Absenteeism is one of the biggest challenges facing contact centre industry; one of three best-growth sectors in South Africa (where the author is located). Here are eight top industry tips to keep call centre lines humming...
by Taryn Weldon, Marketing Officer - Fusion Outsourcing
1. Make absenteeism a business priority
Since absenteeism clearly affects the bottom line, an outsource call centre without a plan for dealing with absenteeism will quickly falter. Absenteeism should never be viewed as an inevitable side-effect of business as usual, but treated at all times as a business priority.
2. Absenteeism in perspective
It is important to not only collect statistical data for absenteeism, but fully understand the reasons for absenteeism in your business. Levels will differ, for instance, during training and stabilisation phases. Once a company understands its particular reasons for absenteeism, a management strategy can be put in place.
3. Create an absence policy for your contact centre
An absence policy is not only a company’s declaration of intent, but provides clear boundaries and limitations for call centre employees who might tend to view sick leave as a ten- days-a-year leave entitlement.
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4. Communicate the policy
Studies suggest a lack of communication between management and employees leads to increased health risks in call centres. The greater the involvement from staff, the lower the rate of absenteeism. Multiple communications channels are key, as well as placing greater emphasis on split-level meetings to increase in real time, communication across the various levels of an outsourcing business.
5. Manage absence
A defined and clearly communicated absence policy means sick leave can be managed from the moment an employee calls in sick to the time they arrive back at their desk. A combination of interventions can be used: insisting that an employee speaks directly to her or his manager or supervisor rather than leaving a text message, ensuring the employee is contactable while absent from work, conducting back to work interviews and collecting and analysing absenteeism data.
The benefit, apart from a decrease in absenteeism, is that trends are soon picked up and once identified, empower management to respond in any number ways. This includes in a supportive capacity in cases of genuine illness or personal situations like domestic violence, for example, where timely intervention could prevent serious repercussions for an individual or the business
6. Provide healthy working conditions
High illness rates can be the consequence of a stressful contact centre environment with over-crowding, excessive background noise and lack of light, ventilation and areas or facilities in which call centre employees can relax in between meeting their sales targets. The health and spaciousness of the work environment should be taken into consideration when analysing absence trends and the principle acknowledged that healthy and pleasant facilities generally mean lowered absenteeism
7. Peer pressure can work
It can be helpful to remind employees that they fit into a bigger picture and impress upon the person returning to work, the impact their absence has had on their team, as well as the effect on the business
8. Incentives for attendance
It always helps to provide incentives for employees to remain at work during times that traditionally record high levels of absence like the festive season. Incentives could be in the form of money, time off, reward experiences, or a combination of these, depending on company constraints.
About WNS Global Services:
WNS Global Services is a large global Business Process Outsourcing company headquartered in Mumbai, India. WNS formerly stood for World Network Services.
Published: Sunday, April 15, 2012
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