Not every employee that a collection agency hires is going to be promoted. While many collection agencies look to promote from within, identifying the right candidates who might make good managers, supervisors, or even executives is not an easy job. How can a collection agency identify someone who is going to be a good leader? Someone who will be respected by the people who are now reporting up to him or her and no longer sharing smoke breaks together?
If sports has taught us anything, it’s that the players who are the best rarely make good coaches or general managers. The skill sets are just too different. The same is true in collections. Simply promoting the best collectors is not a viable long-term strategy. First of all, if you don’t have your best collectors collecting anymore, that is money that is not coming in the door. Second, just because someone was a good collector does not mean that he or she will be a good leader.
The first step in looking for the leaders of tomorrow is to identify the people who want to become future leaders, according to a panel of executives who spoke on a webinar yesterday on the topic of developing management training programs. The webinar, which was sponsored by Peak Revenue Learning, featured the following panelists:
- Tim Haag, President, State Collection Service
- Kelli Kreuger, Vice President – Organizational Development, CBE Companies
- Greg Ruffino, Director of Training, Williams & Fudge
- Roger Weiss, President & Chief Operating Officer, CACi
For companies that have a management training program, a normal first step is to require interested candidates to fill an application. Management candidates should also be the ones who are showing initiative at work, either by mentoring newer employees or by helping organize different charitable efforts or other projects within the office. Being a good collector is also important because those individuals will need the respect of the people who are now working under them and if someone who was not a good collector is promoted, it can create a bad vibe within the office.
Every company has a culture and the promotion of that culture starts from the top and works its way down. The managers and executives of tomorrow are the ones who are good at promoting your company’s culture inside and outside of the office.
Management trainees should also get to spend time seeing how all the departments inside a collection agency works, from human resources to accounting to information technology. The managers of tomorrow will be called on to provide information, answer questions, and show expertise. Imparting that expertise and knowledge is the responsibility of the collection agency.
Finding the right managers from the collection flow is vital to the success of an agency. If employees only see outsiders coming in to be managers, what does that tell them? That there is no opportunity for advancement. If an agency wants collectors and other support staff to become long-term employees, the agency needs to show that it is willing to invest in employees and give them the skills to grow not just in the job they have today, but the jobs they will have in the future.