Companies around the world have had difficulty recruiting and retaining staff members in recent years. In the wake of The Great Resignation, employees left their current positions in droves to seek greener pastures.
This shuffling of staff has become a struggle for many BPO providers. Run-of-the-mill benefits and compensation are no longer enough for agents; they are seeking employers who can offer them more. Contact center workers are increasingly pursuing opportunities for professional growth, positive working environments, and better perks. Meeting or exceeding these expectations is the key to avoiding high turnover among your call center agents.
Here are some ways to reduce attrition and meet the new expectations of agents.
Provide a Path for Professional Growth
Professional development has been a key to employee satisfaction for decades. At one time, many Americans would stay with one company throughout their careers, moving up the corporate ladder as they learned new skills and gained seniority within the organization. Although those days are largely a thing of the past, many employees still crave the stability they offered. When polled, 68 percent of staff said they would stay with their company throughout their career if management made an effort to upskill them.
The first step to providing employees with the skills they need to advance is to provide resources, such as training programs and opportunities for further education. Allowing agents to spend more time in training programs or relevant seminars can improve morale in the long run, even if it temporarily means less time on the phone. Furthermore, management can encourage employee engagement by pointing out opportunities for skill enhancement when they become available.
A less common but highly effective solution to helping agents upskill is the reimbursement of tuition, for college classes or other external education opportunities. Through these programs, agents can pursue new skills on their own time with the expectation that their employers will pay a part of the enrollment fees. Agents who want to move into a management position will feel genuinely appreciated by the company and its commitment to their personal growth. Moreover, tuition reimbursement is a great option if your workplace doesn’t have the hours to accommodate on-the-job training.
The natural next step is to promote employees internally after you’ve provided them with the tools to learn and improve their skills. To achieve this, give staff a clearly defined career path within the company and ensure that they not only see those around them advance but also advance themselves when they’ve earned it.
Brand loyalty isn’t only something you want from your customers, but from your agents as well. By creating a path for career advancement and encouraging your agents along it, you may find yourself with a lifetime employee!
Give Agents Gifts to Encourage High Performance
Making sure your agents don’t feel like another cog in the wheel is a key way to lower attrition rates. Rewarding staff appropriately is a great way to show your company’s appreciation and to keep morale high. Some of the best times to utilize these are when an agent goes above and beyond by improving their skills, outpacing their coworkers, or even just having a positive mindset. Rewarding hard work through career advancement isn’t the only way to ensure your employees feel appreciated. In fact, finding the right physical gift can go a long way to lifting an agent’s spirit. Unfortunately, choosing the wrong one can have the opposite effect.
In recent years, social media has seen a flood of employees showing their disappointment with company-branded gifts. In many cases, these gifts, such as water bottles and mugs, no longer feel like a sign of appreciation, but rather a sign that management is not being thoughtful. Even so, recognizing exceptional performance through accolades, awards, and rewards should not be frowned upon.
If your company is having a difficult time coming up with gifts your employees will love, stop guessing and start asking. Sending out a survey to get a better understanding of what everyone wants not only makes agents feel heard but can give you back the time you would have otherwise spent on brainstorming. If you do go this route, be sure to send a new survey frequently. Situations and needs of staff members change often and what may have been a highly sought-after prize one month could be old news the next.
Offer Better Flexibility with Hours and Location
The global pandemic reshaped how agents work around the world. Before COVID-19, employees knew to expect strict start and end times, sitting at a desk in an office setting. Now, the rules have changed. Instead, agents are asking for more flexibility with both their environment and the hours they work.
Providing as much flexibility as possible for your contact center agents is key to keeping morale high, including schedules and work from home. Nearly 60 percent of workers with jobs that could be done from home stated they wished to continue to work all or some of the time remotely. Different environments suit contact center agents, with some preferring remote work and others preferring office work. A choice between the two promotes employee morale by giving them control over their workspace.
Another common way to add flexibility and better work-life balance to your agents’ lives is to offer longer stretches, but fewer working days. Rather than working 8-hour shifts, employees may be interested in working four 10-hour shifts a week. Despite extended daily work hours, agents are given an extra day to enjoy with their families or to pursue hobbies. It also helps cut down on their overall commute time each week.
You may not be able to offer full remote work or the perfect schedule, but it’s important to do your best to accommodate a healthy work-life balance for agents. By offering flexibility, contact centers can relieve some of the stress their staff feels during the work week.
Find a Partner Who Knows How To Retain Agents
Call center leadership needs to be accommodating to agents’ evolving expectations, and there are call centers out there that are meeting those expectations. These BPO providers know that retaining their employees means playing by the new rules. If your BPO is struggling with attrition, it’s time to find one that understands what agents want. We have call center partners that have found the keys to hiring and retention and have the available staff to keep your customers happy. Request your no-obligation call center cost proposal today!