East Midlands Development Agency (emda) has been helping a call centre to recruit hundreds of new staff for its operation in Nottingham. Based on Talbot Street, Domestic and General (D&G) is the UK’s largest specialist provider of service contracts on domestic electrical equipment. The firm employs over 700 people at its Nottingham call centre, which opened in 1997.
Due to rapid expansion, D&G needed to recruit several hundred more staff for its operation. D&G had previously worked with emda on the Employer of Choice Award and Tracy Burrell, the company’s HR Manager, met with Emma Waddingham, a Nottingham based Investor Development Manager, to discuss their recruitment requirements.
However, one of the issues facing the company, as with other call centres, is the poor image of the industry, as Tracy Burrell, D&G’s HR Manager explains: “Call centres are a mystery to most people. I think that many feel that call centres have a poor image and no real career opportunities. There is a myth that call centre employers treat staff badly – and that staff don’t consider their roles are a real career, and both of these things are just not true.”
Through Emma, D&G were introduced to Making the Connection and Job Centre Plus, who advertised the roles available and promoted an Open Day event at the company at very short notice.
As a result of the first event, 310 new staff were recruited by the company and there are now plans to run an additional recruitment event later this year.
In 2007, emda also worked with D&G to help them achieve an Employer of Choice Award. This programme was introduced to address the recruitment and retention needs that had come out of discussions with the company.
One of the areas of recruitment where D&G has consistently been praised is for the pioneering way it recruits and retains older members of staff.
D&G’s age diversity policy ensures that all age groups that apply and start work at the Talbot Street call centre are recruited and trained in a way that meets their needs and ensures that no bias enters the decision-making process.
“We have excellent career opportunities for people of all ages and we have an extensive training programme for call centre agents up to management level,” said Tracy. “Call centres are not about short term work and a ‘stop gap’ while someone is looking at another career, there are opportunities to get on and progress just as there are in other sectors.
“Our organisation is about helping people, resolving problems and that is why we have a lot of success with mature workers because they have empathy and shared experiences with our clients.”
Call centre agents at D&G are also encouraged to speak to managers about ideas they have on how to improve service. D&G launched a group called TEAM (Together Everyone Achieves More), so that employees can have a voice and their opinions and ideas can be considered.D&G is just one of a number of businesses that emda is helping through its Investor Development work.
David Wallace, International Director at emda commented: “We have built up an excellent relationship with Domestic and General.
“The company has worked very hard to help change the stereotypical negative images of call centres, by investing in the development of its staff and we are pleased to be able to support them in this work.”
For more information about emda’s International Investment work, visit www.emda.org.uk or telephone 0115 988 8400.