How to Make Your Credit Team Stronger

Finding and retaining qualified business-to-business credit staff can be a challenge. For small- to medium-sized businesses, “there are lots of reasons these jobs are difficult to fill,” said Pamela Krank, president of The Credit Department, Inc., a Minnesota-based credit management technology and outsourcing solutions provider. “They take a very interesting skill set that merges into one position.”

Larger operations are more likely to create a variety of positions—each highlighting particular skill strengths, making it easier to find individuals who have that strength. For example, if a company is looking for credit analysts, it can recruit finance majors, Krank said. “But when a credit professional does multiple things—requiring all of these skill sets—the nature of the work makes it difficult.” That’s the biggest difference between small and large businesses when it comes to finding qualified staff, she noted. “A traditional credit department hires generalists and then throws everything at them.” Both sides, however, could still have difficulty retaining staff. A larger corporation might have more appeal for a prospective employee, but it will also offer more opportunity for advancement, which could woo your employee to other departments and positions within the organization, Krank said.

To improve a firm’s chances of finding the best fit, “you have to provide a process and framework that makes sense,” she said. Not having a clear and uniform job description also makes finding and keeping staff difficult. Twenty different credit departments could provide 20 different job descriptions, she explained.

One way to improve credit managers’ chances of attracting the right people is by identifying the strengths they know that they want to hire. Then consider each applicant’s talents and strengths, Krank said. Once a person is hired, focus on making it a positive environment and fun for them, she added. “Hire right and keep them happy.”

To facilitate finding that person, the team, processes and technology have to come all together. Begin by assessing your portfolios; dissect the processes required to manage them; determine what you can automate; and then find the right people to complete what cannot be automated. “Most people do that backwards,” Krank said. “If you have the best people, but you have lousy technology and processes, you’re not going to keep them.”

On Nov. 2, Krank will present a NACM webinar, Developing High Performance Teams, from 3 to 4 p.m. EST. The session will help participants identify what elements they need to review to strengthen their team such as the following:

  • Needs of your specific receivables asset
  • Your role as a credit leader
  • Importance of process and automation
  • How to attract and retain the right talent
  • Performance measurement tools to ensure success
- Diana Mota, NACM associate editor

Learn more about the webinar Developing High Performance Teams.

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