Retaining New Hires in the Collection Industry: A Blend of Flexibility, Engagement, and Support

Nov 13, 2023

In the fast-paced and often high-pressure world of today’s collection industry, retaining new hires is a multifaceted challenge. Companies are increasingly recognizing the need to blend flexibility, engagement, and support to keep their workforce motivated and productive, experts discussed during a recent webinar that was sponsored by Peak Revenue Learning.

Hybrid Work Environments: A New Norm

The shift towards hybrid work environments is more than a trend; it’s a strategic move to balance office culture with remote work benefits. “The hybrid model allows employees to develop a culture, get to know their coworkers, and have fun,” says James Taylor from RGS Financial. This approach is crucial in an era where face-to-face interactions are limited, yet highly valued for building connections and a sense of belonging.

Leadership Presence and Mental Health Support

Leadership’s physical presence in the office during employee workdays is vital. It’s not just about oversight; it’s about being accessible for informal conversations and support, especially for those who might struggle with supervisor relationships. Companies are also recognizing the importance of mental health support, offering free Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) to provide a confidential outlet for personal and professional stresses.

Engaging Onboarding Experiences

First impressions matter. Innovative onboarding experiences, such as production videos showcasing company values and job insights, set the stage for new hires. These experiences, coupled with careful attention to compliance and privacy, make the first day memorable and engaging.

Family Inclusion and Fun

Incorporating family into company culture is a unique approach that pays dividends in employee satisfaction. From Halloween surprises for employees’ children to virtual Santa visits, these initiatives create a family-friendly atmosphere that extends beyond the workplace.

Equipment Return Policies

With remote work comes the challenge of equipment management. A robust process, including signed agreements and clear consequences for non-return, ensures accountability. This approach has proven effective, with a high rate of equipment return.

Productivity in Remote and Hybrid Settings

Contrary to common assumptions, productivity in remote and hybrid settings often matches or exceeds that in traditional office environments. Companies have observed varied productivity patterns, with some employees thriving at home and others in the office. This insight has led to more personalized work arrangements, catering to individual preferences and strengths.

Use of Technology for Engagement and Compliance

Advanced technology, including AI software in virtual meeting rooms, helps monitor engagement and compliance. This technology detects disengagement or distractions, providing valuable metrics for management. However, positioning this technology as a resource rather than surveillance is crucial to maintain trust and comfort among employees.

Extended and Interactive Training Programs

Training programs have evolved to be more extensive and interactive. A blend of technical, client-specific, and practical training, coupled with mentorship, builds confidence and competence in new hires. This approach has shown success in easing the transition from training to independent work.

Gamification for Engagement

Gamification has emerged as a powerful tool for employee engagement. Platforms like Zizzo transform mundane tasks into competitive, fun activities, appealing to the innate competitive nature of employees in the collection industry.

Looking Ahead: The Future of Hiring and Retention

The future of hiring and retention in the collection industry remains challenging, with no significant changes on the horizon. The key to success lies in continuous innovation, both in hiring practices and overall business strategy. As remote work options become more prevalent, companies offering flexibility, along with a supportive and engaging work environment, will likely have an edge in attracting and retaining talent.

Key Takeaways

James Taylor, RGS Financial: Sending candy and other items for the kids and grandkids of new hires to share. I think that’s extremely important — including the families. Sometimes it’s overlooked that families sacrifice a lot of time that they don’t have because they’re working. That’s hours that they’ve devoted somewhere else. So finding those connections and bringing the family in — I think it’s important. You’re proud of where you work, but your family is also proud of where you’re working as well.

Judy Gray, State Collection Service: Make the Employee Assistance Plan available to all employees. That’s something that we firmly believe in. And it has been very successful. Work is stressful. And we want to make sure that our employees and their family members all have access to our EAP. We just recently enhanced our EAP and we doubled the amount of one-on-one counseling sessions our employees and their family members can have. And really, that was a recognition of our knowing how stressful the world is right now.

Tony Diaz, PFC: You need something that separates you from everyone else. The job’s gonna be the same, most likely wherever you go in our industry. So whether it’s your engagement, your company, culture, how you get people working remotely to feel like part of the company, whether it’s just you in your home, but if you have 100 other people in an office somewhere else that you have to separate yourself from the other company, whether it’s through fun committees, it’s the health and wellness, or you have other engagement platforms that you can use, something to get that remote hire to feel like they’re part of your company. If it’s a care package you send to them alongside their new equipment, which is some goodies and some snacks or some swag from the company. Anything that you can do that sets you apart from your competitors, that’s going to mean something to that new hire. It’s not just another box, and here’s my goods and start the job and see you Monday, something a little personal to them. That goes a long way.