Western Cape Business News

Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  18 Mar 2009

LABOUR: Plan For Centre Skills


Recent Western Cape Business News

Employee poaching is a perennial problem in the contact centre industry – but, asks star trainer Desiree Lang, “why poach from your competitors when you can train your own staff just as quickly, if not quicker?”

Lang, the managing partner of Contact Center Dynamics, says poaching is a natural reaction when skills are scarce and competition is intense, but that firms often don’t realize its true costs. “Even the best performers need time to learn how things are done at a new employer, and creating a culture of job-hopping increases the costs of employment for everyone in the industry,” she says.

A better alternative, says Lang, is for companies to train their own new employees from scratch, ensuring that they are well aligned with company values and can hit the ground running on their first day of full employment.

“We can take unemployed people with the right competencies off the street and train them as competent contact centre agents within 16 weeks,” says Lang, who was named Trainer of the Year by promotion agency CallingtheCape for 2008. The recent Monyetla Work Readiness Programme saw Contact Center Dynamics train 430 matriculants for jobs at a leading international contact centre in Cape Town.

Lang says Contact Center Dynamics aims to make learners rapidly productive in the workplace. “The most important thing is that the skills people learn in training actually get applied in practice,” she says. “We evaluate every trainee four weeks after their training is completed to check their progress, and offer extra coaching if it’s needed.”

The training on offer includes the principles and practices of call centre operations, communication skills, quality management, performance management and coaching, as well as computer skills.

“The Deloitte/CallingtheCape Key Indicator Report for this year highlighted basic computer literacy as the biggest skill deficit at agent level,” says Lang. “We’ve established our own PC training centre to help meet that need, and we offer bursaries to learners we believe have the potential to succeed in the industry but can’t afford the training otherwise.”

Contact Center Dynamics also offers a recruitment service, managing the whole process of finding and training new employees. “Our experience with the Monyetla programme showed that many of our clients needed a broader service, so we responded to that demand,” says Lang.

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