Managing staffing is a big part of any contact center operation. As we have seen, the evolution of contact center technology is furthering the transformation of the contact center into a revenue driver for business, so it's more important than ever to be able to source and hire high-quality staff. You may be surprised at the options available.
Bright Pattern is pleased to have initiated the Telecommuting for the Disabled Advisory Council, an informal affiliation of professionals and organizations operating at the intersection of virtual contact center technology and job seekers with commuting restraints.
The council aims to raise awareness of a potential supply of high-quality contact center labor, drawing on those who need legitimate work-from-jobs due to a physical disability. Through the council, we aim to connect organizations that source or train people for work-at-home contact center jobs with contact centers looking for agents.
We consider it a win-win arrangement for everyone involved - hiring organizations to get skilled labor, and in some cases, tax credits, differently abled people who want to get jobs, and we have an opportunity to deliver additional value to our customers, not to mention to the community at large.
Here's a real-world example of the resources and talent pool available to contact center operators. The Center for Independent Living in Berkeley, California provides direct services to residents of Alameda and West Contra Costa Counties with disabilities. Founded in 1972, The Center for Independent Living, Inc. is the world's first Independent Living Center, a services and advocacy organization run by and for people with disabilities.
The Center for Independent Living (CIL) works with a very talented group of differently abled people who are ready to fulfill a variety of virtual contact center and other positions. CIL clients have a wide range of experience in various fields, such as customer service and teaching, from working at retail stores and banks to insurance companies and universities.
The center works closely with clients to develop the skills they need to successfully re-enter the workforce. Clients also receive extensive training on professional development, such as resume building and interview techniques. Once placed with an organization, CIL clients receive ongoing support to ensure their success.
(If you're interested in possibly hiring a CIL client, please contact Danise at dsugita @ cilberkeley.org to get the specifics on placement candidates.)
Our first two official council members are National Telecommuting Institute, and Veterans2Work, both of which we profile below.
National Telecommuting Institute (NTI)
NTI is a non-profit organization that has been placing Americans with disabilities in work-at-home jobs since 1995. The NTI@Home division delivers free virtual classes to prepare candidates for work-at-home jobs in the customer service, technical support, quality assurance, medical transcription and other fields.
NTI specializes in virtual contact center staffing and receives government subsidies that allow it to competitively price the workers they provide. Organizations that hire individuals with disabilities that work from home may become eligible for a $2,400 work opportunity tax credit for every worker they hire. This one-two combination provides a highly affordable contact center staffing option.
Veterans 2 Work (V2W)
Veterans2Work provides free career-related services to armed services veterans, including job placement, matching veterans to businesses looking for a "one-stop shop" for access to veterans for consulting, staffing and outsourcing.
At Dreamforce 2012, John Reynolds of Veterans2Work joined Kelly Services CIO Joe Drouin onstage to announce a partnership aimed at highlighting the talent pool of military veterans, and the potential to employ veterans in contact center roles. (See the video below.)
We're pleased to have both NTI and V2W officially join the council!