I’m a big fan of coffee and need a regular fix throughout my working day (ask my colleagues) and it was thanks to me making a round (yes, I do make them!) that I had the opportunity to hear a fantastic story from a colleague in my office.
‘C’ came to Bromford having worked in a family business for 20years, is a parent and has a wealth of knowledge in repair handling and contractor management – surely an easy choice for the panel when she came for a role in our Customer Contact Team, right? Well, what if I told you ‘C’ had almost no computer knowledge before the job interview – had never browsed the internet, doesn’t use social media and had never sent an email! Maybe the decision isn’t quite so easy now, is it?
Well, the decision was made to give ‘C’ a job who has now been with Bromford for close to 2 years. Recruiting for the role came in the shape of an assessment day where a series of questions and activities allow Bromford to look at the personalities and interpersonal skills of the candidates. For a position in our Contact Centre life skills are very important and ‘C’ had plenty of experience to offer. The team knew that computer skills could be learnt if the right person was appointed and were pleased to find that once ‘C’ had been successful in getting the role they had enrolled for a local IT course, which they attended in their own time at weekends, to help gain the skills and confidence for using a computer.
I asked one of the Team Leaders, who was one of the assessors on the day, a couple of questions about the appointment:
Q. “Was there anything that ‘C’ did that may them really stand out in the assessment day?”
A. “We knew that ‘C’ had lots of skills that they could bring to the team and that ‘C’ was very organised and logical in their way of dealing with issues. ‘C’ came across well and showed that they were a good team player.”
Q. “How does ‘C’ perform in their role?”
A “‘C’ is consistent with their approach to the role, although not one of the highest call takers, ‘C’ is one of the highest performing for ‘Call Resolution’ meaning that they will own a call and resolve. ‘C’ really does try very hard to resolve an issue for the customer even if it means staying late – this shows in their call resolution figures. I have always said that if ever I needed to sit at anyone’s desk to answer the ‘phones I would definitely choose ‘C’s’. ‘C’ has every piece of information you could possibly need on their desk, very organised!!!”
So, in a world that has gone digital crazy where you can remote record to your TV from your mobile phone, order your groceries from the palm of your hand and follow Lady Gaga in the comfort of your own living room, don’t get thinking that those who’ve yet to be accustomed to this lifestyle have nothing to offer. The way in which housing organisations are recruiting is changing. Life skills and life experience cannot be taught, nor can having the right attitude. You can’t program a feeling or compassion, not just yet anyway! So, give power to the people. Let people like ‘C’ have a place in your organisation; if you can give them the computer skills they need to do the job they will probably offer your business a whole lot more in return.