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How effective onboarding helps staff retention in your contact centre

Like many areas of our economy, contact centres are suffering from something of a recruitment crisis.

A recent report from The Open University and Institute of Directors found that 63% of decision makers agree their organisation has found recruiting difficult.

In addition, one study of 20,000 global employers found that nearly 70% of companies were experiencing difficulties in hiring staff, a 15-year high.

Against this background, contact centres need to optimise their recruitment strategies. They also need to be doing everything they can to keep the staff they have.

More and more organisations are realising that a successful retention strategy starts at the point of recruitment. The effectiveness of your onboarding process goes a long way to determining whether staff leave in weeks or stay for years.

Onboarding matters

Onboarding really does matter when it comes to reducing staff churn.

According to studies, effective onboarding programmes can significantly increase the number of recruits who are still with a business several years later, in one case by 82%. 

Onboarding is a recruit’s first in-depth introduction to your business. One study found that almost a quarter of staff who resign do so within 45 days of their start date, so first impressions really do count.

Failing to welcome staff effectively and prepare them for their first weeks on the job is hugely costly, even at the best of times.

Pre-pandemic, the average UK employer was spending £3000 – and considerable time and energy – on every new hire. That figure is probably significantly higher today.

Making contact centre onboarding better

Given that onboarding plays such a large part in effective retention strategies, how do you make yours better? Here are eight simple ways to improve your contact centre onboarding experience:

Have a plan

An employee’s first few days should be filled with interesting or fun activities. Make sure you have an onboarding plan that makes full use of their time. Leaving new starters twiddling their thumbs or unsure of what they should be doing next is not a good first impression. It smacks of a lack of organisation.

Give them basic information first

Before you get to the specifics of their role, welcome them to the business with a tour (physical or virtual). Show them where bathrooms are, where to get a cup of coffee, and where to turn for help when they’re locked out of the company intranet. Let them know of any perks the company offers, like free Friday drinks or a discount at the local gym, and how to claim them.

Introduce them to useful contacts

Depending on the size of your organisation you might not be able to introduce new starters to everyone, but you should introduce them to people who will be important to their ability to work and thrive in the first few weeks of their employment. A HR contact would be useful. If appropriate, designate an experienced employee in a similar role as a mentor or ‘work buddy’.

Give them the equipment they need

Stock a new starter’s work space with the things they might need, like pens and a notepad. Don’t make them spend time squirrelling out essentials. Small gifts – like a coffee mug or chocolate – are a nice touch.

Get the team involved

One of the most important parts of onboarding is giving new starters the opportunity to get to know the people they’ll be working with. Do this with an informal introduction session and icebreaker games. If everyone is in the office, think about organising a team lunch.

Plan adequate training time

The core of any onboarding programme is preparing new recruits for the role they are taking on. This preparation must be thorough, with plenty of time for questions and feedback. It’s particularly important for new contact centre staff to feel confident about handling live interactions with customers. Mock calls and role plays covering a number of common scenarios are a good idea. But however you choose to prepare new starters for their first days and weeks on the job, make sure the programme is comprehensive and interactive.

Talk about company culture

Onboarding is a great time to start promoting company culture. Don’t forget to talk about the company’s values and vision. If you’re doing anything notable in the ESG (Environmental, Social & Governance) space, make sure you mention it. If you support a charity, tell new starters about the form that charitable support takes and how they can get involved.

Give them the IT they need

The best contact centre software is easy and intuitive to use. Even so, thorough training is a must, and this should continue well beyond the initial onboarding period. Start with basic functions and progress through more advanced features. As new features are introduced, have sessions dedicated to them. MaxContact is your friend here. We offer a comprehensive contact centre solution that is easy to get to grips with. We also offer full training for you and your teams, for free, forever.

Don’t leave onboarding to chance

The key to all this is to put some thought into your onboarding programme, and have a well considered plan.

Onboarding is an important part of your retention strategy. It’s a time for both comprehensive training and a warm welcome. It’s an opportunity to inspire new starters with your values and enthuse them with your vision.

MaxContact can help with your onboarding strategy, by offering a fully equipped software solution and the training to help new recruits make the most of it. For more information on our smarter contact centre software, please get in touch.

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As contact centre leaders navigate the ever-evolving landscape of customer service, it’s crucial to adapt to new challenges and embrace innovative strategies. At MaxContact’s ‘Afterwork’ community event, organisational psychologist Danny Wareham delivered a thought-provoking talk on unlocking contact centre excellence through engagement in a hybrid world. Embracing the Hybrid Reality Wareham emphasised that the hybrid...