Amitmhrm
Hr Practices
Rajat Joshi
Hr Consulting ,trainer -creative Thinking
Rajesh Balasubramanian
Head - Operations & Delivery
Manu
Web Administrator
Scorpio130
Hr Professional
Aparnasuresh
Training Mgr
POOJA JAIN
Hr Professional
Chapki_dp
Student
Mohan
Six Sigma,iso9001
Srinibas
Manager-hr
A.S.Sharma
Service
Meera_damji
Ae - Advertising
Mike
Consultant
Bhawana_24
Hr Head
Farshid
Service
Dwijaoza
Student Of Mba
Hayjon
Trainer
Deepti.HR
Hr And Recruitment Consultant

Retention of Key employees is critical to the long term health and success of any organization. It is a known fact that retaining your best employees ensures customer satisfaction, increased product sales, satisfied colleagues and reporting staff, effective succession planning and deeply imbedded organizational knowledge and learning.

Employee retention matters as organizational issues such as training time and investment; lost knowledge; insecure employees and a costly candidate search are involved. Hence failing to retain a key employee is a costly proposition for an organisation. Various estimates suggest that losing a middle manager in most organizations costs up to five times of his salary.

The BPOs in India face an enormous challenge in reducing attrition rate and this being a nascent industry needs to draw parallels, examples from other industry practices as well as develop innovative Employee Relation Initiatives as highlighted below. This has been classified into three groups

1. The Corporate level

2. Managerial/supervisory level

3. Employee Recognition Initiatives

Here this article attempts to highlight the strategies for the corporate level.

Corporate Level Retention strategies:-

Relevance of Retention Strategies in the Indian BPO Industry vis-à-vis other industries is very critical to its existence for the following reasons -

· To bring stability in business and increase customer service process.

· Nasscom has estimated that the Indian ITES industry will gross over $5.7 billion by 2005 (based on a conservative year-on-year growth of 65 percent by Nasscom).

· Staff/employee satisfaction translates directly into money quite quickly in the BPO industry compared to other industries.

· To reduce the pressure on the recruiting process.

· Recent acquisition deals both domestic & overseas by BPOs makes it even more critical to stabilize their back end operations to service new customers.

Before we proceed its important to understand the underlying reasons for high attrition rates, which are pretty steep and are around 40-50%. Currently it is about 35% in non-voice and 45% in voice call centers. About 80% of them look for better careers within the same industry. Agents want to become team leaders. Team leaders want to become supervisors. Supervisors want the job of the CEO. Based on my discussions with the experts in the BPO industry, literature and data available, the following trends are seen as below.

There are varied reasons for the same and the major reasons for attrition rate are(based on author’s sample study):-

· Money - 10%

· Night shifts - 35%

· Monotonous/boring job – 30%

· Others - 25%



As seen above from the above data, HR Strategist at the Corporate Level of the BPO Industry indeed have a huge challenge before them and their approach has to be proactive and they have to develop Innovative Employee Relation Initiatives as mentioned hereon.

· A satisfied employee knows clearly what is expected from him every day at work. Changing expectations keeps people on the edge and creates unhealthy stress. This creates insecurity and makes the employee feel unsuccessful. An employees deliverables at work must be communicated to him clearly and thoroughly.

· The quality of the supervision an employee receives is critical to employee retention. Frequent employee complaints center on these areas.

--lack of clarity about expectations,

--lack of clarity about benefits pertaining to performance based incentives.

--lack of feedback about performance,

--failure to provide a framework within which the employee perceives he can succeed.

· The ability of the employee to speak his or her mind freely within the organization is another key factor. Have meetings or dinner once a month, to share the company’s vision, the industry’s growth and where they see themselves in this scheme of things.

· Using psychometric tests to get people who can work at night and handle the monotony.

· Talent and skill utilization is another environmental factor your key employees seek in your workplace. You just need to know their skills, talent and experience, and take the time to tap into it

· The perception of fairness and equitable treatment is important.

· When an employee is failing at work, Refer to W. Edward Deming’s question, “What is about the work system that is causing the person to fail?” Most frequently, if the employee knows what they are supposed to do, then the answer is time, tools, training, temperament or talent. The easiest to solve, and the ones most affecting employee retention, are tools, time and training. The employee must have the tools, time and training necessary to do their job well – or they will move to an employer who provides them.

· Another important factor is focus on the process than on the person especially when the employee is not failing at work.

· Implement Competency Models which should be well integrated with HR processes like Selection & Recruitments, Training, Performance appraisal and potential Appraisal.

· A common complaint or lament during an exit interview is that the employee never felt senior managers knew he/she existed. In my experience I knew the MD of a company who knew the first names of all staff including workers to that extent he used to enquire about the well being of the family members if it was casually mentioned that wife or children aren’t keeping well. Senior managers refer to the president of a small company or a department or division head in a larger company. They have to take time to meet with new employees to learn about their talents, abilities and skills. Meet with each employee periodically. They will have more useful information and keep their fingers on the pulse of organization. It's a critical tool to help employees feel welcomed, acknowledged and loyal.

· The Senior Managers to be involved in the recruitment process if the Recruitment team has identified potential and cultural fit candidates.

· Involve the advisors or team leaders in the interviewing panels.

· In Company presentations to potential candidates, encourage the employees to share their experiences.

· Your staff members must feel rewarded, recognized and appreciated. Frequently saying thank you goes a long way. Monetary rewards, bonuses and gifts make the thank you even more appreciated. Understandable raises, tied to accomplishments and achievements help to retain staff.

· Select the right people in the first place through behavior-based testing and competency screening.

· Draw lessons from the Indian Army, for their command and control leadership where the troops are highly skilled, motivated and morale is high. The comparisons is drawn as both(BPO & army) have large numbers of employees and army’s style of leadership may not relevant to BPOs but it must be understood & gathered that military organizations are team oriented with continuous training. Troops expands their skills and experience capabilities they never dreamed possible, produces a highly motivated and efficient organization. Learning opportunity and responsibility is the key.

· Offer an attractive, competitive, benefits package.

· Provide opportunities for people to share their knowledge via training sessions, presentations, mentoring others and team assignments.



· Demonstrate respect for employees at all times. Treat the employees well & provide dignity of job; follow the maxim of Mr. Marriott that “Ladies & Gentlemen serve the Ladies & Gentlemen”.

· If a key employee resigns, it should be taken up on a priority basis and kept confidential as far as possible and the senior management should meet the employee to discuss his reasons for leaving and evaluate if his issues bear merit and whether they can be resolved

· Exit Interviews: Outsource this process to external consultants to get a realistic and unbiased feedback. This can be a great source of information regarding the shortcomings in a management system.

· People want to enjoy their work. Make work fun. Engage, employ the special talents of each individual.

· BPOs should endeavour to implement work-life balance initiatives to reinforce the retention strategies. Innovative and practical employee policies pertaining to flexible working schemes, granting compassionate and urgency leave, providing healthcare for self, family and dependants, etc. Work-life balance policies would have a positive impact on:

Attracting high calibre recruits

Retaining skilled employees

Reduce recruitment costs

Improve employee morale

Maintain a competitive edge

· Listen to employees’ ideas; never ridicule them.

· Offer performance feedback and praise good efforts and results.

· Implement organizational culture measurement tools like Adversity Quotient (AQ).

· Recognize and celebrate their success.

· Staff adequately so overtime is minimized for those who don't want it and people don't wear themselves out.

