by Andrew Steijaert | April 9, 2020
At 5CA, working from home is just business as usual. 95% of our team is based at home so we have been watching the sudden focus on work from home business models, especially for customer service, with some interest. The COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic is creating a wave of companies asking their employees to work from home, but it takes time to get it right – you can’t change your corporate culture overnight.
The 5CA Talent Acquisition team has been recruiting people to work from home for quite a few years and we know that you need to look beyond academic qualifications. Domain expertise is really critical – for example when you are building a customer service team for a games company then you need gamers to be answering those call queries from customers. You would not go and hire people from a bank contact center and assume they will be fine supporting gamers because they have contact center experience.
Team spirit and the ability to work in a virtual team are also essential. Many people today fall into the category known as ‘digital natives’ – they have grown up surrounded by the Internet and communication technology. However, just because someone grew up using social media does not mean they have the attitude and discipline to work remotely and participate in team activities.
One of the recurring problems I have – and all those companies rapidly shifting to a work from home model are about to see – is that the entire recruitment industry is just not ready for a shift to virtual teams and working from home.
I’ll give you an example. If I need to hire some data analysts then I don’t care where they are located, provided they can connect to the company and fulfill some basic criteria, such as the right mind-set, expertise, and potential. So if I need to hire a data analyst then that person could apply from almost anywhere – Canada, Australia, or Kenya. It doesn’t matter to me, so long as they have the right skills for the job and the infrastructure needed to connect.
None of the major players in the recruitment advertising space found seems to work like this yet, from a global perspective at least. I always need to specify a ‘base’ for every job. If I specify that all our vacancies are based in the Netherlands then how will the skilled data analysts in Canada ever see my vacancy? They will be filtering on locally available jobs.
The entire recruitment process needs a mindset shift to focus on skills, not location. We will often try to ‘follow the sun’ with various skills, so if we are hiring data analysts in Asia Pacific then we will try to get similar people in EMEA and North America, so the teams can hand off work to the next region as their day finishes. Try explaining this to a job board that requires us to select an exact location, as detailed as state and city, or even to LinkedIn or job aggregators that do allow us to post a job as ‘remote’, but only in a specific country.
I get that this is how their pricing models work, but it’s a little ironic to see how some of those former disruptors are in fact very traditional from the perspective of our needs.
“So, you want to hire people in Tokyo?”
“Sure… , but anywhere in APAC is OK as well, but then I also need people in Africa and South America and they all need similar skills so they can work together…”
The recruitment industry remains geographically focused, yet this pandemic is forcing companies to focus on skills, no matter where their people are located. This is exactly how 5CA has operated for over 15 years – just get the best people onto the team regardless of where they are. Our CEO always says that we can hire for any language, any skill, and anywhere and that’s exactly what we do.
It’s my job to identify the talent we need, no matter where they are. It’s a struggle to work with partners that are not geared up for this, but it’s something I just have to manage. Everyone else in our industry is about to face the same challenge. Good luck!
Photo by NZTEU licensed under Creative Commons.
Andrew is a Talent Acquisition Manager at 5CA.
Following on from National Customer Service Week, our Chief Customer Officer Rob van Herpen reflects on the journey that customer service has undergone in the last decade, and the role it plays within the wider scope of the whole customer experience.
I started working for 5CA back in October 2019. Currently, I’m working as a Gaming Technology Support Agent in Spain. My job as an expert on the products of the company I'm supporting is to offer support to customers and get them up, running and happy in no time.
2020 is set to be a blockbuster year for gaming. In particular, mobile games that don’t need the player to invest in a console or any other equipment. One of the effects of the stay-at-home and quarantine orders during the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic has been that people have needed to find things to keep them occupied.
The white paint lines on the road crept passed ever so slowly, like my life tricking away.
I tapped the steering wheel with my nails, trying to release the pent up stress and irritation while the radio mindlessly droned on. Then the tears came, right on time, same as usual.
When you look at how many people searched for ‘work from home’ in the past year, you see the chart soars in March 2020 just as many national governments were applying stay-at-home orders and quarantines to help reduce the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus. This is no surprise. Every company that could possibly keep functioning with remote workers asked their people to go home.
