The Following article will appear in the upcoming 2012 edition of Contact Management Magazine.
Talent Sourcing – Achieving an Effective Approach
In spite of anemic economic growth and high unemployment across North America, CEO’s in almost every industry confirm the ability to source “optimal” talent remains a strategic priority in 2012. Contact Centers are no different. According to a December survey from the Corporate Executive Board, “nearly 80% of respondents said they plan to increase their use of job-board alternative methods as a key sourcing strategy this year, including employee referrals and other websites like Facebook Inc. or LinkedIn”.
Why is Talent Sourcing So Important?
For Contact Centers, the ability to source a ready supply of qualified people is a huge competitive advantage. It not only ensures the organization can sustain a high performing culture; it comes down to ensuring you have the right employee in the right job at the right time. The cost of attrition for one typical CSR in Canada ranges from $4,000 to $12,000. Add the lost opportunity cost from the time of the job vacancy to when the new employee arrives and successfully passes the first 90-day learning curve is signficant.
To start, a reduction in these hidden costs should form the basis of an ROI that would fund the tools necessary to help you achieve a weel-executed Talent Sourcing Strategy. Regrettably, this is where most Contact Centres fail to achieve this objective. Why? Primarily because leaders do not either have the capacity to champion this across the organization or simply get bogged down in the time it takes to create a “Cadillac” strategy when a scaled down “Chevy” will do the job.
Best in Class Talent Sourcing
Achieving this goal starts with a strong talent focused culture that prevails across the entire organization. It’s a culture where leaders and employees embrace the importance of acquiring top talent. To commence an effective Sourcing Strategy,
Keep in mind these simple incremental steps:
Regrettably, the traditional approach of sourcing Talent for most Contact Centers remains unchanged. While tactical approaches have evolved including the emergence of social media as a push /pull sourcing strategy, the notion of Contact Center recruitment is usually limited to filling a job requisition, while success tends to be measured by how quickly one can bring a “cheek in the seat”. While many Companies would deny this sort of sourcing approach, the reality is many leaders have unfairly abdicated the ownership of Talent Sourcing to a small group of people (usually residing in HR) who shoulder the burden of executing this strategy.
Many Contact Centers are also starting to reduce their reliance on traditional online job boards, as they tend to generate an avalanche of mostly unqualified candidates. The integrated approach to sourcing starts at looking at doing things differently. Top Talent do not necessarily search for jobs online, and this is why an employee referral program is an effective first start to sourcing Talent at a small fraction of the cost of traditional methods of sourcing.
Shifting your recruiters (and employees) mindset from gatherers to hunters of Talent and rewarding them for it has consistently demonstrated an effective approach in sourcing. Several Contact Centres across Canada have been forced
to innovate as a result of the concentration of their business presence, and this includes areas such as Moncton and Halifax where the competition for Talent (including bilingual capability) is prevalent.
The “Agent” Job Description
This is one area where most Contact Centres spend considerably little time positioning their Company and the role. All Contact Centres want the best agents
and ask for a laundry list of skills and experiences, and are quite happy to pay at the “lower end” of the market to achieve it. However, it’s critical to create a realistic inventory of your minimum “non-negotiable” job requirements and shift the emphasis towards specific action and results, including why it’s a great place to work. Understanding what are the key traits and behaviors that drive the performance of your existing successful agents must also be considered. Look at your competition and go back and speak with your high performing agents and determine the priority of your ask.
This will also help you ensure you are targeting the right candidate pool for the right job.
Differentiating your brand and creating a compelling statement through actions that make you unique are critical to selling the job and career. Leverage your people,
designs, content, vision, mission, values and website to do the talking for you! Looking at your most successful competitor and observe how and why they are successful is critical. A well-defined integrated brand focused approach will ensure a professional candidate experience takes place through each step of the sourcing & hiring process.
Automating as much of your hiring process as possible via a cost efficient Talent Management System will enable your people to focus their strategic efforts (and time) on networking for Talent. It also involves ensuring you have the right networker doing your sourcing in the first place.This coupled with shifting the
cultural mindset to ensure you have the capacity via social media to connect with friends, peers and business acquaintances and leveraging competitive intelligence is a critical success factor. Developing a database of prequalified talent with specific or unique skills (French Speaking Agents) and keeping in touch with them even if you are not immediately hiring is a competitive advantage.
