As a company that focuses on call center employee quality of life and improving the bottom line for employers, we take pride in putting smiles on our customers’ faces. Unfortunately, the call center is a place where you rarely see employees smiling, because of the nature of the job – high stress, few opportunities to meet coworkers, low pay – the list goes on. A lot of call centers try their hand at employee motivation and quality of life initiatives like potlucks, cake, gamification, etc. Do these work? Not really – which is one of the main reasons we exist as a company.
Fortunately, some companies put in the extra effort to foster a fulfilling, enjoyable environment. Tenacity recently rolled out at a few sites of a major, global BPO: STARTEK. From the beginning, we could tell that they were working hard to solve the problem of call center turnover. But instead of just plugging holes, they were looking to the core causes of turnover, focusing on improving their employees’ quality of life. Most companies will try to just throw a few bucks at the problem, see no improvement, and come to the conclusion that they’ll never fix it. Not STARTEK.
The STARTEK teams understood how helpful it is when all internal parties align on something like Tenacity, so that they can maximize its effect. Letting agents off the phones to come get set up with Tenacity was a small, but very helpful, way of ensuring success. They also dedicated a whole team to Tenacity in order to get the agents excited. They even asked us to train employees to act as local cheerleaders and first-lines of support to keep the effort going after our big launch.
Just being at the STARTEK sites, it was clear that they value their employees’ well-being. As an example, at one of the sites, they have a room specifically for married couples so that agents can work in close proximity to their partners. Their engagement teams are constantly planning community-building events and there are reminders all over the walls about getting exercise and taking care of personal health, which is not something you see in every call center. Their enthusiasm about Tenacity was unsurprising, as it has already proven to match closely with STARTEK’s existing culture.
It’s always nice to hear about how management cares about their employees, but we can’t forget that bringing in Tenacity to their centers was also a very strategic move on their part. They figured that if they dive in and rollout Tenacity at multiple centers, they’d be ahead of the game and could expand more quickly. On top of that, this would be a big leg up on the competition. If we cut attrition for them like we have in the past with all our clients, it sets them apart from other BPOs. In the Philippines in particular, where call centers are everywhere, they would set themselves apart and be the preferred BPO employer (which is great when your center is literally sitting a few feet from competitors). Not only would that mean reduced attrition, but they would be attracting top talent from their competitors.
STARTEK was quick to notice the obvious benefits of bringing in a program like Tenacity and jumped on the opportunity. Many organizations we have worked with look skeptically at Tenacity and don’t want to invest any real resources in human capital. But STARTEK looked at the clear, A/B tested proof of Tenacity’s past performance, and made a clear-headed bet: they would seize the opportunity to invest in human capital and reap the rewards. STARTEK also invested aggressively in ensuring Tenacity is a success. They helped us design an innovative win/win agreement, that should eventually become a model for our space.
Innovation in the BPO arena is going to be the key to survival, or at least any sort of decent margin. Companies like STARTEK that make calculated investments and work to make these investments successful will have the best shot at being on top.