· Get them involved in social causes and fund drives like Tsunami Disaster Relief. Provide a meaning or a cause to their lives.

· Nurture and celebrate organization traditions like Diwali, Holi ,Christmas etc.

· Communicate goals, roles and responsibilities so that people know what is expected of them and feel a part of the crowd.

· According to research by the Gallup organization, encourage employees to have good, even best, friends, at work.

· Encourage humour & laughter in workplace to deal with stress which will ensure that the employees are happy which gets reflected in their services especially critical in voice based transaction.

· Feeling valued by their manager in the workplace is a key to high employee motivation and morale.

· Reach out to the families of the potential candidates with sustained and focused messages in the media about the excellent prospects in the BPO Industry. There is an example of this instances- Late Rai Bahadur Mohan Singh Oberoi, Chairman of the Oberoi Group in efforts to makes sure that many women joined his company went to educational institutions and elicited women’s parents to come to the hotel. He told them “ I will walk you in and show you what your daughters will do with us, please help us to train them”.

· Excellent Career Growth prospects. -

Encourage & groom employees to take up higher positions/openings. If not fulfilled then they will look outside the organization.

Look for talents within the organization and encourage them. For instance, if a person has the potential to be a trainer, groom & develop the employee.

· Night shifts

1. Have people from other walks of life to talk about their experiences. Other professions like Army, Medicine, and shop floor workers also have to work in night shifts.

2. Have doctors to advise & guide them about their biological clocks and ways & means to deal with them.

3. Dietary advice:- Do’s and don’ts.

4. Create the passion that they are doing a yeomen service to the nation by bringing the much-required Foreign Exchange.

5. They are helping people (clients) to make their life easier.

6. Special lights in the office/workplace to ensure their bodies get sufficient vitamin D.

7. One distinct disadvantage of night shifts is the sense of disorientation with friends and family members. Concentrate on this problem and develop innovative solutions and ways to deal with it.

· Focused Training & Development Programs-

For Associates & Team Leaders

· A session on Transactional Analysis during the induction period so that both are made aware of the causes for Communication breakdowns & conflicts which affect their mental behavior and stress which needs to be tackled at the earliest in the right manner.

· Those who are working on services verticals – like Banking & Financial services to be imparted training/knowledge of Vedic Maths, which would help them, calculate the figures quickly without using calculators.

· Creativity & Innovation- Its all about Attitude! A job can be as monotonous or exciting as you think/believe it to be, as it is all a state of mind. Look for excitement in the job process as it is not just answering the queries or solving the problems of customers but learning more about the customer through his voice accent or visualizing his environment/culture.

· Encourage the best performers to share their experiences with others and mentor others.

The emphasis is to create the desire to learn, enjoy and be passionate about the work they do.

· Meditation Room or deep breath exercises for Associates & Team Leaders – the emphasis is that they should never be in the stress mode or upset while attending calls of a customer.

· Hire outstation candidates (from small towns like Amravati, Latur,Nashik etc) and provide them with shared accommodation.

Conclusion

It is HR's job, though not HR's job alone, to champion and shepherd effective human resource management practices at both the strategic and day-to-day levels. That is, to be effective, human resource management practices must be grounded in two ways. First, they must reflect company wide commitments as to how it will manage and relate to its employees. Secondly, HR must implement these commitments so that the ideals of the enterprise and deeds of its agents are congruent.

HR to play a key role in the development and execution of the Business Strategy of an Organisation. It should evolve from a transactional support role to partnering in the organization’s business strategy.

( The next article would highlight the retention strategies in Managerial level & Employee Recognition Initiatives.)

Rajat Joshi



Personal Profile

PGDM from SCMHRD in 1995, have eleven years of corporate experience and wrote this article on a short sabbatical before joining back the Industry. Besides reading extensively and consulting, conduct Workshops on Business Creativity & Innovation in B-Schools.
20th January 2005 From India, Pune
Hi Rajat,
that was a very explicit article on retention. When can we expect the next in the series?
Also , I am eagerly looking at a course or something that can help me in Compensation and Benefits , a field that I want to specialise in. Any suggestions?
Regards
POOJA
27th January 2005 From India, Delhi
Hi Pooja,
Thanks ...
Next series is on the pipeline and giving finishing touches...
Regarding C&B, please specify what do you want to learn...structure you may get to know bits of others on this and most imp is taxation part which you have to read the Tax Manual ...if you pick it up ..wud add value to your skills...infact the Tax manual wud contain a lot of info on structure and permissible limits and various components...
Cheerio
Rajat
27th January 2005 From India, Pune
Hi Rajat
I was actually wondering if there is a site or some softawre which helps in designing good salary packages and literature on guidelines on various perks and benefits that can be given to employees and of course as you rightly said , the taxation part which is of utmost concern.
can you suggest something for me?
I will definitely go through the tax manual in the meantime.
Looking forward to your next article.
Cheers!
pooja
28th January 2005 From India, Delhi
Hi Pooja,
Regarding the software or website - am not really aware but i know is that the companies develop their own packages based on the templates decided by the company. Would find out the details and revert to you.
Basic info would be available in Tax Manual...Its a Bible....give me sometime would make the ready reckoner for you only once you have read the Bible...
Have a great weekend!!...
Cheerio
Rajat
29th January 2005 From India, Pune
Hi Rajat,
Thats a cool article.. Havin done a small stint there as well I agree with your ideas and ways to reduce the attrition rate in the BPO industry.
What about your views on the Advertising Industry? (close to your heart?!)
Any major problem you think we're facing there which needs to be tackled?
See you soon..
Regards,
Mee :)
1st February 2005
Hi Meera,
Thanks and appreciate your comments and feedback!!
What about your views on the Advertising Industry? (close to your heart?!) ...am working on that too as well....
Busy conducting Business Creativity Workshops here in Pune and coming to Mumbai tmrw...
Lets catch up...
Cya
Rajat
4th February 2005 From India, Pune
Hello Mr Joshi, This was indeed a very nice article on BPO Industry. Please let me know if you are looking for a change in BPO Industry? Look forward to the next series. Regards, James
8th February 2005
Hi,
This is a good article to read at. But the retention strategies can not be generalised across industries and functions.
The retention normally becomes difficult for technical persons during boom period. During upswing of business cycle when all are doing well , then also most of the retention stratigeis fail as people have lots of option to choose from.
It differs from Industry to Industry and from function to function. Most importantly the location also plays its role.
So the strategies should be customized depending upon the location , function, industry and keeping the business environment in view.
with regards
srinibas (at) rediffmail (dot) com

10th February 2005
Hi Srinibas,

Thanks for the feedback!!

Q. This is a good article to read at. But the retention strategies can not be generalised across industries and functions.

A. I agree but the way industry is changing & as and when the organization grows , faces fresh challenges in the competitive environment then the retention strategies becomes essential. For instance, today some of the Manufacturing firms are thinking or giving ESOPs which is unheard of but it is very common in IT Industry. The point is somewhere along the line we HR Professionals have to innovate & create structure/systems to retain Talent.

Q. The retention normally becomes difficult for technical persons during boom period. During upswing of business cycle when all are doing well , then also most of the retention stratigeis fail as people have lots [b]of option to choose from.

A. Well , this point is debatable, infact am drafting the second series addressing this issue. The point to be understood is that today's world is employment at will & it is upto the organization how well they are able to release the deepest levels of creativity & highest level of productivity of their staff. Here i would like to quote

THOMAS J WATSON Jr., CEO of IBM

“I believe that the real difference between success and failure in a company can be often traced to the question – how well the organization brings out the great energies and talents of its people.

