Dialing Up Your Recruiting and Retention
Anyone else finding it hard to hire good people?
The Department of Labor reports that domestic call center hiring will increase by 36% by 2026. And interest in these positions is increasing. A quick scan of of click data on Indeed.com from between January 2016 and January 2017 indicates a 22% increase in interest in customer service positions.
This may appear to be a good thing, but Indeed.com also points out
that “typical tenure for a Call Center Representative is less than 1 year.”
There are many factors contributing to the high turnover rate -- estimated between 30% and 45% -- that call centers experience, but the one that is inarguably at the top of the list is financial stress.
An American Psychology Association survey found that 72% of Americans feel stressed about their financial situations
and 22% are “extremely stressed.” Stress isn’t just about how employees feel outside of work. It causes people to feel (and to literally be) ill, lowers their motivation, and decreases productivity.
Financial stress in a worker’s personal life reflects directly back on how they view their job because work is supposed to cure financial stress! So addressing this silent killer of morale, productivity, and retention should be your first priority.
Raising wages and giving bonuses
, Capitol One
, and Comcast
are among a number of corporations with captive call centers who announced a minimum wage hike after the tax overhaul. These companies and others are also issuing one-time bonuses following the announcement of the new tax plan.
The Chicago Tribune
surveyed the effects of wage increases and one-time bonuses
in the wake of the recent tax overhaul, digging into the what kinds of substantial difference these windfall bonuses made for employees, and the answer was that it did very little.
Dea Polchow, 57, who works at an AT&T wireless call center in Rantoul, in east-central Illinois, received her $1,000 bonus check—minus about $400 in taxes—just in time to pay off some holiday shopping bills.
While she was happy to lower her debt, there isn’t money left for much else. “It’s $600,” she said. “By the time you get a couple of bills caught up, it’s not much.”
After the announcement of the bonuses, AT&T sent layoff notices to 600 workers in Illinois and other Midwestern states.
These bonuses provide a much needed boost to employee financial health, but according to Bloomberg
, the effect of bonuses is quite limited. An employee who’s worked at Walmart for 20 years or more will be eligible for a one-time $1,000 bonus (minus taxes) and someone who’s been there 10–14 years is eligible for $400 (minus taxes).
Wage increases and expanding employee benefits—like paid parental leave, 401(k) offerings, and expanded insurance options—are also meaningful but can have limited impact if the goal is inoculating your employees against financial stress.
Flexible pay schedules
If an employer raises wages by $1, as Walmart and so many others have, then an employee who works 40 hours per week, 52 weeks of the year, receives an extra $2,080 per year before taxes and other deductions. If they work 30 hours per week, 50 weeks of the year, that only $1,500 extra gross income.
But the average American pays $1,311 per year in late fees, non-sufficient fund fees, and payday loan interest, not to mention interest on credit card and other types of debt. And that number is much higher for the bottom third of earners.
Let’s say an employee who earns $15 per hour is two days from payday. They’ve already put in 30 hours during the pay period. Their gross income is $450 so far, and they plan to put in 10 more hours. But they overdraw their bank account by $1.50, and the bank charges them a $30 fee for “overdraft protection.” That’s money that has needlessly disappeared from their lives before they even see it.
This scenario doesn’t just play out with banking. It applies to paying rent, utilities, debt and more. It could be the difference between buying groceries or incurring an outsized fee. In other words, it’s expensive to not have ready money.
The simple proposition of flexible pay schedules is to never let this happen. By giving your employees access to their earned wages ahead of payday, the simple fact that they have an available balance gives them peace of mind, and it prevents their money from flying out their pockets before they ever get it.
If you’re struggling to stay competitive, offering a flexible pay schedule is a cheap and sustainable alternative or complement to wage increases and bonuses. You’ll increase your applicant pool
and retention rate
. Your employees will actually save money and have a financial lifeline to keep stress at bay and productivity high.
About Jason Lee
Jason Lee is CEO of DailyPay, a financial technology platform that has partnered with several contact centers to provide employees a way to control the timing of their pay so they can reach financial security. Jason is a member of the Forbes Finance Council and has been recognized as one of the premier thought leaders in global finance by the International Financing Review and Milken Global Institute. Jason was the first customer service representative for DailyPay, listing his personal cell phone as the company’s customer service hotline.