On-Demand Pay: An Unexpected Solution to Call Center Employee Retention
By Jeanniey Walden, Chief Innovation and Marketing Officer, DailyPay
The global pandemic has changed forever the workplace as we once knew it. Everything from office structure to health precautions to how employees are paid will be examined for maximum operational efficiency and safety.
Coping with Call Volumes
For call centers, the COVID crisis has presented unprecedented challenges. In fact, as brick and mortar businesses closed, calls to call centers increased. As a result, staffing became a major issue. Almost immediately, call centers had to become more strategic in maintaining a steady and engaged workforce while preventing widespread office shut-downs.
Among the daunting challenges were managing employees who were uncomfortable going back into the office, while dealing with staff members who lacked the necessary technology to work from home. Morale issues during these uncertain times also became a factor in employee retention.
Creativity in Benefits
Call centers, historically, are one of the industries most affected by high turnover rates. On average, call centers in the U.S. experience turnover of 30-45% according to the Quality Assurance and Training Connection (QATC).
But the latest research has shown, surprisingly, that call centers not only maintained staff, but increased employee levels to tackle the higher workloads. DailyPay’s “Rehire America Index” discovered that call center staff in the United States actually grew 4% during the early days of the pandemic in March compared with hiring levels in January.
During this critical time of bringing on new staff working remotely and retaining key team members, call centers had to be creative in the benefits they could offer to keep folks engaged and enthusiastic.
Control Over Income
One way of keeping employees engaged during this time of crisis was offering a benefit that would give them financial flexibility and empowerment over their income - a benefit that would provide some stress-relief at a time when anxiety was running rampant.
It turned out to be a benefit that would arise in the unlikeliest of places - the pay process.
Since World War II, pay experience has remained largely the same. Designed for the needs of the employer and government, no one until now has thought to reimagine how employees prefer to access and manage their compensation. But the recent health crisis has taught us that having access to earned income is not just a luxury, it could be a life-saver.
Asking employees to wait from two to four weeks to be paid is no longer a viable option in times of stress, as medicine and groceries might need to be purchased, while bills still have to be paid.
A Federal Reserve study found that over 40% of adults would not be able to cover an emergency expense of $400 if one arose. Financial stress doesn’t just cause a decrease in productivity. It could lead to lower levels of pay satisfaction from employees, increased absenteeism and increased turnover rates.
Positive for All Parties
Job seekers have caught on to the need for on-demand pay or earned wage access. In fact, in a recent survey, 1 in 6 respondents said that they applied to their current job because it offered a daily pay benefit.
For the employee, it’s a game-changer. The same study shows that employees who use the daily pay benefit save $1,205 per year, 78% say they are avoiding late fees and 70% say they no longer have to take out predatory payday loans.
With access to pay on-demand, employees feel more connected and valued at work and become more productive. Research shows that over 80% of employees report that their satisfaction with their employer has improved since the company offered on-demand pay. And job satisfaction lays the groundwork for more ambitious goals with an eye toward the future.
For employers, it’s a simple no-cost solution that can save potentially millions of dollars each year while helping to attract and retain top, productive talent. Research shows on-demand pay results in 50% reduction in turnover, and employers advertising the benefit fill positions in half the time.
As shelter-in-place restrictions have eased and thousands in the call center industry return to work, the physical office they left in March will look quite different with new safety protocols in place. But other changes, including the ability to access money as it’s earned, will also be part of the “new normal” all in a continued effort to keep employees safe, motivated and hopeful for a brighter tomorrow.