Embrace Tenure Diversity in Your Contact Center

Contact centers should be comprised of new agents as well as agents with experience in the role. Embracing tenure diversity in the contact center provides new opportunities on all fronts, for new agents as well as those hitting anniversary milestones.

Benefits of long-tenured employees

From the outside, we often have the inclination to make false assumptions about agents who have been in the same role for many years, as many view agent positions as a career stepping stone or launching pad. Those quick to judgement might think that these employees are stagnant, don’t want to grow, etc. but in some instances, that couldn’t be further from the truth. These folks are often the cream of the crop and true position experts.

They provide invaluable perspective and tribal knowledge that can be a great resource to other agents as well as managers and supervisors who are newer to the organization. As a contact center manager, I recall encountering out of the ordinary scenarios that seemed like new turf, but upon sharing the situation with a more tenured agent on the team, she said, “Oh I’ve had that happen, let me look back and see how we handled it.” Instead of having to reinvent the wheel and solve for a presumably new problem, this expert was able to call on their long history in the contact center to save us all time and anxiety.

When working with long-tenured employees, we should also push the adage “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks” out of our minds. Don’t automatically discount your more tenured agents and assume they are going to be resistant to change or new technology. In the contact center, some of the best new process ideas came from long-tenured, and they were often my biggest change champions during technology implementations. These folks often just really love serving others and supporting their customers and excelling as an agent allows them to do that.

Benefits of new employees

It is equally beneficial to get “new blood” into the contact center from time to time. New employees often bring earnest enthusiasm and excitement that more jaded agents may have lost over the years. Once they outgrow the learning curve, that enthusiasm is typically accompanied by higher productivity, which can provide some pressure and friendly competition for existing underperforming employees. An infusion of fresh faces in the contact center can result in a welcomed increase in productivity and boost in morale across the board, or it can demotivate underperforming agents and precipitate some healthy turn-over. Either outcome can be positive for the contact center.

New agents also often bring a fresh outlook on existing procedures, resulting in new process improvement recommendations. I loved hiring new agents that regularly asked “why do we do it this way?” or “in my last contact center, we solved the problem by doing this.” The hope is that new agents come in humble, eager to learn, and respectful of the more tenured folks there, but it’s important that they also know that speaking up and making suggestions is welcomed as well.