Hybrid employees are gaining popularity in the outsourcing world as they allow businesses to access a wide range of talent, reduce overhead costs, and improve overall productivity.
On the employee side, this half-remote, half-onsite workforce model allows people to divide their time between a traditional contact center environment and the work-from-home setting. The result is higher job satisfaction, a sense of empowerment over their careers, and improved work-life balance thanks to increased flexibility.
However, successful training and development is the key to realizing the full potential of hybrid customer experience (CX) and business process outsourcing (BPO) employees. It requires a unique approach tailored specifically to hybrid workers since traditional contact center training doesn’t always align with this developing employment model.
We’ve compiled a list of best practices to strengthen your organization’s success with training and developing high-performing hybrid BPO/CX employees. But before we start, let’s explore why a hybrid workforce is becoming more advantageous in the industry.
The Hybrid Advantage
For CX and BPO providers, the benefits of having satisfied and well-balanced hybrid employees are multifold.
Hybrid employees exhibit heightened engagement and dedication to their tasks, leading to better performance and enhanced productivity. This improvement correlates with more positive customer experiences, as highly driven employees are better at addressing customer concerns and delivering outstanding service.
With this motivated and engaged workforce, organizations with hybrid employees often enjoy lower turnover rates, reducing recruitment and onboarding costs. Retaining experienced and skilled employees ensures consistent service quality and fosters a positive work culture that attracts top talent.
Moreover, a hybrid workforce can help companies scale their operations quickly and cost-effectively. By tapping into a wider talent pool, businesses can easily find employees with specialized skills or language capabilities that may be scarce in the immediate vicinity of the contact center.
So how do we train, develop, and ultimately retain our hybrid CX workforce? Let’s look at the seven best practices.
Utilize a blended or synchronous learning approach
A combination of in-person (offline) and online training benefits hybrid BPO/CX teams by addressing the diverse needs and circumstances of employees working in several locations.
This blended learning method ensures all team members access consistent, high-quality learning resources, enabling them to develop essential skills for managing customer interactions, navigating remote work challenges, and contributing to team success.
E-learning modules offer remote employees flexibility and self-paced learning, while instructor-led sessions and workshops in the contact center promote collaboration and real-time feedback for on-site employees.
Online learning events where participants engage in learning activities simultaneously are typically facilitated through a live session via video conferencing or a web-based platform. Known as synchronous virtual training, this approach mirrors a traditional classroom setting. Still, it is conducted virtually, allowing participants from different locations to interact directly with trainers and peers in real-time, facilitating immediate feedback, clarification of doubts, and collaborative learning.
One tip for implementing successful synchronous virtual training is to ensure active participation. This can be achieved by incorporating interactive elements such as live polls, quizzes, breakout rooms for group discussions, and whiteboards for collaborative problem-solving. These activities can increase engagement, promote a sense of community, and enhance learning outcomes, thereby fostering unity and collaboration among hybrid BPO/CX employees.
Implement role-specific training
Developing customized training programs tailored to individual roles within the hybrid BPO/CX team is crucial for optimizing employee performance. This approach guarantees that team members acquire the necessary skills and knowledge to excel in their specific tasks, ultimately contributing to the organization’s overall success.
To achieve this, first, conduct a thorough analysis of each role’s responsibilities and skill requirements. Identify core competencies, technical proficiencies, and communication abilities essential for performing tasks effectively. Next, design training curricula that address these needs, incorporating diverse learning methods such as e-learning, workshops, and mentorship programs to cater to different learning styles.
Monitor employee progress throughout the training process, gathering feedback and evaluating performance to refine the training programs as needed. Offer ongoing support and resources to ensure continuous skill development and adaptation to evolving industry trends and client expectations.
On the employee side, role-specific training is more than just a professional development tool – it can provide personal benefits that contribute to an individual’s confidence, job satisfaction, career progression, and personal growth.
Leverage technology and communication tools
Effective training for hybrid BPO/CX employees hinges on the strategic utilization of technology and clear communication channels. These tools facilitate seamless collaboration, efficient coordination, and open dialogue, thus setting the foundation for a robust training environment.
Organizations can bridge the gap between remote and in-office employees by embracing various communication and collaboration tools. Video conferencing solutions mimic face-to-face interactions, which is critical for cultivating team unity and facilitating interactive training sessions. Meanwhile, project management platforms provide a platform for tracking progress, delegating training tasks, and monitoring deadlines.
Equally important is the use of instant messaging apps. These enable real-time communication, fostering a responsive training environment where questions or concerns can be promptly addressed. This mix of synchronous and asynchronous communication tools is crucial in delivering comprehensive training to geographically dispersed teams.
Establish a straightforward communication process
In tandem with these technological tools, establishing clear communication protocols is essential. They provide a roadmap for interactions between trainees, trainers, managers, and other stakeholders, which is critical in a hybrid work setup. These protocols should outline expectations, preferred channels, response times, and escalation procedures. This clarity ensures that everyone involved in the training process can access the necessary information and understand their responsibilities.
