News : Sitel Gives Layoff Notice
July 1, 2014 -- More than half of the workforce at Sitel Inc. recently got word their positions may be cut later this summer, the corporation’s global headquarters have verified.
Even as city organizations are busy working with Sitel to ameliorate damages, many of the 348 at-risk employees receiving a worker adjustment and retraining notification letter are being recruited by other employers.
"We advise the Sitel employees they need to stay working at Sitel until they are officially laid off," said Mike Buck, executive director at Concho Valley Workforce Development Board.
He said this would allow them to maintain their benefits, for one thing.
But until it is official, there is no guarantee that the layoffs will happen.
"This would be a worst-case scenario," said Andrew Kokes, Sitel’s vice president of communications at the Nashville, Tennessee, operations base. "We are required to issue a WARN letter when there is a possibility of losing positions."
The WARN notification, by Texas law, must be issued 60 days before an official layoff. It allows the Texas Workforce Solutions to pre-emptively assist workers who may be facing unemployment and to bring aid to a company that is suffering these setbacks.
Sitel is losing a major client, whom it could not name, and is hopeful that the lost sector of business can be replaced before layoffs become necessary.
The positions at risk involve a variety of workers in customer service and supporting and supervisory roles.
"The decision is strategic in regard to how the business needs to be run," Kokes said. "It is not based upon the quality of work the employees have done."
Because Sitel is a contact-center operation working with businesses around the country and the world, the local oil and gas industry does not directly affect its economy.
"The majority of work we do is business to consumer, inquiries over the phone, or chat or email, utilizing social media and managing customer engagement between some of the largest brands in the world," Kokes said. "From time to time we have ebbs and flows driven by seasonality and changing business needs of our customers. Right now we have a healthy pipeline of new deals in the works."
The company is working hard to replace the lost contract with other new business and has met with the Concho Valley Workforce Development Board as well as the Chamber of Commerce and the City of San Angelo Development Corporation.
"We have been discussing ways we can help Sitel, and they are very confident they are going to get some new contracts," Buck said.
"Sitel has gone through this periodically, and they have their own tools for maintaining business in a fluid economic environment," said Michael Looney, San Angelo Chamber of Commerce vice president of marketing.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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As caring for customers becomes the differentiator that drives consumer spend, Sitel is advancing its position as a world leader in outsourced customer care innovation. With 30 years of industry experience, Sitel’s 56,000 employees support clients with CRM contact center services that provide predictable and measurable Return on their Customer Investment by building customer loyalty, increasing sales and improving efficiency. Sitel’s global solutions include customer acquisition, customer care, technical support and social media programs. Support operations span from home based agents to 110+ domestic, nearshore and offshore centers in 23 countries across North America, South America, Europe, Africa and Asia Pacific. Sitel manages client programs on behalf of some of the best known brands in the world in 40 languages. Sitel is privately held and majority owned by Canadian diversified company, Onex Corporation.
Published: Friday, July 4, 2014