Besides money, its the culture & values and above all, a sense of belonging.

Q.It differs from Industry to Industry and from function to function. Most importantly the location also plays its role.

A. Differs today but tommorrow it may not and location to some extent also the plays the role- agree.

Q So the strategies should be customized depending upon the location , function, industry and keeping the business environment in view.

A. Well, that's we HR Professionals are paid to do!!

Cheerio

Rajat Joshi
13th February 2005 From India, Pune
Hi Mike
Thanks for giving me an idea!!..
Innovation & Creativity- i rather teach the students as it is really relevant in today's time & unfortunately the educational institutes haven't realized the importance yet!!...all we learn in the Management is out of touch with ground realities....am doing my bit to spread the same in schools & colleges...
Maybe after twenty years of experience - shall give a try to write a book.
Cheerio
Rajat
14th February 2005 From India, Pune
Dear Rajat,
Would you say that perhaps ground realities are moving so fast that classroom learning has to be transformed as well? The entire phenomenon of the Internet and consequently global sourcing is literally happening all around us. Perhaps that is our new classroom, and the traditional classroom is a place to gather and reflect.
You certainly teach a great deal - in a focused, enthusiastic and useful manner.
This is the century of India and China. How exhilarating.
Mike
14th February 2005
Dear Mike,
Q. Would you say that perhaps ground realities are moving so fast that classroom learning has to be transformed as well? The entire phenomenon of the Internet and consequently global sourcing is literally happening all around us. Perhaps that is our new classroom, and the traditional classroom is a place to gather and reflect.
A. Yes, you are absolutely right..the changing times requires us to change our mindset..our approach to Business and finding ways to keep the Customers happy both internal as well as external ones!.
With respect to education, am posting an article on Rethinking MBA Educational system.
Cheerio
Rajat
15th February 2005 From India, Pune
Rajat, You have given the example of Indian Army where BPOs have to learn the practices, can you explain & tell us what specifics can we learn & imbibe from Indian Army?. Thanks James
20th February 2005
Hi Rajat,
Regarding exit interviews as you mentioned that it is preferable to outsource it to companies which specialize in this, please tell us the names & addressess of such companies which conduct exit interviews for corporates.
Regards,
Ricky
24th February 2005
Hi James,

Sorry for late response as i was travelling...



You want to know as how one can draw parallels from Indian Army?

Well, i come from the army background as i can relate some examples and mind you that i don't have any experience in BPO Industry as yet so you can correct me if i am wrong - am sharing some perspectives!..

Training :- Army has excellent facilities for training for development that the people know what courses they would be attending for reaching the next levels; here they are encouraged to find out what they are good at and excel in that.

For instance : Take the example of Maj Rathore who won the Olympics Silver Medal for India in shooting- would he ever had achieved the same if he was a civilian? or dreamt of glory or success he has achievd?

The point am driving home is that our training programes should be focused to get the people to do their best in the jobs they are good at! identifying their talents even at the cost if they have to move on...

Chain of command: Here the people know that they have to earn the respect of the people whom they have to command but in BPO it is not so and not at all well managed: Associates want to become Team Leaders in less than a year's time!!!...focus on the development especailly on Coaching & have a transparent metrics & goals if one wants to rise up...

have a strong counselling centre for understanding their angst & anger..channelise them well...afterall they are young and it is not fair to label that they have an attitude problem or expose them to many metrics when they are just 15 days in the job!!

Come on give a break!..aren't you scaring them..prepare them well for the job..

Care: This is very very essential which is prevalent in the army...here a guy knows that if he dies his family would be taken care off!..but do we display the same in private sector...of course i know it is not possible in toto but one can take some ideas especially wrt to a sense of belonging...

That's for now...

Cheerio

Rajat
28th February 2005 From India, Pune
Hi Rajat, That’s an interesting article on retention.Looking forward for the next series.I am looking for some help in designing personality inventory.Any suggestions?. Regards, Durga
1st March 2005 From India, Coimbatore
Rajat,
You might be interested in Spectrumleadershippartners.com
If done with intelligence rather than rgidity, assessment at various levels of seniority can give a company a pretty good sense of both incipient problems, as well as areas of opportunity. Call this a Development Center and you get much more from the experience.
Again, assessment that is mechanical and unimaginative will give you data. Assessment done to enhance cultural and business fit can be a gold mine of good will and good management.
I've been involved in such work for five years.
Mike
2nd March 2005
Hi Mike, Thanks for informing us about the site ... Hope to get your help in understanding these assessments in detail from your much valued experience. Cheerio Rajat
5th March 2005 From India, Pune
Thank you Mr Joshi for the ideas!..
I am sharing this info with my seniors.
Somebody told me that you conduct a training on lateral thinking abilities and is it possible for you to teach us the same.
Warm regards,
James
9th March 2005
Mr Joshi: This is a brilliant article and you have shared a very good perspective on innovative HR practices. May i be permitted to share this link with my associates? Regards, Susan
19th March 2005
Hi Susan,
Susan, You have made my day!! thanks for nice compliments...please do share the same with your associates and friends as i believe that knowledge shared is knowledge gained - which is the credo of citehr.com..
Incase you want clarifications - please do ask.
Thanks..
Cheerio
Rajat
24th March 2005 From India, Pune
Hi Rajat,
Regarding exit interviews as you mentioned that it is preferable to outsource it to companies which specialize in this, please tell us the names & addressess of such companies which conduct exit interviews for corporates in Mumbai.
Looking forward to your answer.
Regards,
Ricky
28th March 2005
Dear Ricky
We are a HR consulting company based out of Bangalore and we can provide you the services you are requesting for
You can mail me back to
You can visit the URL www.value-lanes.com
Regards
Rajesh B
098458 41000

29th March 2005 From India, Bangalore
Hi Rajat,

Good Article, very Informative.

Can I say something? ;)

:arrow: Reasons of Quiting these Jobs

· Money - 10% (So very little money factor, BPO's are paying very good salary)

· Night shifts - 35% (Main Reason)

· Monotonous/boring job – 30% (Could be who stays for a long time and who don't get promoted)

· Others - 25%

I have been watching these call center people very closely (I am not a big shot) just for time pass.

What I feel

THE MAIN REASON FOR LEAVING THESE JOBS :

IMBALACE BETWEEN THE PROFESSIONAL LIFE AND SOCIAL LIFE / PERSONAL LIFE.

WHY ? Any HR Manager from Indian BPO can debate on this, I am very confident about this point

Agents work during nights > In Nights the productivity becomes down (decrease upto 50% in some cases) > but these agents work for 12 - 14 Hrs> Maily Young People, Freshers who are having high energy do it well for some time > No time for Family or Friends > You can find these people sleeping everytime in home > THUS IMBALANCE BETWEEN PERSONAL / SOCIAL AND PROFESSIONAL LIFE ARISE > Their Family Members, Friends and Society plays some the role in motivating these people to leave these jobs. > Some People leave becuase of the Bad Health arise due to Night Shift imbalace or improper diets.

:arrow: THE PEOPLE WHO GET PROMOTED ARE HAPPY TILL NOW IN THIS SENARIO (may Be they are Happy)

:arrow: Then what happens.

Here you can Find 2 Types of People ( People who are not Happy)

1) One Who Immidiately Quit and then search for Job.

