Even before global customer service outsourcer Convergys announced a major expansion at its two Charlotte sites in February of this year, the company knew it would need equally major help in recruiting and training candidates to fill up to 1,600 jobs.
Marcia Straub, economic incentives manager at Convergys, reached out to the state of North Carolina to learn what kinds of assistance might be available. That contact led to a $207,000 N.C. Community Colleges Customized Training Program administered by Central Piedmont Community College (CPCC) to provide tailored pre-employment and leadership training to 150 new Convergys hires in an 18-month pilot program.
“We discussed the challenges and issues they’re currently facing within the organization, what skills they need in new hires, and recommended a holistic approach that supports the overall needs of a call-center operation,” says Allison Bowers, director, economic recruitment at CPCC.
Bowers and the local Convergys recruiting team are coordinating recruitment efforts with Charlotte Works’ Special Projects Manager Beth Lefevre, who is helping to identify candidates with skill sets appropriate for call-center positions.
Candidates attend a customized training session developed by CPCC that focuses on work skills (call-center phone skills, enunciation, listening, etc.), keyboarding and typing. They’re tested at the end; those who pass will enter into Convergys’ interview process. Those who don’t still have a portable skill to add to their job-search toolboxes.
“We’ve been hiring all year. We need a constant flow of qualified applicants,” says Straub. “We have some challenges in the market with finding and hiring those applicants. While they’re all call-center jobs, depending on our clients, some are strictly customer service and some have a sales aspect to them. Our recruiters are in constant contact with Beth.”
CPCC held the first pre-employment training session at the end of October. Several candidates are currently in process.
“Charlotte Works has been absolutely cooperative,” notes Straub, “thinking out of the box on how to help us, such as hosting events at various sites. Beth is very proactive and has a very good understanding of our needs.”
“Partnering with Charlotte Works on recruiting and the college on training is the perfect solution for Convergys,” says CPCC’s Bowers. “Together, our two organizations work hand-in-hand to support new and expanding businesses in Mecklenburg County with recruiting and training initiatives.”