Joanne D
Hello, I registered with this site on the recommendation of a friend.
I am a student and need some help with 'Emotional Labour' for a project i am working on.
Are there any training programmes designed to prepare employees to combat emotional labour?? If yes, could you give me a brief of this content??
please..
Thank you! [/b]

From India, Mumbai
PROFESSIONALS AND BUSINESSES PARTICIPATING IN DISCUSSION
Rajat Joshi
Hr Consulting ,trainer -creative Thinking
Umalme
Business Consultancy
Joanne D
Student

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umalme
11

Training programs are costly.
Good way to start with as stress management which is also emotional responses management due to people interaction and environment stimule interaction.
categorize it into -
- Work stress management
- people interaction
- environemt respone management
- body induced

From India, Delhi
Joanne D
thank you for that - i never thought of co-relating stress management with training for emotional labour!!!
its an interesting thought!
could you please shed more light on that?? Do any companies follow this in India??
Would you know about the kind of training call centres provide their employees - seminars, workshops etc - as emotional labour is a rampant problem in that field.
Thank you!

From India, Mumbai
Rajat Joshi
99

Hi all,

As i read this query..on emotional labour..for a minute couldn't follow the meaning..till i came across this article by Subramanayam...

THE FIRST conclave of call centre unions are on in Mumbai. Problems facing the call-centre workers such as `abusive client calls', `nerve-wracking time schedules and increasing targets' are among the issues in spotlight at the meet. What emerges from this international conference will be interesting, particularly in the light of the government's decision to open the retail trade to foreign direct investment hanging fire. Hash labour practices in call centres are also prevalent in supermarkets. Several books on this phenomenon have been published by investigative journalists such as Joanna Blythman and Felicity Lawrence. They portray the work strain of poorly paid supermarket workers, especially the travails of those employed at checkout counters who are susceptible to chronic back problems. Hopefully, the issues discussed at the up-coming conference would be good material for social scientists and government's labour welfare administrators.

Emotional labour

There are two ways of measuring the demands of a job — time and effort. In the last two decades a new element has been added: Emotional labour. From a customer services representative in a call centre to a teacher or manager, the emotional demands of any job have increased. Emotional empathy is the modern day equivalent of the muscle power that was essential to manual labour. Today, it is all about the ability to strike up a rapport with another human being, and fast. Employers believe customers will stay loyal when they are given personalised service in a mass consumer market driven technology. The standards are exacting: Employees are instructed to provide service with personalised `naturalness', spontaneity and warmth — qualities which they must provide consistently.

Madeline Bunting's (Willing Slaves - HarperCollins 2004) study of the over-work culture, from the lowest positions to the corporate bosses at the other end of the spectrum includes a trenchant critique of the travails of call centre workers.

There are several sweatshop call centres where the profit margins are so tight that operators are under constant pressure to meet tough deadlines andstick to strictly scripted interactions, and manage a cheerful disposition through it all. What all call-centres drill into their employees is to `speak as you are smiling' and `as if you have been waiting for this particular call'. If a customer is difficult or rude, the call handler must not respond aggressively. He or she certainly cannot betray any irritation or frustration during the next call, which is instantly routed through to them.

While call handlers are expected to provide the customer with a certain pleasurable emotional exchange, they must also continually repress their own emotions to ensure a standardised service. The equation of providing empathy to another while denying it to oneself is complex. What is more, these faceless, invisible `actors' get a measly bargain, compared to the millions paid to those from tinsel-town.

Empathy has become big business according to consultants Hardinge & Yorke, who specialise in what they call `empathy audit'. They claim to be able to measure every aspect of the emotional interaction between customer and company. If a company wants its employees to sound warmer or more natural, they turn to the likes of Bog Hughes at Hardinge & Yorke. India also must have its own versions of Hardinge & Yorke. Hughes has an archive of snippets of recorded call-handler interactions which he plays on his laptop. In one, the handler is confused and uncertain, and the customer ends up hanging up. That could cost the company a customer, points out Hughes, adding that customer loyalty is the biggest predictor of profitability. "Delight your customers and they'll be back; empathy makes money," he argues. This is not all. These consultants put as many as five hundred questions to the call-centre client about every aspect of the call handler. The client is asked to analyse exhaustively their own emotional response to each part of the interaction. The call handlers voice is analysed for pace, volume and timbre to ensure the right `mood'. Timbre is the function of breathing, and if there is any anxiety the ensuing adrenaline surge can contract the diaphragm, which raises the timbre. So Hardinge & Yorke trains people to breathe properly. The aim is to achieve `emotional resolution' as well as practical resolution of the customer's call and that, explains the consultants, is about making the customer feel great.

What the recruiters are after is not someone's technical skills. They are looking for a particular personality: cheerful, outgoing, flexible, good-natured, adaptable. What is distressing is the mismatch among the low-paid call-centre workers. They are required to provide emotional experiences, which they could never afford to receive themselves. In a culture which privileges the expression of emotion and rejects traditional forms of emotional self-management — such as the British stiff upper lip — the mismatch becomes even more acute. On the one hand, the consumer can become more demanding while on the other, the employee has to control his or her own culturally legitimised emotions.