2) Career Conscious People :

These people get frustrated > They start looking for the better options with better position in some other BPO> Some who don't get better Option start looking for some Day Shifts in BPO > Others who don't even get good shifts start for looking for Day Jobs other than BPO.

Who Lose in This condition.

Agents Lose only their jobs

but big loosers are BPO Companies :

:arrow: They Lost Their Trained HR to some other company

:arrow: They lost the money which they spend in the trainings

:arrow: They lost their image in the minds of Agents those left the company

How to solve this

:arrow: ONLY SOLUTION :arrow:

IS TO REDUCE THE TIME OF DOING JOB (Make it to maxium 8 Hrs or Max 9 Hrs)

:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

YOU WILL LAUGH AT ME

One may reduce the pay as one is reducing the total timings.

If one do it then you will get:

:arrow: Satisfied HR who are having Balace in their professional and Personal Life

:arrow: Customer Satisfaction, as your agents will deliver in what mood they are, so if they are happy they will behave properly with customer

:arrow: Saves your Money, You can Invest this Money in new recruitment ( In case shortage arise in HR becuase of the reduce in time of Shifts, you can hire new ones.)

In Indian Senario, You see Agents who are out of their home towns, who have left their homes, This can give some spiritual relief to them.

IN THIS WHOLE SITUATION YOU WILL FIND ONE INTERESTING TYPE OF PEOPLE.

:arrow: Who DAM CARE about the Working Hours, For them MONEY IS EVERYTHING and they do work for earning lot of money either by working upto 14- 18 Hrs :shock: :shock: OR By Making Lot of money from Incentives.

But Beware! : Person Who do work for only Making Money is Good for you as long as he is working with you for long Hrs. He will find More Better Option and He will Kick You!

Man IS SOCIAL ANIMAL, I read somewhere... where ... I Books! ;)

Regards,

Manu Sharma

MHRM (Final Year)


12th May 2005 From India, New Delhi
Hi Manu,
Thanks for lovely thoughts & comments..sorry couldn't reply to it earlier..
Thanks..
Partly true…but debatable ..imbalance yes..that’s why the company are creating the systems like home away from home…esp with innovative employee relations practices like inviting the parents & family to workplace once a while…recruiting their buddies/friends..giving time off for social occasions like marriage etc..
Bad health..i wont really agree to this..besides shifts in many companies keep changing by following 24 X 7 model..
It’s the case everywhere..not just in BPOs..agreed the in BPOs it is substantial because of high numbers..while in other industries the people may leave for reasons as above as well..
It's true for all companies!!...
Reduce the working hrs..the standard is 8 hrs.. but more frequent & flexible breaks..no reduction in pay..
Excellent thoughts…thanks..
Cheerio
Rajat
9th August 2005 From India, Pune
Hi Prabhjot,
Am in the midst of the same…fine tuning with incorporating them with relevant innovative practices from the industry both national & international…
Once done shall post the same here…
Cheerio
Rajat
9th August 2005 From India, Pune
BPO blues: Attrition goes down as hiring slows

Employees in some IT-enabled services companies have cited instances of their passports being kept by their employers during training stints abroad.

A growing tribe is complaining of loss of sleep and appetite due to long hours and strenuous work conditions.

A 2004 report published by VV Giri National Labour Institute, which surveyed 277 employees in six call centres in Noida, likened work conditions to "19th century prisons".

Taking extra time for lunch and reaching pick-up points late were recorded as "defects" in employee dossiers, the report said.

Several Indian ITES companies face the charge of making young people work under sub-optimal conditions. Not only can this stem the flow of talent into the sector, it can also make several overseas companies ask for a closer scrutiny of work conditions in BPO outfits dotting the landscape of the country.

In fact, several BPO companies told Business Standard that their customers, especially in the West, have started demanding more information on human resource policies. "Foreign clients prescribe the kind of training, including course contents, that needs to be given to employees," says Ranjit Narsimhan, CEO, HCL BPO Services.

Information on HR practices is included in service level agreements BPO firms sign with their clients. In these agreements, explicit mention is made of working hours, night shifts and training, which can last for three weeks to seven months.

Foreign clients have started laying emphasis on regular employee-satisfaction surveys. Industry sources admit that these surveys are being studied more seriously than ever by customers.

This, to be sure, is not the first time that an Indian industry has been blamed for making people work under inhuman conditions. In the past, the textiles industry faced a similar charge.

As a result, all overseas companies now insist on a proper audit of the HR practices of their Indian suppliers.

On their part, ITES companies claim that they have often been complimented by their customers for creating a work environment better than what their counterparts in the US and the UK have.

To support their claims, they also point out that attrition levels have come down to around 45 per cent from over 65 per cent a year ago. Critics say, the attrition rate has come down due to a slowdown in hiring and not because of improved work conditions.

"Most employees were fully aware of the unique demands of BPO jobs they were walking into, such as peculiar working hours, the need for assuming pseudo identities and learning to speak with foreign accents. But they are not quite prepared for burnouts. Neither are they able to balance work and life," says an executive with an ITES company.

Lower attrition rates have also meant a decrease in pay hikes, from around 50 per cent earlier to about 30 per cent now.

Fully aware of the magnitude of the problem, ITES companies have started paying more attention to HR issues than ever before. Companies like GEnpact, HCL BPO Services Ltd, EXL and Xansa have 150-200 HR executives each.

Practices like promoting employees to middle management positions have become the norm. 'Last year, 69 per cent of the leadership of EXL came through promotions,' says Deepak Dhawan, vice-president, HR. EXL has over 5,000 employees.

To tide over the problem of stress due to continuous nigh shifts, companies like GEnpact have started offering employees the option of working from home or working on night shifts by rotation. During night shifts, the working hours can also be reduced to four.

GEnpact and others like EXL and HCL BPO have also started reimbursing either the entire or part of the fees paid by employees for distance-learning programmes.

'We do not want employees to treat this as a stop-gap arrangement but as a long-term opportunity,' says GEnpact chief executive officer Pramod Bhasin.

Source : Rediff.com



Regards

Ricky
6th November 2005
Hi ruchita_mhrm,
sorry for late response..am glad you found it useful ..should you have any queries..would be glad to answer it..
Hi Ricky,
Thanks for sharing the article..well this quite cofirms by and large my anticipated apprehensions..but am sure the Industry would mature in due of course of time..otherwise we face the risk of competition from China & Philiphines..
Regards,
Rajat
9th December 2005 From India, Pune
Hi Rajat,
Waz looking for the information on Retention strategies for Indian BPOs in Google.It led me to this link and that's how i discovered this fabulous HR site.It's truly a informative one.
This article has provided some ideas and information relevant to me and shall work on them.
Would you please assist me in developing the retention strategies ?. and of course when do we see the second part ?
Have just joined the BPO in Pune as the Head HR with a special focus on Retention.
Would appreciate your inputs.
Cheers!!
Bhawana
11th May 2006 From India, Mumbai
Hello Mr Joshi,
Please assist me in addressing this vexed issue of improving retention of geographically dispersed employees ?..
I know you are tied up but would appreciate your views/ideas on this subject please.
Regards,
Bhawana
27th May 2006 From India, Mumbai
Hi Bhawana,

Am extremely sorry for delayed response on account of pressure on work front..

Retaining good employees is always a challenge in today;s competitive environment but keeping employees who are geographically dispersed adds even more complexity..

There are three ways to handle this vexed issue:-

1. Make the supervisors responsible for the achieving the retention goals esp to the leaders. Am sure you have heard that people don't leave the company but the bosses..so set the retention goals for the leaders and the track the same by way of rewarding or consequences..