While many other tactical sourcing strategies exist, commencing with small incremental and measuring steps will allow you to create an effective sourcing strategy in a short period of time.
The pressure to source and hire new quality Talent continues to be significant across Canada. Leveraging all the tools and processes available will enable successful Contact Centres to seize opportunities and create a competitive advantage into the future.
Visit us at Contact Atlantic 2011. One of Canada's largest Contact Centre Conference & Trade Show events! This show will take place on November 2-3, at the Delta Hotel in Fredericton New Brunswick. It will draw several hundred Contact Centre professionals from across North America and Europe!
Hiring Trends Improving for 2011
A number of our major clients have seen a uptick in hiring activity for the first & second quarter of 2011. Growth in non management/customer hiring has averaged an increase between 10-15% over the same time last year. Peak hiring activity is in Alberta, BC and to my surprise Ontario. We anticipate summer & seasonal hiring will be better than last year. Many of our clients held off hiring last year, and attrition levels have increased for middle and senior management positions. While this might be a Canadian event due to our strong resource sector, its encouraging in spite of the stagnant growth South of the Border.
Excellent Care for All Act – Bill 46:
Important News for your Human Resource Strategy in 2011
Bill 46 was passed in the Ontario Legislature on June 3, 2010 making healthcare providers and executives more accountable for improving patient outcomes.
The legislation is targeted towards the 150 Hospitals in Ontario, but will eventually expand to other publicly funded Healthcare providers including: Community Care Access Centers, Local Health Centers and Long Term Care providers in the province. The Regulatory framework is well underway. Most of the changes will take effect January 1, 2011
Highlights include, the creation of dedicated Quality Committees, the design of Quality Improvement plans, Board governance changes, employee and patient satisfaction surveys but most importantly linking Executive Compensation to quality health outcomes. While common in the Private Sector, the design of base salary and variable “at risk” compensation programs and performance goals (accountabilities) in the Healthcare system in Canada is several years behind best practices.
These legislative changes are welcome news to ensure key performance drivers are linked to patient outcomes. The reality is the current healthcare budget consumes close to half of the Ontario budget. Demographic changes over the next 10 years (currently, 1,000 Canadians will turn 65 years of age every day for the next 20 years.) will place enormous financial and access to care pressure on our Healthcare system.
While these changes are more political and will do little to alter the impending demographic pressure, it should create a greater degree of accountability to the leaders in our Healthcare system that need to look at doing things differently from a delivery perspective.
Trinity Solutions is helping various Healthcare organizations align their performance and compensation design systems to improve quality outcomes and provides advice on making this strategic shift a reality.
For more information on the implications of Bill 46 to your Healthcare organization, and how we can assist you in developing an affordable Talent Management Solution, please contact us today.
Feb 22 2011
Reality Therapy for Healthcare Leaders - By Ted Ball, President of Quantum Transformation Technologies
The following is a speech made by Ted Ball in Toronto Ontario summarizing the current Healthcare System and his view on funding over the next 12-18 months
Ontarians love their healthcare system. They love their nurses. They love their doctors. They love their hospitals and their drug programs.
Ontarians say that they value our healthcare system so much, they would even agree to pay higher taxes to keep it. That is remarkable. But I don’t think it matters to the real world of the bottom-line. To be fair, Ontarians don’t have much of a grasp on the financial realities of the province. They can’t see what’s coming.
I have an Irish heritage. Like Ontarians, the Irish are a sweet and wonderful people. Had you conducted a public opinion poll and asked them a year ago about their take on the future, they too would have been blissfully optimistic. But today Ireland -- and now the whole UK -- are experiencing an implosion of their healthcare delivery systems, due to their economic and fiscal realities that they face.
At the initial HOOPP Think Tank Conference in November, economist Don Drummond provided the group with what I would call “reality therapy” about our $18.7 billion provincial deficit – a cold water treatment that I think healthcare stakeholders are in urgent need of these days.
“The discipline of the marketplace always trumps political rhetoric.”
Victoria indicated in her introduction that in a previous life, I served as Chief-of-Staff to Minister of Finance Larry Grossman in the Bill Davis Government. That’s where I learned my lessons about the “discipline of the marketplace”. Politicians can say lots of things in the run-up to an election, but the “discipline of the marketplace” always trumps political rhetoric in the longer term.
I was there at the Ministry of Finance when these nice men wearing $5,000 suits came to visit us from New York. They were from “Moody’s Investors’ Service” – the Bond Rating Agency.
