Turnover is a concern office managers face constantly. While some factors are beyond your control, there is much you can do to increase your employee retention.
The collection industry faces more hurdles than most when it comes to hiring and retaining a good, engaged, workforce. This has given managers in the industry a lot of experience hiring, managing and training their staff. The California Association of Collectors 2018 panel recently addressed how to manage employees from different generations at a class during their annual conference.
During the class, they also detailed how to use personality tests to improve the hiring process and employee retention techniques to help you keep the great staff you already have.
Personality Tests For Hiring
The first step to avoiding high employee turnover is to make good decisions during the hiring process. By perfecting how you choose your team, you will begin onboarding, training, and other introductory processes at a higher baseline. Many companies use personality tests for this purpose, but not everyone is getting the most out of the information they receive.
Test Your Tests
Be sure the test you choose gives you the results you are looking for. Take any personality test you are considering and if you can, offer it to current employees as well. Because you know your employees and yourself, you can compare the personality test results to decide whether it is accurate, and measures the right points for your agency.
Don’t always rely on the benchmarks created by the personality test. Debt collection is a unique business, and some of the traits which are desirable in other businesses do not work well as an agent or support staff in this industry.
- Understand the benchmark traits that you want to look for in your office, and monitor those rather than provided test traits.
- The traits you are looking for in a collector may vary depending upon the type of debt your agency deals with. Consider what it takes to collect on medical, commercial or other debt types and monitor results from there.
Use the Test to Prepare for Interviews
Personality tests are not infallible. They can tell you a lot about the applicant, but don’t blindly trust the results. Consider using them as a jumping-off point for further exploration of the right candidates.
- Test completion as a benchmark: Simply considering that the applicants filled out the test at all may qualify them for an interview. Managers in charge of hiring understand a good number of applicants aren’t serious about the jobs they apply for. When an applicant makes the extra effort of completing a personality test, this is a small proof that they are interested in the position.
- Prompts for questions: Personality tests can also highlight areas you should explore further with your candidates. If they scored low in an area you find important, take the opportunity to ask for clarification during an interview. You might find other reasons for a low benchmark score.
Employee Retention Strategies: How To Know What Your Team Wants
Once you’ve hired quality employees, you must make sure you’re putting in the work to retain them. To manage your turnover rate, monitor employee morale on a regular basis. There are several ways to keep tabs on employee satisfaction, and make your team feel valued.
Conduct Stay Interviews
Stay interviews are interviews conducted with current employees to take the temperature of the company from their perspective. Have employees meet with managers in the office they don’t directly report to. This ensures they don’t feel pressured to flatter their boss or hide their concerns. Here are some sample questions you may choose to ask:
- When you travel to work each day, what do you look forward to?
- What talents or interests do you think we’re not tapping into as a company?
- What can your manager or management team do to make your job better?
- What can you do to make your job better?
Many companies rely on annual reviews–unless you’re dealing with a particularly difficult employee. But a lot can happen in a year. It may be difficult to keep tabs on job satisfaction of your employees if you don’t sit down with them at least biannually.
Action Plan Meetings
An action plan meeting is a great time to set goals for staff cross-training or management. Listening to what responsibilities your people are interested in builds your relationship with employees and your management skills. And this type of environment is what makes employees stay with your company long term.
Career Path Counseling
Career path counseling is a way to reward employees you’re happy with by demonstrating you want them to succeed in your company. Sit down with your staff and find out what new departments they would like to work in, or what job they’d like to do within the company. This counseling can be part of the reviews and action plan meetings, or separate.
No matter how you format your meetings, conversations with your employees are essential. Showing your people that you value them and want them to remain part of your team goes a long way.
Take time to see your business through the eyes of your employees and you’ll build a strong, loyal workforce for years to come.