2. Provide the leaders retention training & coaching to achieve their goals.

has anyone analysed as what do people want from their bosses..?..TRUST..have the ability to to share credit and not blame..

3. Ensure that supervisors have the retention discussions with the far flung employees..by asking the following

*as what they expect from them..

* what are the grey areas/issues that needs to be resolved..

* By asking question..what would make you leave this organization?..

Hope this provides some pointers to start with.

To provide you some insight please refer to the article on Call Centre Attrition..

Cheers,

Have a great day..

Rajat Joshi

Now You See Them. Now You Don't. The Facts About Call Center Attrition

A Call Center Q&A with Richard Finnegan, TalentKeepers

Is your agents’ disappearing act dragging down the performance of your call center? Getting to the root cause of agent attrition is the first step toward resolving one of the call center’s biggest headaches. Richard Finnegan of TalentKeepers talks about what draws people to our industry, what keeps them here, how satisfied they are and why they may leave your center.

Call Center Magazine: Estimates for industry turnover are all over the map. What do you think is a realistic expectation of turnover in a good, reasonably well-run call center?

Richard Finnegan: Realistic expectation” is hard to reduce to a number because conditions vary so much from center to center. For example, urban locations tend to have higher turnover, as do outsourced centers. But I’m sure we would all agree that annual attrition of 20% to 30% would be very desirable, although some centers would see that as a dream. More important than targeting a number is to set an ongoing attrition reduction goal.

CC: Do incentives and morale-boosting programs have any significant impact on turnover, or do they just reward those who are most likely to stay anyway?

RF: Yes, incentives and morale-boosting programs do impact turnover, but they are only a part of the solution. Our TalentKeepers research makes clear that the main reason agents stay or leave is their relationships with their immediate supervisors. So good supervision with good programs will cause agents to stay with your centers longer, whereas good programs with ineffective supervision is at best a very short-term retention fix. Or said another way, poor supervision will trump good programs every time.

CC: Given the immense cost of hiring, training and then incenting agents, what tools are available to automate or improve the pre-hire assessment process to get the right person in the seat in the first place?

RF: After ineffective supervision, we find many agents quit because they didn’t understand the nature of the job. For some applicants, job conditions such as sitting for long periods of time, speaking through a headset, and in some instances selling services all sound easier to do in an interview than post-hire, day after day. We find that the best hiring practices include putting applicants on the floor with an agent to monitor calls and learn the real nuances of the job.

CC: Where should a new manager concentrate his or her own training – on learning about technology, or on learning about people management?

RF: People management for sure, particularly retention leadership skills. Most managers come up through the call center ranks and have strong job-relevant technology backgrounds, whereas we find they have little people management training. Frontline supervisors have the least, as they are usually promoted from agent positions. These frontline supervisors are the primary drivers of agents’ stay/leave decisions, and they can learn the right skills for retention. For example, we find the number one talent that agents want in their supervisors is to be trustworthy. Supervisors can learn to meet their commitments, avoid blaming, share credit, admit mistakes and apologize – all of the behaviors that build trust between and leader and team. But most must be trained on how to build these talents.

CC: What are the real career-path options for agents and supervisors? What percentage of agents go on to become supervisors, and ultimately, how many of those go on to management positions? Is there a sense of what skills an agent should have to progress, rather than just to excel as an agent?

RF: All of these questions relate in this way. While some agents will be promoted to higher-level jobs, we would probably all agree that there are too few career path options for agents overall. As a result, supervisors on all levels must develop retention talents so they can keep those agents whom they don’t plan to promote for a longer period of time in their current agent jobs.

So those agents who are promoted to supervisory positions must have retention talents so they can retain their subordinate agents longer. Our research indicates that supervisors who develop ten specific retention talents keep their agents longer, talents such as building trust, increasing flexibility, and monitoring their teams for clues they might be leaving and taking appropriate action.

CC: If you had to identify three main “best practices,” what would they be?

RF Centers that approach attrition best do these three things well:

1. Set retention goals at the supervisor level and establish retention as a very important key performance indicator (KPI). Centers that look at attrition on the center-level only are “old school,” as they fail to realize that attrition usually varies greatly from one supervisor to another and these patterns remain consistent until action is taken to improve supervisors’ retention talents.

2. Measure retention talents with inputs from the agents. For example, agents stay longer for supervisors who demonstrate trust, are reasonably flexible with policies and the ways work get done, and who build a day-to-day climate where agents want to come to work. Most operations managers don’t know how their supervisors conduct themselves with their agents, and most supervisors don’t know how their agents perceive them. Everyone wins if centers survey their agents on their supervisors’ retention talents, and supervisors then learn their blind spots and can build plans to improve.

3. Increase the amount, frequency and quality of people management of retention leadership skills training in call centers. Based on feedback from agents, identify the retention talents supervisors need most and train them to improve. Present the training as tools to help supervisors achieve their retention KPI and then track their progress. Those who learn and apply new retention skills will see their attrition improve and all of their KPIs will improve as well.
31st May 2006 From India, Pune
Hi Rajat,
That was an excellent article. Looking forward to the next one!!! Also i need help in preparing a nice induction manual, hence would u pls guide me in this process. Am working for an MNC Bank.
Regards,
Farshid.
31st May 2006
Dear Mr Joshi,
Please share some ideas on controlling the attrition rate during the first six months of the CSR. Any tips during the induction period would be appreciated.
Look forward to your response. :D
Regards,
Bhawana
3rd July 2006 From India, Mumbai
Hi Bhawana,

Let me be honest am not from the BPO industry though have written this article to provide the fresh perspectives to control the attrition rate

Before they join the company one must do the following:-

Before joining Activities

* Provide material/information about the company's Business plans & growth plans..to be sent to them prior to their joining date.



* Arrange for work station/cubicles to be in place - it's very awkward for the new joinees when such things are not in place..well for our senior positions we ensure that they get the visiting cards prior to their joining the organization.Among this includes their email-Ids in place as well.

* Take them out to lunch with their new colleagues to get to know others on their first day. Afterall all new employees come with the hope and little bit of apprehensiveness which is natural..one must be sensitive to this issues.

* Plan their first day meticulousy..if possible hand over to them their typical work plan/orientation for the day/week.

* Arrange for one of your members to be their buddy with prior planning.

* Make sure all employees know that the new person is joining the organization on such a date alongwith their brief profile..very often when the new employees join..they wait for the known HR person to welcome them..while none of the operation staff members are generally aware of the details..it provides a high for the new joinees when the operational staff call them by their names especially on their first day..adds to the enthusisasm among all..

Hope this provides some food for thought..

Shall post more on this later..

Cheers,

Rajat
3rd July 2006 From India, Pune
Hi Rajat,
Very informative artricle by you mst say.
here i would like your guidance in the same area. I am an MBA student, doing my summers at one of the :) good construction company. i am working on its retention strategy. the attrition rate here is @35% and i have to design retention strategy for the company. please guide me in this direction. :)
Thank you.
Regards,
Dwija Oza
6th July 2006
Six Truths about Employee Turnover

By F. Leigh Branham

Truth No.1: Turnover Happens

Achieving zero percent turnovers is not realistic, especially in today’s job market.

