (1946-1964) retire every day.
This exodus of veteran employees not only impacts many contact centers, but also many customers who invest in contact center operations. Four of the largest industries in the country — real estate, manufacturing, insurance, and health care — are also some of the oldest by median employee age, and are already feeling the ripple effects of our aging workforce.
As contact centers prepare for the retirement of a generation of leadership — both for in-house talent and long-term contacts within client organizations — designing repeatable processes for onboarding, knowledge retention, and management training will be critical.
3) Millennials are in
As of this year, millennials (born 1980-2000) have become the largest age demographic in the workforce. Contact centers, which have historically attracted younger employees, will be among the first to feel the full impact of this generation and the new expectations they bring to the workplace. Millennials expect more flexible work schedules and access to on-demand information that helps them do their job more effectively. They also change jobs more frequently than their older co-workers. The same XYZ University report found that 70% of recent college grads leave their first job after graduation in less than two years.
These changes in expectations and behavior will put pressure on organizations to train employees and share information in new ways — using technologies that new hires are familiar with, and enabling employees to acquire information at the moment they need it.
In our personal lives, video has become the communication method of choice, and the same trend is happening in corporate environments. Driving this growth is a confluence of technology and simple human nature. Video is more engaging and impactful than text, and people retain more of its information. Video activates more parts of our minds with visual content that can more easily hold our ever-shortening attention spans. And a new generation of smartphones, webcams, and video software has made creating, sharing, and accessing video easier than ever. It’s not surprising that, according to Cisco, 85 percent of companies expect to create more video content this year than in years past.
As contact centers face a talent management challenge, increased job hopping, and changing demographics, video can play a critical role in onboarding, training, and knowledge retention. Here’s how:
Many organizations have found video to be a simple, valuable tool for enhancing their onboarding programs. Video provides a more engaging way to ramp up employees, and because video can be viewed and searched from any laptop or mobile device, it provides new employees with easy access to the information they need for a successful start.
Video can also help reduce training costs. Between travel, lodging, venue, food, and talent, the costs of holding live training events can constitute a significant portion of a company’s learning and development budget. Switching to video learning can help minimize these costs and recoup much of those funds for other functional activities.
For example, after realizing that up to 40% of its classroom training costs were being spent on travel and lodging, IBM switched half of its training programs to an eLearning format. As a result, the company was able to save $579 million during the first two years of the program.
With social knowledge sharing, video can actually benefit an organization twice. First, by recording answers to frequently-asked questions, subject matter experts save time that would otherwise be spent on repeated, face-to-face inquiries and demonstrations, giving them more time get work done. Second, capturing and sharing that expertise in a corporate video library also helps ensure that vital information doesn’t eventually leave with the employee. This may help explain why, according to a study from Bersin by Deloitte, the average enterprise spent three times more on social learning tools in 2012 than in the previous two years.
2015 is turning out to be a year of new challenges and opportunities for the contact center. By leveraging the right tools, contact center managers can make sure that their onboarding, training, and knowledge retention programs continue to be effective in the face of changing economic and demographic factors.
A version of this post appeared in Contact Center Professional. Ready to see how video can help your contact center improve operations and increase efficiency? Contact Panopto today for a complete demonstration and a free 30-day trial.