Regular virtual and in-person meetings can help maintain an open dialogue, providing opportunities for feedback, addressing challenges, and discussing training progress. Such practices encourage a culture of transparency and collaboration, integral to successful training outcomes.
Conducting periodic assessments helps identify potential gaps or inefficiencies in your collaboration toolset. Staying informed about emerging technologies and incorporating solutions that enhance the collaborative experience is crucial for the ongoing effectiveness of hybrid training.
Set hybrid-specific performance metrics and goals
Establishing clear objectives for hybrid employees is essential for maintaining accountability and driving success.
Begin by identifying role-specific Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that consider both the remote and on-site aspects of hybrid roles. These should align with the organization’s broader objectives and reflect the unique challenges and opportunities that hybrid working presents. Consider factors like virtual team collaboration efficiency, adaptability to shifting work environments, or responsiveness in remote communication.
Use digital tools and data analytics to track and review employee progress in real-time. This approach caters to the agile nature of hybrid work, allowing for timely feedback and swift course corrections. Regular check-ins and performance reviews should still be scheduled but with the flexibility to accommodate remote workers. This could involve video conference discussions to review achievements, address challenges, and identify areas for improvement.
Performance goals for hybrid employees should also reflect the flexibility inherent in their roles. This could include balancing productivity between remote and onsite work or mastering new digital collaboration tools. All this will help maintain a high-performance culture attuned to the specific demands of hybrid working while keeping people engaged and invested in their diverse roles.
Build a culture of adaptability and team camaraderie
Building a sense of unity and adaptability among hybrid BPO/CX employees is vital for their professional growth. It involves intertwining team camaraderie and adaptability training to create a comprehensive and beneficial learning environment.
Begin by fostering an inclusive work culture that welcomes open communication and celebrates team achievements. Use team-building activities as an avenue for hybrid training, incorporating exercises that develop adaptability skills necessary for managing diverse work environments. In-person events might focus on collaborative problem-solving exercises that mimic on-site challenges. Meanwhile, virtual activities such as online game nights or brainstorming sessions can simulate remote work scenarios, training employees to collaborate and communicate effectively regardless of location.
Team camaraderie also thrives when a culture of adaptability is promoted. The hybrid work model’s dynamic nature demands that employees quickly adjust to varying customer needs, navigate remote work obstacles, and maintain efficient communication with colleagues, regardless of their location. Training sessions tailored to these unique challenges will empower hybrid BPO/CX employees, providing them with the necessary skills and knowledge to thrive in their roles.
For instance, incorporate role-play exercises in training to mimic customer interactions in both on-site and remote settings. Offer courses on time management across different time zones and utilizing technology to maintain effective communication. Simultaneously, create opportunities for cross-functional collaboration, allowing team members to learn from each other’s experiences and share best practices.
Encourage continuous learning and development
Providing access to ongoing training and development opportunities is vital for helping employees stay up-to-date with industry trends and best practices. However, this commitment to lifelong learning should consider the unique context of the hybrid workforce, ensuring that learning opportunities remain flexible, accessible, and relevant.
Offer webinars, workshops, and courses covering relevant topics such as customer service techniques, emerging technologies, and industry-specific knowledge. You can also establish a mentorship program where experienced employees can share their expertise and insights with newer team members, fostering a culture of continuous learning and growth.
Also, track employee progress and achievements, offering recognition and rewards for exceptional performance. This could include public recognition during team meetings, monetary incentives such as bonuses or raises, or opportunities for career advancement like promotions or specialized training. Ensure the recognition and rewards system is transparent, consistent, and aligned with the organization’s values and goals. Celebrate employee accomplishments regularly, fostering a culture of appreciation and motivation.
By encouraging continuous learning and development and recognizing and rewarding excellence, organizations can ensure that their hybrid BPO/CX workforce remains skilled, motivated, and prepared to tackle emerging challenges.
These best practices also apply to organizations with a less dispersed workforce or with the majority of their employees working onsite. Whatever the remote-onsite ratio is, it is important to implement training strategies that help all employees across the board achieve their learning goals, improve their performance, and enhance their experience at work, whether they are at home or at the office.
About the author
Rommel is one of the most influential operational leaders in the Philippine BPO industry. As Chief Operations & Sales Officer, he manages 14,000 contact center employees across three continents. He leads a diverse team of thought leaders and domain experts, helping global brands elevate their CX strategy. A champion of the industry, Rommel sits on the board of the Contact Center Association of the Philippines (CCAP) and leads in driving innovation and excellence. He is a recipient of a Gold Globee for Operations Leadership of the Year 2022”. He and his team were awarded the Gold Globee for Customer Service and Success Executive Team of the Year in the 9th Annual 2022 Sales, Marketing, and Operations Awards.
Inspiro empowers smart, secure, seamless, scalable, and satisfying customer experience (CX). Through 38,000 digital-native customer champions, across 51 strategic locations, we connect companies with customers, any time, everywhere, just about effortlessly.
Owned by Relia — a member of Japan’s Mitsui Group — Inspiro is the CX outsourcing leader, with decades of experience and decades-long client partnerships. We design and deliver customized, transformative digital CX, enabling established and disruptive brands attain, retain, and sustain lasting customer bonds.