Truth No. 2: Some Turnover Is Desirable

Zero percent turnovers are not desirable for a couple of reasons. First, if all employees stayed and the organization grew steadily, most employees would be at or near the top of their pay ranges and salary expenses would be extremely high. Secondly, new employees bring new ideas, approaches, abilities, and attitudes and keep the organization from becoming stagnant.

Truth No. 3: Turnover Is Costly

Most managers know that turnover is expensive, but two-thirds of 1,290 managers were unable to quantify the cost of turnover when asked in a recent poll. The cost of hiring and training a new employee can vary greatly—from only a few thousand dollars for hourly employees to between $75,000 and $100,000 for top executives. Estimates of turnover costs may range from 25 percent to almost 200 percent of annual compensation. Costs that are more difficult to estimate include customer service disruption, emotional costs, loss of morale, burnout/absenteeism among remaining employees, and loss of experience, continuity, and “corporate memory.”

Truth No. 4: More Money Is Not the “Silver Bullet”

Talented workers want to feel they are being paid comparably to what other companies pay for similar work in the industry. They also care about being paid equitably with others in similar positions making comparable contributions. When these two conditions exist along with interesting and meaningful work, acceptable working conditions and good management practices, the prospect of making a little more money in an another organization where these softer factors are unknown is usually not enough to pull the employee away.

Truth No. 5: Managers Hold Most of the Keys to Keeping the Right Talent

One recent study showed that 50 percent of the typical employee’s job satisfaction is determined by the quality of his/her relationship with the manager. Many companies are floundering today in their attempts to improve employee retention because they have placed the responsibility for it in the hands of human resources instead of the managers. Many companies have begun to measure managers’ turnover rates and vary the size of their annual bonuses accordingly.

Truth No. 6: Reducing Turnover Starts with Commitment

The organizations that achieve the most dramatic reductions in turnover and maintain those lower levels are usually the ones where the top executive or owner makes it a priority. Even when the top executive is not committed, however, one committed manager can still make a difference.

10 Ways to Retain Generation X’ers

Let them know that you are committed to helping them achieve their goals within the context of the company’s goals. Don’t mention climbing the corporate ladder or paying their dues. Too many X’ers have seen their parents lose their jobs after years of ladder climbing and dues-paying.

Let them know that you will provide as much training as possible to help them develop new skills while they are there. Allow them some input into what training they will receive.

Tell them you will challenge their creativity, and then keep your promise by giving them a challenging assignment or problem to solve.

Provide opportunities for them to work in spirited team situations, but with opportunities for individual achievement and recognition.

Make the work environment fun and informal. Introduce them to others and encourage the development of workplace friendships.

Allow them to experience a daily sense of tangible achievement.

Give them opportunities to reinvent themselves within the organization by learning new skills, moving cross-functionally, redesigning their jobs, reporting to a different mentor, working different hours, or working from a new location.

Open a dialogue with them on their first day about how you want to keep them and how you are willing to work with them to make that happen.

Look for opportunities to engage them in short-term, goal-oriented projects.

When X’ers says they want to leave, give them the option of continuing to contribute as a part-timer, flex-timer, telecommuter, periodic temp or consultant.

Adapted from KEEPING THE PEOPLE WHO KEEP YOU IN BUSINESS: 24 Ways to Hang on to Your Most Valuable Talent by F. Leigh Branham (AMACOM; October 2000).
3rd August 2006 From India, Pune
Dear sir :) ,
Please share with us more tips on retaining the senior management staff.
Also, how do we deal with the situation where most customer service staff who wait for bonus during festival time like Diwali and then quit. :(
Look forward to your valuable suggestions/ideas.
Cheers,
Bhawana
23rd September 2006 From India, Mumbai
Dear Bhawana,

Am extremely sorry for reverting late to your query as am coming to this forum almost after a month.

Senior Management Staff – as you work closely with them , one would come to know if they are feeling out of sync with the organization or fishing for the suitable openings .

As I had emphasized earlier, like in the war conditions, we HR professionals must have a red book on key staff as how to retain and motivate them to stay on with the organization. One must maintain the file on their growth and achievements and also the possible growth options and assignments within the organization. Here one must be aware of the possible poaching by rival companies and therefore one must be attuned to the market movements.

Remember the maxim – that the key relationship in retention is the relationship between the employee and his/her Manager. Get it right and acceptable retention is assured. Get it wrong and everything else would count for nought.

Here one must focus on the following areas :-

Acclimation

Integration

Dialogue and

Expectation Management.

Since these people report to the CEO/MD and meetings needs to organized between whereby the following issues is addressed viz :-

Set the right conditions

Monitor the key relationships and

Enforce the sensible milestones.

Hope this provides some pointers.

Second query - shall revert later with ideas.

Have a great day.

Regards,

Rajat Joshi
19th December 2006 From India, Pune
Dear Mr. Joshi, Thank you so much your valuable comments. I have a query as how one(HR) can manage the employer - employee relationship ?. Thanx a lot !. Cheers, Bhawana
21st December 2006 From India, Mumbai
Hi Bhawana,

Am sharing the HR practices of UPS..am sure it would provide some food for the thought!.

Merry X-Mas

Rajat

UPS' 37 Principles for Managing People

A wide-ranging look at the company's workforce management practices,

including promoting from within and limiting the employment of

relatives.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

----------

The guidelines below spell out UPS' vision for managing its

workforce. They're part of a larger "policy book" given to the

company's management team, which also includes principles for

handling customers and shareholders.

We Build Our Organization Around People

The strength of our company is its people, working together with

a common purpose. Although methods, equipment, and procedures are

important, and we constantly strive to improve them, our most

valuable assets are loyal and capable people.

We seek, through the use of our impartial employment and

promotion practices, to have a diverse workforce. Our organization is

strengthened by capable individuals with diverse backgrounds.

We assign responsibilities and duties to secure the full benefit

of an individual's talents and abilities and to provide each person

with an opportunity to develop further.

All our people, and the jobs they perform, can make important

contributions to our company. We maintain an environment that enables

them to obtain personal satisfaction from their work.

We Place Great Value on Diversity

We value the diversity that exists within our workforce, our

customers, those who provide goods and services to our company, and

the communities in which we do business.

Managers are responsible for creating a workplace of fairness,

dignity, and respect for all employees--an environment of inclusion,

encouraging participation, and the best effort of everyone. The

diversity of our workforce results from a sincere effort to hire and

retain dedicated people from the communities in which we operate.

We strive to enhance our reputation as an organization that

values diverse customers as well as suppliers and vendors. In

addition, we support and work closely with organizations that believe

fair employment practices are integral to a successful business.

We Treat Our People Fairly and Without Favoritism

We believe that impartiality is the foundation of a loyal,

cooperative work group.

We want to treat our people as individuals, without causing the

perception of special treatment.

We have the responsibility to avoid any relationship that may

result in actual or perceived favoritism.

We Maintain an Environment Free of Discrimination and Sexual

Harassment

All UPS employees have the right to work in an environment free

of any type of harassment and discrimination. Sexual harassment and

discrimination will not be tolerated.

Managers and supervisors are responsible for ensuring that they

and their employees understand and comply with UPS guidelines and

maintain a professional work environment. That responsibility

includes reporting incidents to the appropriate management people.

We Insist Upon Integrity in Our People

We understand that integrity is fundamental to how we run our

business and essential to maintain compliance with our policies and

legal requirements. Operating with integrity means we provide an

atmosphere in which our people can perform their jobs in an ethical

manner. We present our company honestly to employees and, in turn,

expect them to be honest with us.

