Within all too many recruitment agencies and other organisations, ‘them and us’ attitudes prevail between those tasked with such hidden-away back office duties as timesheet management, invoicing and payroll, and customer-facing front office personnel such as receptionists.
This is a highly undesirable situation for any business that wishes to thrive. After all, both of these sections of an organisation’s personnel base are crucial if the firm is to achieve its objectives.
So, what are the typical origins of such conflict, and how can your own recruitment agency resolve it?
Front office and back office priorities don’t always match
While past research has indicated that back office inefficiencies are often to blame for customer dissatisfaction, such an allocation of culpability may not do justice to the particular dynamics of the front-back office relationship.
Front office staff, after all, have a natural wish to address a customer query or complaint as quickly and as efficiently as possible, and may therefore make promises to this effect – which is unlikely to be appreciated by already-overlooked back office personnel.
In short, it’s crucial to acknowledge the mismatch that can sometimes arise between the most pressing priorities of front office and back office workers, and consider how communication and collaboration can be improved to iron out such potential friction.
Bridging the differences in culture and goals
It’s to be expected that the working environment, culture and immediate objectives of front office and back office staff often won’t be the same.
After all, to a front office staffer, it is making and keeping the customer happy that matters above all else. Back office personnel, however, are more distant from the customer, and therefore more inclined to see them as faceless – effectively a task to be fulfilled, rather than a person.
There is also a tendency for front office staff to have a continuous flow of work to deal with, as opposed to the managed deadlines and longer-term projects that more typically characterise the back office employee’s lot.
Thankfully, there are ways of better integrating your front office and back office’s operations, as is crucial if your clients and candidates alike are to benefit from the best all-round experience.
These include analysing productivity and allocating and reallocating work in accordance with current staff skills and availability, as well as occasionally redirecting your front office staff to the back office. The agreement of appropriate ‘service level’ type agreements between the front and back offices could also be instrumental in ensuring that any promises made are realistically achievable.
Better integrated front and back offices mean better results for all
Ensuring that your own recruitment agency’s front and back offices are working together in harmony can bring a wealth of benefits – not least greater satisfaction among your clients and candidates, thanks to any promises made being realistic and regularly achieved within agreed timeframes.
It also means, of course, more contented staff, with the integration of front and back offices into one seamless process doing much to eliminate harmful ‘them and us’ attitudes.
Get in touch with the TBOS office today to find out more about how, by outsourcing back office responsibilities to our own capable team, you can help to attain a smoother and more efficient relationship between back and front offices that also improves your agency’s core outcomes.