Contact Center Solutions Featured Article

Studies Examine Trends in Contact Centers

November 13, 2008

For those who work in the contact center industry, it is well known that it is one wrought with high stress, challenging tasks and sometimes frustrated customers. What may not be as well understood is that these environments also lead to higher instances of illness for those who work in this sector and line managers are failing to get involved in pay and reward strategies can that boost morale and ultimately reduce absenteeism.

According to a new report, “The Sickness Absence from Work in the UK”, absence caused by sickness is higher in contact centers in the U.K. than any other sector. Part of the 2008 Economic and Labor Market Review, this report showed that customer service operations have the highest sickness rates in the UK, at 4.8 percent.

When compared to the overall report findings, in the 12 months up to June 2008, 5.8 million working days were lost due to sickness or injury. This figure represents 1.5 percent of total working days.  

Sickness absence rates vary according to occupations. According to the report, the variance is as much as two percent for managers and senior officials and a higher 3.1 percent for personal service and secretarial roles.  

Perhaps one of the key elements that need to be examined within these contact centers is whether or not these individuals are physically sick, or if they just need a break from the pressures of the intense job. While it is unlikely that managers will be able to measure the difference with any level of accuracy, outside parties can examine the structure and the environment to determine if it is structured to the benefit of contact center employees.
 
One key focus is that of pay and benefits for front line workers. According to findings from a Reward Management Survey, line managers are failing to get involved in pay and reward strategies. As a result, businesses are missing out on the maximum return on investment in staff.

Conducted by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), this report found that just over half of the organizations surveyed believe that line managers lack the skills and ability to develop effective salary strategies.

Just over 25 percent believe that the attitude of managers is at fault, yet CIPD believes that increased communication and training is needed to equip front-line managers with the skills necessary to have valuable input in such decision and initiatives.
 
CIPD reward adviser, Charles Cotton, said in a CCF Online report: "Line managers are given very little responsibility for determining total reward, yet they are expected to communicate it to staff. More involvement is needed… to enable them to understand the pay and benefit strategy and then implement and communicate it effectively."

Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMCnet and has also written for eastbiz.com. To read more of Susan's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by
Stefania Viscusi

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