We expect honesty from our people in all their duties, including

their handling of money, merchandise, and property with which they

are entrusted. We insist on integrity in the preparation and approval

of all reports.

We also expect our people to be honest in their assessment of

themselves, such as the time and commitment they give to their job

performance, the fairness they seek in their dealings with others, or

the objectivity they use in evaluating their own contributions.

The great majority of our people are of high moral character.

However, when we do discover a dishonest person in our organization,

we deal with that individual quickly and firmly. For our company to

be known for its integrity, each one of us must meet high standards.

We Promote From Within

Generally, we fill management positions from within our

organization. In doing so we take care to include for consideration

and not overlook qualified people whose present jobs may make them

less noticeable than other employees. We fill a vacancy from the

outside when we cannot locate one of our own people who has the

professional or technical skills required for a particular assignment.

Advancement is based on individual merit and performance. All who

perform their tasks capably and have the capacity to assume greater

responsibility are eligible. Observing equal opportunity guidelines,

we select those who seem best fitted to the position.

All managers and supervisors are responsible for encouraging and

developing capable people, not only for their own groups but also for

openings elsewhere within our organization. We actively search for

such capable people and give them opportunities to succeed.

We Maintain a Spirit of Teamwork

Throughout our organization, we capitalize on the advantages of

working together in an informal manner. Although defined

responsibilities are assigned to specific individuals in our company,

we act as a cooperative team. Combined efforts, which help any part

of our organization, serve to strengthen our entire organization.

We Compensate Our People Fairly

Our compensation programs keep pace with today's changing

business needs and compare favorably with those programs in other

companies. Our employees' compensation includes more than salary

alone. When considering pay ranges and negotiating wage agreements,

we weigh the value of the total compensation package. We also

consider plans that give participants a stake in the financial

success of the company and offer ways to enhance savings.

We Promote the Good Health of Our People

We provide a benefits package and other programs that help

promote good health and well-being among employees and their

families. Attention to employee health increases the safety of our

operations and reduces the costs of injuries and illnesses.

We Transfer Management People to Meet Our Company's Needs as Well as

to Broaden Their Experience

One of our long-standing strengths is the willingness of our

people to take job assignments where needed. Moves intended to

strengthen our organization may involve promotions, lateral

assignments, transfers or relocations. Assignment changes should be

considered with the view of enhancing career opportunities.

Because we realize that transfers have profound effects on

individuals and their families as well as the company, we carefully

consider all transfers and never undertake them lightly.

We Look for People Who Have Potential for Development

We know that most of our future management people will come from

within our organization. For that reason, we look for applicants who

can progress beyond the immediate job. We also need people who can

qualify and become skilled at their work without necessarily aspiring

to more responsible jobs.

We Help People to Develop Themselves

One of the most important responsibilities of managers and

supervisors is the development of people. We are responsible for

seeing that all people in our immediate organization are fully

prepared to perform their jobs well.

Through our support, coaching, counseling and example, we expect

people to develop the knowledge and skills that are necessary for

success in their current jobs and which can help them assume

positions of greater responsibility. We expect them to take advantage

of the training available to them from the company and from outside

sources. In turn, we provide people with assignments and

opportunities that allow them to demonstrate their skills and develop

their capabilities.

We seek to give people assignments for which they are well-suited.

We Expect Our Managers and Supervisors to Train Their People

We conduct training schools, workshops, and other programs in

order to meet the needs of our people. However, it is the

responsibility of our management team to ensure that their people

receive all the necessary training and that it is effective. We

review training regularly to see that it is relevant to our current

needs.

We Hold Frequent Evaluations With Our Employees About Their

Performance

Reviews of each person's performance enable us to arrive at a

mutual understanding about progress toward meeting goals and

objectives.

We hold formal evaluations periodically. However, there is no

substitute for daily and weekly feedback on each person's performance.

We follow up on the results of all evaluations to ensure the

continued development of our people.

We Have Meaningful Discussions With Our People

Cooperation and teamwork among all our people are necessary for

the continued success of our business. To foster this spirit, we seek

to develop meaningful businesslike relationships and better

communications by having regular and frequent planned individual and

group discussions.

We Recognize Accomplishments

Our people deserve recognition for accomplishments in their

regular jobs and for contributions made to other departments and

operations. They also deserve recognition for the extra effort they

make to satisfy customers and for their participation in efforts that

benefit their communities.

All managers and supervisors are responsible for recognizing the

accomplishments of people in their own groups. Our established

programs are intended to ensure that deserving employees are

recognized appropriately for their accomplishments. These programs,

however, do not replace the important role of the manager or

supervisor in employee recognition.

We Promote an Open-door Approach to Managing People

Every person should feel free to discuss matters with management

people in our company. Accessibility, however, does not relieve

anyone of the obligation to respect delegated lines of authority.

Employees are encouraged to discuss their ideas or try to resolve a

disputed matter with their immediate supervisor before seeking the

counsel of others. One of our company's strengths is the development

of professional relationships among everyone, regardless of authority

or responsibility level.

We Give Each Employee Complaint Prompt, Sincere Attention

If overlooked or neglected, even minor misunderstandings can

escalate into major dissatisfactions.

We try to anticipate and eliminate causes of complaints. When a

question exists, we give the employee the benefit of the doubt. The

immediate supervisor has the initial responsibility for resolving a

complaint. When necessary, we involve the next level of management

and, if appropriate, the human resources manager.

We keep the employee informed about the status of his or her

complaint. In the process of making a decision, we do our best to

take action that is fair to both the employee and the company.

We Respect Each Employee's Point of View

We listen with an open mind to suggestions and are attentive to

problems.

By talking with and listening to employees, we can often help

them in doing their jobs and, at the same time, learn things that

benefit the company.

We train our managers in the skills necessary for talking with

and listening to their employees and in translating what they learn

into action.

We Encourage Participation and Suggestions

Managers and supervisors should invite help and encourage

suggestions for improvement. In working together this way, we create

an environment of teamwork that benefits our company and our

employees.

We consider carefully any suggestion that might be of value. If

we adopt a suggestion, we give full credit; if we reject it, we

explain the reasons. We also encourage feedback on plans that have

been implemented, knowing that the people involved can contribute to

further improvements.

We Keep Employees Informed About Company Activities and Plans That

May Affect Them or Their Work

Keeping our people informed helps them to understand the

company's objectives and to perform their jobs more efficiently.

To accomplish this, we hold prework and other periodic meetings.

We supplement our face-to-face communications through a variety of

media. Besides disseminating information to our people and their

families, these communications give public recognition to employee

achievements and encourage teamwork and cooperation.

We Address Each Other on a First-name Basis

Using first names helps to generate a friendly and informal

atmosphere. We use corporate titles only when necessary. Within our

company, use of a title is usually not necessary to define a person's

job and responsibilities. Knowledge, performance, and capabilities

should be adequate evidence of a person's position and leadership.

If it becomes necessary to use a title, we should select one that

accurately describes our job and reflects our level of responsibility

in commonly understood business terms.

We Are Considerate and Professional With All Applicants

We want applicants to think well of us, whether or not we hire

them. We are careful not to misrepresent or make any unwarranted

promises.

We welcome referrals from employees, customers and others who

know us well, and we consider them along with everyone else. But the

ultimate decision to hire is made impartially based on the

applicant's qualifications.

We look for people whose personal objectives are compatible with

our company's objectives and whose attitudes toward performing a job

are consistent with our company's ideals.

