Is your Contact Center a Multi Generational Workplace?

Around the world the Contact Center Industry runs on youth talent. A recent survey found that nearly 50% of Call Center jobs worldwide were held by people under the age of 29 – with 22% of the employees between the ages of 18 to 24. Just 10% of hourly wage Call Center employees were found to be age 50+. 

One sector of the Contact Center Industry that bucks this trend is Financial Services (Banking, Mortgages, Credit Cards, Personal Loans, Accounts Receivable, etc.) These types of business are adopting employment policies that value having age 50+ workers in customer facing roles within branches & Contact Centers.

The reasons why the Financial Services Industry is adopting this progressive approach to hiring workers age 50+ include:

• Older workers make great role models for younger customer facing staff.

• There is no statistical difference in Performance or Customer Satisfaction between Call Center employees age 40+ and younger Customer Service Representatives (CSRs) – except in the area of Stability – where CSRs age 40+ exhibit better Attendance & Shift Adherence than younger coworkers.

• In many cases – older workers are not ready to retire – and have a vested interest in improving their financial situation – and that’s a plus when recruiting for jobs with revenue targets/bonus/commissions – such as Telephone Sales, Inside Sales & TeleCollections.

• On average 70% of CSRs age 50+ arrive early to work – compared to 47% of CSRs age 25 to 34 – and just 50% of CSRs age 18 to 24.

• 35 to 44 year old CSRs are the age group most likely to take time off work for a hangover (8%) – compared to just 1% of CSRs age 50+.

• On average only 55% of CSRs age 50+ take sick leave in any given 12 month period – compared to 64% of 18 to 24 year old CSRs.

• Just 26% of CSRs aged 50+ take up to three days off for illness in any given 12 month period – compared to 40% of 18 to 24 year old CSRs.

• Younger CSRs (up to mid 20s) are the most likely demographic cohort to quit and “Job Hop” – while older female CSRs (mid 40s to mid 50s) are the least likely.

Effective Call Center hiring has nothing to do with a candidate’s age and everything to do with identifying the people with the Personality/Job Fit/Soft Skills, Motivation, Communication Skills and Work Ethic to be (Above Average) frontline Brand Ambassadors. This “Right Stuff” for the job is just as likely to be found in a Baby Boomer – Gen X – or GenY/Millennial applicant.

Attracting & retaining the best CSRs eludes many employers because they don’t fully grasp the demographics involved. Employers who want to generate more & better applicants from their Labor Pool shouldn’t show a bias in favor – or against – any one particular age group.

Call Center Talent isn’t a generational issue at all. Employers who presume that ALL older applicants “won’t have the energy” for Call Center work are wrongheaded. But so is assuming that ALL younger applicants are “apt to play on the social networks during work hours” or “have a poor work ethic” or “play the high school games of cliques and back stabbing”.

If you want quality people manning the telephones in your Contact Center you have to use every means possible to get them to apply – and that requires tailoring your recruiting message to the demographics of your potential workforce – not just targeting your recruiting efforts towards young people and overlooking more mature candidates. Effective targeted recruitment will keep you fishing from deeper & higher quality Labor Pools.

Por David Filwood, Principal Consultant | TeleSoft Systems | People & Process Improvement for Contact Centers

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