By now, the importance of empathy in collections has hopefully been drilled into everyone working in the accounts receivable management industry. Treating consumers with respect, dignity, and in a professional manner has become the standard for any legitimate agency that is trying to make it in this world. But are companies applying that same level of determination to emphasize empathy when dealing with their own employees? That does not yet appear to have occurred. More than 90% of employees — working in any industry, not just collections — would stay with their job if their bosses showed more empathy, according to a data point quoted on the latest episode of “Training Bytes with Mary Shores.” That is a lesson for how all companies in the accounts receivable management industry should be managing their employees.
In this episode, Mary was joined by Tracy Montour, the director of marketing at Arbeit, to discuss hiring trends and opportunities.
One of the biggest keys to successfully managing a workforce today is understanding the needs and wants of employees, whether looking at it from a generational level or even on a case-by-case basis. Leaders need to be able to understand and empathize with their employees, Montour said, and one way to do that is to show employees that the experiences they are going through are not that different from what you are going through.
“At work, we all have to show more that we’re human,” she said. “At the end of the day, it helps them understand that we are all trying to figure this out together. It’s not you versus me. We’re all on a team. We all have the same goal.”
A way to demonstrate that you care about employees is to invest in them while also asking for a commitment, Shores said. She used as an example what she told a new employee who was hired recently.
“I told her, ‘When I bring you in, I need at least a two-year commitment,’ ” Shores said. “And I tell her why. And then they can think about it. I don’t expect them to stay in a job for two years that they don’t like. So here’s what I’m willing to do. I’m going to invest in them, I’m going to invest in their training, I’m going to invest in their development. And then I actually do all of those things.”
One way that Shores makes that investment is by having all new employees go through what she calls a business boot camp. During that time, new employees are taught about the industry and taught about the different jobs within the agency. “Say someone gets hired for a data entry job,” Shores said. “Well, we’re gonna teach them so that they understand the role of skip tracing, or they understand credit reporting, or they understand some of the things that go on in the client services. We actually even teach every single employee how to collect money, because I feel like if you’re going to work in this industry, you know, that’s the basic skill set that you need. You need to be able to understand how collections work, you need to understand how to negotiate and how to communicate with people, and we want everyone in our office to be able to do that.”
See all episodes in this important series and access the podcast by clicking here.