Research into a call centre for a British airline concluded: `Service sector employers are increasingly demanding that their employees deep act, work on and change their feelings to match the display required by the labour process. Employees are left to manage the dilemmas of authenticity, integrity and their sense of their own natural, spontaneous personality which all spill into their personal lives.' Perhaps this reinforces the low self-esteem often associated with women and the low-wage service economy; perhaps it also contributes to the high turnover of call-centre staff — often 25 per cent or more a year. Harsh labour conditions are not peculiar to call centres alone. Such and worse practices prevail in multinational supermarkets... "

The New York Times Book Review carried a well-researched article by Simon Head, Inside the Leviathan, exhaustively dealing with the harsh labour practices in Wal-Mart.

Their managers assume that whenever they see an employee not working, she must be shirking her duties, or `stealing time' from the corporation — `time theft'— a punishable offence! They can use a variety of formidable penalties and punishments to discipline their workforce. There are written reprimands in the form of `pink slips' spoken reprimands in the form of `coachings'; decision-making days when an employee must explain why he or she should not be fired, and finally, summary dismissal. Women who often enquire about promotion are often told they must conform to rules or qualifications that are invented on the spur of the moment and have never been required of male employees.

Claude Renati, a marketing specialist at a Roseville, California, Wal-Mart, was told by her boss that she could not join a management training course, unless she could first prove to him that she could lift 50-pound bags of dog food. Every store manager at is issued a `Manager's Tool-box to Remaining Union Free,' which warns managers to be on the look-out for signs of union activity, such as `frequent meetings at associates' homes' or `associates who are never seen together talking or associating with each other.'

Some time back, there was an interesting debate for and against an article in The Times Literary Supplement on the phenomenon of call centre employees. Susan Sontag in her article "The World as India" celebrated the success of Indians in harvesting their legendary English-speaking skills in the global economy through call centres and other services. This provoked differing views. Harish Trivedi, Department of English, University of Delhi wrote back (Cyber Collies, Hindi and English): He viewed them "brutally exploitative and their employees as cyber-coolies of our global age, working not on sugar plantations but on flickering screens and lashed into submissions through vigilant and punitive monitoring, each slip in accent or lapse in pretence meaning a cut in wages." His call: "Should we let English to rule over us so that we may remain at the beck and call of an Anglophone West eager to pick up the crumbs of cheap outsourcing?"

Former corporate CEO and noted English writer, Gurucharan Das joined the issue by referring to his being associated with three call centres. He saw these, not as exploitative centres as does Harish Trivedi, but as those in which young boys and girls see an exciting chance to work with the world's top brands and acquire new skills to make a career in global economy. It is difficult to imagine what a useful career our young girls and boys could make in these routine and monotonous call-centre jobs.

On-going debate

The international meet in Mumbai of call centre workers should throw up the issues call centre workers world over face. It will be fair if society — especially the media, social scientists and decision-makers — considers them in the context of the wider economic reforms in our country and what should be the government's stand on labour reforms and welfare measures consistent with the need for increased productivity.

(The author is a former Executive Director of LIC.)

Hi Joanne D,

Would surely your answer your question..pls give me some time to revert on this..

Cheers,

Rajat

From India, Pune
Joanne D
Hey... thank you soo much.. the article is realllly great...!!!!! Would appreciate any more information anyone could give me - especially on overcoming emotional labour!!! Regards, Joanne D.
From India, Mumbai
Rajat Joshi
99

Joanne D.
Emotional labour as explained in the above article pertains to emotional empathy on the part of call centre employees..
• Recruitments of right profiles who have the flair of customer service with loads of balanced emotion..perhaps the assessment centres can help in this subject.
• Top Management to view the employees with a different approach to understand their emotional make up.
• A training program on understanding themselves & ways to deal their own problems like hitting a punching bag during breaks..
• Sensitivity programs for supervisors handling the team.
You can refer may article on Innovative retention strategies for Indian BPOs for some more ideas……Here is the link: <link no longer exists - removed>
Cheers,
Rajat

From India, Pune
Joanne D
hey,
thank you sooo much!!!
i went through the article you suggested and it was awesome!!
finding strategies to overcome emotional labour was the only problem i had - and you've helped me sort it out!!
Thanks a million,
Joanne D

From India, Mumbai
ypsnayak
hey,
emotional labour are over come through use of techniqes of emotional stress management....................
further you may go through many papers on the relation ship of emotional labour and stress, personality and health out comes......................
there are many studies on employees of hospitality, shoping complex, nurses in abroad, but in india this topic is basically studied for bpo employees................
for any quiry about emotional labour its types and effects............
contact me in personal at my e-mail:

From India, Varanasi

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