Commitment the key to keeping call centre staff

Employers
in the call centre sector must focus on winning commitment from employees in
order to overcome staff turnover problems, research claims.

The
Call Centre 2001 reward and retention report reveals that average staff
turnover in the sector is 18 per cent, but one in 10 employers admit to losing
almost half their staff each year.

Nearly
50 per cent of employers surveyed in the study for the Call Centre Association
Research Institute and Industrial Relations Services report staffing
difficulties, despite frontline salary increases of around 10 per cent.

Philip
Pearson, editor of the report, argues that the problem cannot be resolved
through wages alone and that HR departments must look at the overall package.

"Pay
is part of the answer, but it is only a part. It’s much more complex than that
and firms must start to win commitment from their staff. Companies that do that
provide employees with a good range of benefits in addition to pay as well as
training and feedback from management," he said.

"The
strategic HR issues are to do with getting the remuneration and reward packages
right. It’s also about the way work routines are organised and there are
concerns about the opportunities to progress within the call centres," he
added.

The
report highlights a broad range of factors, which are driving the high turnover
rate including a lack of progression, repetitive work, high pressure and a
tough labour market.

"I
think the HR function within the industry is learning a great deal about best
practice, but we need to inform HR about the key priorities. The HR sector
within the industry is keen to learn and is looking at ways to spread best
practice," added Pearson.

The
survey covered 143 employers, operating 331 call and contact centres in the UK
with a combined workforce of 53,570 staff.

www.irseclipse.co.uk

By Ross Wigham

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