There is nothing personal or political about their analysis of the province’s books. If you have a “structural deficit”, you simply go from a “Triple A” credit rating, to a “Double A”. But that little downgrading adds another billion a year in interest payments on the money that the Government of Ontario has borrowed on behalf of the taxpayers.
Of course, taxpayers don’t get anything more for an extra billion in taxes -- that’s just the cost of not dealing with a structural deficit in a timely fashion. That is the meaning of “the discipline of the marketplace”.
In the recent pre-election sparing between party leaders Dalton McGuinty and Tim Hudak, we’ve seen both parties make solemn commitments to “no cutbacks in healthcare”.
That means both parties are deeply committed to the “status quo” in healthcare. So if there are any cuts that have to be made in provincial spending – as a number of us are predicting -- they would have to be made on other public services: children services, poverty programs, education, day care, environmental protection, etc.
That is the bottom-line implication of the party leaders’ comments. If they actually did that, they would ignore the evidence of inefficiency and waste in the health system, and sacrifice all the other public services. But I don’t’ think we should bank on these pre-election comments. You saw what the public opinion polling in Ontario says. I don’t think our political parties seeking election will be explaining how they intend to change the system when they are looking at polls that reflect the Gandalf poll’s findings. They will simply say: “Elect us. We won’t change anything in healthcare.”
“The Provincial Budget in the Spring of 2012 – five months after the election – will cut $6 billion in healthcare expenditures over 2012-2015. A $2 billion a year reduction in net healthcare spending each year for three years.”
Some of you will be aware that I sometimes stick my neck out and predict the future –
based on the trends that I can grasp, and my knowledge of the circumstances. For the most part, I’ve been fairly accurate on my “informed guesses” over the years.
My predication – in line with Don Drummond’s conclusions – is that after the election the hammer is going to fall.
Here is my take on the future: I believe that by the Spring Budget of 2012 – five months after the election in October 2011 – whoever forms the Government (Liberals or Tories) – will be required to reduce public sector expenditures by $10 billion to $12 billion overall. Healthcare sector expenditures would be reduced in this scenario by $6 billion over 2012-2015.
Call it a $2 billion a year reduction in net health sector spending for each of three years. Reallocations within the health spending envelope would also be significant as we shrink institutional care and expand community care and home care. But overall I believe it would be prudent to expect spending reductions of at least $6 billion of our $46 billion budget. That’s 13% -- just over 4% per year for three years.
How is that possible? How can we cut that much money out of our healthcare system?
There is a great deal of evidence that 30% of all of our current spending in healthcare has no value -- so some of us believe that we can easily take out $6 billion in inefficiencies and unleveraged spending, without causing any harm.
More than that, healthcare reformers say that we could actually have better, higher quality, more patient-focused services if the delivery system was fundamentally redesigned, realigned, transformed and incented to be more patient/client-focused. The evidence from health system reform efforts indicates that we could in fact get more and better services for less money -- if we engaged frontline service providers in the redesign efforts.
However, if the next government were to simply drain $6 billion out of the existing health sector’s organizational stovepipes, we would almost certainly destroy the system.
“If the next government were to drain $6 billion out of the existing health sector’s organizational stovepipes, we would almost certainly destroy the system.”
We’ve done that. Been there. The last time government required downsizing in the traditional health sector silos, we lost 6,000 nurses and experienced skyrocketing preventable deaths, infections and deterioration of quality across the system. We don’t want to repeat those mistakes ever again. We really don’t.
So how will we reconfigure the Ontario healthcare delivery system? That kind of high level question was emerging by the end of HOOPP’s first Think Tank Symposium last November. Participants were beginning to ask: How are we going to change the system?
A few weeks ago the OMA stepped forward with some positive ideas for reforming healthcare. Among the OMA’s recent ideas was the suggestion that many of the specialty clinics located in hospitals don’t really have to be there in such high cost structures. They could be relocated in the community -- as independent health facilities.
This is the kind of “out-of-the-box thinking” that we will need to redesign and reconfigure our healthcare service delivery system. However, there are serious existing structural impediments to change – including the fact that we have lower wages and inadequate pensions in the community sector. Moving healthcare services from hospitals, to the community sector, would result an all-out in war if front-line hospital workers were to lose their pensions and receive lower wages.