It’s often said, ‘people are the weakest link in cybersecurity’. I get that and I agree that we must seek to minimize human-related threat vectors. But I believe that if we view our people, our teammates, as our greatest security asset, then we start from a position of strength.
Have you noticed how many companies and senior executives are now experts in building a work from home strategy? According to Malcolm Gladwell it takes 10.000 hours of individual practice to become an expert at anything. Have those 320 business hours since the 1st of March really made everybody an expert?
Across the world, business journals have been endlessly reporting of the heroic efforts of companies with large numbers of office-based employees managing to switch to a work-from-home strategy. This has particularly impacted the contact centers because they have a large number of people in a small area and this is no longer acceptable because of the social distancing required to keep us all safe.
For almost two decades, 5CA has been perfecting our work from home customer service model. The latest version, where we only ever hire agents to work from home, has been around since 2015, so it is clear that for us this is very much business as usual.
A few days ago I participated in a webinar titled ‘pioneering contact center quality working remotely.’ The title makes it clear what the focus was, but I was pleased to be joined by our Lead QA Analyst, Sylvia Mattl, and Derek Corcoran, CEO of Scorebuddy.
A few days ago I participated in a webinar titled ‘pioneering contact center quality working remotely.’ The title makes it clear what the focus was, but I was pleased to be joined by our Chief Customer Officer Rob van Herpen, and Derek Corcoran, CEO of Scorebuddy.
My experience with starting to work remotely has certainly been one of the very best opportunities I’ve had so far. It changed my life, for the better. I’ll gladly tell you the short story of how I went from an in-office agent biking to the station every day, to exchanging my bike for snow boots when I reached my new home.
Companies across the world are racing to get their team all working from home to protect them. During multiple global lockdowns citizens are expected to practice social distancing, therefore it is essential for companies to operate with as many people as possible working from home.
95% of our team works from home and we have been working this way for over 15 years, where we truly understand what it is really like to build a work from home strategy with a huge focus on quality.
I've been working from home for a full year now, and no working experience can compare...
At 5CA working from home is just business as usual. 95% of our team is based at home so we have been watching the sudden focus on work from home business models, especially for customer service, with some interest.
It sounds kind of obvious, but training and developing your remote workforce is essential to improving their skills and performance. It encourages them to be more engaging within the workforce of your company while working from their home office, which leads to happy, effective and great employees that are here to stay...
I saw the situation, and I went for it. 2014 was going to be a decisive year. It was to be the year I got laid off from my well paid corporate job and the year I decided to study Permaculture and reunite with nature again!
Because 95% of our team works from home and we have been working this way for over 15 years I feel confident that I can help people to understand what it is really like to build a work from home strategy.
A lot of people are currently being thrust into the murky waters of communicating purely via different apps. It’s dangerous. I’m Australian, and to me the perfect analogy would be diving head-first into a muddy river on a scorcher of a day.
Many management consultants and business experts are advising executives to move their workforce home with laptops until the crisis is over. What they are not saying is that this is now business as usual - the new normal.
Companies across the world are facing an unprecedented wave of disruption at present. One of the specific outcomes from this is that many people are suddenly working from home. Many have no experience working away from the office and so the business journals are full of tips on how to make it work.
Companies across the world are finding their business extremely disrupted at present and it looks like things may get worse before they get better. During this time there has been a strong focus on the need for people to work from home...
“I’m on break, it’s my turn to hold him!” This is just one statement many fathers don’t get to say to their significant other as they usually do not have home based job...
I have to say, the first time leading a team without ever being in the same room is quite a unique and unsettling experience in the first few weeks...
I have to say, the first time leading a team without ever being in the same room is quite a unique and unsettling experience in the first few weeks, but I have found that it makes you work a lot on your communication skills...
Workforce engagement is a buzzword. And like all good buzzwords, there’s a lot of hype around it, but something really valuable at the heart of it too.
Consumer support over any channel, in any language, at any time: 5CA’s successful contact center as a service is possible because we use technology to make planet Earth our talent pool...
Consumer support over any channel, in any language, at any time: 5CA’s successful contact center as a service is possible because we use technology to make planet Earth our talent pool. It also presents an intriguing challenge: How do we balance flexibility, productivity, and security?
Consumer support over any channel, in any language, at any time: 5CA’s successful contact center as a service is possible because we use technology to make planet Earth our talent pool.