HOOPP’s CEO John Crocker stood up at the opening of the November Think Tank Symposium and said that “HOOPP believes that health care workers in the community deserve a decent pension.” In their communiqué to Minister of Health Deb Matthews, HOOPP suggests that “benefits should be standardized across the system to encourage easy mobility between the hospital and community sectors.” They say that “the portability of healthcare providers is essential to a truly high quality integrated system.”
In addition to pensions and benefits, we also need to address wages. “A nurse, is a nurse, is a nurse” ought to be the core principle. RN’s should get the same pay, no matter what the setting they practice in. We need to achieve equalization of pay between the sectors.
So if we need to remove $6 billion in system inefficiencies over two or three years – we ought to make it $7 or $8 billion -- and invest a billion or two back into the delivery system to equalize wages & pension benefits to remove the existing structural impediments to health system reform.
Rather than dismantle the existing health service delivery system (which we could end up doing if we don’t have a plan), the next Government of Ontario will have the opportunity to reconfigure the healthcare delivery system so that we have:
“Rather than dismantle the existing system, the next Government of Ontario will have the opportunity to reconfigure the healthcare delivery system to improve quality, service and cost-effectiveness.”
þBetter, higher-quality and more accessible services;
þA system that is more patient/client-focused -- with seamless services across the continuum of care; and,
þWith a much closer integration of health and health-related social services, and with a major emphasis on patient/client-centred care -- with the aligned incentives that reward good performance.
But we won’t get there, unless we remove the structural barriers and prepare for fundamental change. What do you think? Do you think we ought to redesign & reconfigure the system?
What do you think needs to be done?
Ted Ball, is President of Quantum Transformation Technology in Toronto, Ontario.
Events & Presentations:
Contact NB (New Brunswick) - Atlantic Canada's Annual Contact Center Conference & Expo - October 19 & 20, 2010 - Delta Beausejour Moncton, NB
Warren Collier will showcase our new Talent Nest Applicant Tracking Solution and our Contact Center Agent Simulation product.
Contact Atlantic is Atlantic Canada’s only Contact Centre industry conference and expo. We are very excited to offer our most diverse line-up of speakers and sessions with something for everyone from front-line agents to company executives.
For more information, email us at
"Measuring the effectiveness of the Corporate Staffing Process"- Federated Press - 3rd Annual Recruitment & Retention Metric Conference -June 21-22,23 2010
Warren Collier and Colleen O'Brien PhD, will be presenting at the Federated Press 3rd Annual Recruitment & Metric Conference at the Metropolitian Hotel in Toronto.
"Measuring the effectiveness of the Corporate Staffing Process"
Contact NB (New Brunswick) for Members Only - May 12 2010
@ Home Agent Best Practice Session, Moncton New Brunswick.
Wed May 12, 2010 1pm-430pm ATLANTIC TIME - FUTURE INN - Moncton, NB.
Join Warren Collier & Scott Harding in conjunction with Contact NB members for a half day session as they share insights on prevailing best practices for workforce planning and Talent Acquisition .
This session will focus on some key findings for hiring @ Home agents for Contact Centres in North America. For further information, refer to our contact us section.
Halifax Contact Center Association - May 13, 2010
Thursday May 13 8am-930am ATLANTIC TIME - STAPLES CENTRE Dartmouth NS
Join Warren Collier & Scott Harding in conjunction with the Halifax Contact Center Association for a half day session as they share insights on prevailing best practices for workforce planning and Talent Acquisition in Contact Centers.
International Association of Reservation Executives (IARE) - May 6, 2010
Thursday May 6 at 2pm -3pm EST.
IARE Webinar - News & Insights from the World of Workforce Planning in Contact Centers- A 60-minute webinar.
Join Warren Collier & Scott Harding for a 1 hour webinar on prevailing best practices for workforce planning and Talent Acquisition specific to the Hotel Reservation Sector .
March 20 2010 -- New Profile Launch
Trinity Integrated Solutions announces the launch of the Contact Center Team Leader Pro Assessment & Selection Profile in partnership with Self Management Group.
January 30 2010 - New Profile Launch
Trinity Integrated Solutions announces the launch of a new Healthcare Pro Assessment & Selection profile for Nursing Professionals in partnership with Self Management Group.
October 10 2009 - New Profile Launch
Trinity Integrated Solutions announces the launch of a new Muncipal Pro Assessment & Selection profile for Executive level Professionals in Municipal Government.