We select new employees on the basis of qualifications that will

help them work capably and successfully within our organization. We

are an equal opportunity employer and comply with all laws governing

fair employment practices.

We Limit the Employment of Relatives

In order to help maintain equal opportunity of employment for the

general public and equal opportunity of promotion for our employees,

we limit the hiring of relatives. Relatives of current employees up

to and including the level of center manager are eligible only for

part-time employment in operations. Relatives of current employees at

the level of division manager or above are ineligible for employment.

Also, we do not hire relatives of former district managers or

managers with equivalent or higher levels of responsibility.

This policy helps us avoid misunderstandings, acts of favoritism,

or the perception of favoritism that could arise were an employee in

a position to influence the hiring, work, or advancement of a

relative.

For similar reasons, we discourage continuation of the full-time

or part-time employment of any employee who marries another employee

while either person holds a management position.

We Do Not Rehire Former Employees, Except Under Special Circumstances

We should not rehire former employees, especially those who left

because they had become discontented or with whom we had become

dissatisfied. Employees who left to further their education or for

other valid reasons should be given the same consideration as new

applicants. The decision to rehire a former employee should only be

made with appropriate approvals.

We Try to Retain the Good Will of Former Employees

We are considerate of employees who are leaving us for whatever

reason. We know that the good will and respect of former employees

can be beneficial in future relationships.

At the time of an employee's separation from the company, we seek

an opportunity to conduct a friendly discussion regarding both the

individual's and the company's views. Such discussions may point out

ways in which we could improve our working environment or the company

in general.

We Develop and Maintain Professional Relations With Labor Union

Representatives

Many of our employees are represented by labor unions. We know

that our people can be effective and loyal employees and, at the same

time, be good union members. We consider the point of view of unions

along with the interests of our customers, our people, and our

company as a whole.

We negotiate fairly with labor unions for reasonable wage rates

and working conditions. These negotiations should give due

consideration to our unique operations and enable us to maintain the

operating flexibility and efficiency needed to remain competitive.

We respect and fulfill the terms of our labor agreements. We also

expect union leaders and members to cooperate in fulfilling the terms

of such agreements.

We Stress Safety Throughout Our Company

The safety of our people and of the general public is of utmost

importance to us. We train our people to avoid injury to themselves

and others in all phases of their work. We do not tolerate unsafe

work practices.

We encourage the involvement of all our people in safety

awareness activities and give recognition to employees for safety

accomplishments. We are all committed to fostering the most effective

safe practices in all our work.

By meeting our own high safety standards, we will be contributing

to the well-being of our people, our company, and the communities we

serve.

We Plan Our Buildings and Facilities for Safe and Efficient Operations

We develop detailed plans for the design of our buildings and the

installation of equipment in our facilities. We plan our buildings

and facilities to be in compliance with governmental and regulatory

requirements. Our plans take into consideration reasonable,

anticipated requirements for growth. We arrange for specialized

equipment and facilities as well as efficient and economical methods

for handling and delivery. We provide safe, clean, and pleasant

places to work.

We plan and select buildings that are functional and attractive

and create a favorable impression of our organization.

We Keep Our Buildings and Equipment Clean and Neat

We believe this has an important effect on attitude, safety, and

efficiency. Facilities and vehicles that are clean and neat indicate

to employees and customers alike that we are proud of our company and

that we give the same meticulous attention to our business that we

give to our work environment.

We provide sufficient maintenance so every operating facility,

office building, and vehicle will be maintained at a high standard of

appearance and cleanliness every day. The exteriors of our buildings,

parking lots, lawns, and shrubbery are kept neat and well maintained.

We Assign the Same Equipment to Each Employee Every Day Whenever

Possible

We retain flexibility in the matching of equipment to the

requirements of the job. Wherever practical, the same equipment

should be assigned to each employee every day.

This results in employees feeling more responsible for the care

of equipment and for reporting any special attention equipment may

require. For example, drivers come to know their UPS vehicles as they

do their personal cars and take the same pride in them.

We Expect Our People to Be Neat in Appearance

A neat appearance greatly impacts the way our customers view us

and how our employees interact on the job. Our drivers and flight

crews and certain other employees wear standard uniforms as a

distinct reflection of our company and our service.

Just as we require our people who come in contact with the public

to maintain a neat appearance, we expect our office people to be well

groomed. We ask them to select clothes and accessories that are

appropriate to our business environment.

Managers and supervisors take note of the appearance of their

people daily and set the example through their own proper grooming

and attire.

Our People for Appropriate Expenditures Incurred on Behalf of the

Company

No one should gain or lose because of money spent for company

purposes. We require our people to submit an itemized accounting of

these expenditures.

Sound judgment is necessary in the management of such expenses.

Questions concerning these expenses should be resolved in advance

with one's manager.

Approval of the expenses of those who report to us requires

equally careful consideration, as well as attention to guiding them

in future expenditures. We periodically review and adjust our

reimbursement practices.

We Prohibit the Use or Possession of Alcoholic Beverages or

Controlled Substances While Working

Employees are not permitted to start work or remain at work if

they possess or are using any of the following:

an alcoholic beverage, regardless of its alcoholic content

any controlled substance or illegal drug or any derivative thereof

any other substance that could impair their ability to perform a job

safely and competently

This rule governs employees from the time they report to work

until they leave our premises at the end of the workday.

The rule reflects current laws and government regulations that

strictly prohibit the use or possession of any illicit substances by

those who operate our air and ground vehicles, as well as those in

other specified jobs. These regulations also contain prohibitions

against the use of alcoholic beverages by employees before they start

work.

We Prohibit Gambling, Holding Raffles and Similar Activities on

Company Time or Property

At best, these are unbusiness-like activities and inappropriate

on the job. They also place our people under improper pressure to

spend or contribute money.

We Prohibit Use of Company Time, Facilities or Materials for Personal

Benefit

The use of company time, labor, supplies, equipment, tools,

buildings or other assets for personal benefit is prohibited.

Employees are required to pay for personal use of our delivery

services. We also do not repair or wash private cars for employees or

other individuals. Similarly, we do not sell gasoline, parts or other

supplies from our inventories.

An exception to this policy may be made only in the case of an

unavoidable emergency, when there is no reasonable alternative.

We Separate Business and Social Functions

Combining social and business functions can create conflicts,

misunderstandings and jealousies that may adversely affect both the

company and our people.

Families and friends normally do not attend our business meetings

or travel to the meeting sites. They are, however, welcome at company

open houses and at other social functions held primarily for their

benefit.

Workforce Management Online, May 2005
25th December 2006 From India, Pune
Hello Rajat,
Your article gives good insights into causes & pro-action for employee retention. At one place it has been mentioned that the reasons pertaining to Night Shifts + Monotonous/ Boring job constitute 65% of the causes of attrition. If it be so then can this be not reversed by proper training to change the mind set for thinking so.Because as you rightly say that a job is as monotonous or boring as one thinks it to be.
Regards,
Anand
26th December 2006 From India, New Delhi
Hi Anand,

I thank you for reading the article and especially between the lines!

Yes, you are right in your observation that there was contradiction in my strategy on this vexed problem – infact after doing the survey I was going through the reports and it reminded me of my experience of brick & mortar company..that’s where my core experience lies and I was reminded of foreman who has been working on the same machine for the last 30 years and I remember he telling me that how he found joy & happiness in operating the same machine day after day and years..and never a moment he felt dull..everyday he thought about the process/machine as how he would make it easier to operate the machine..how much force and pressure to apply !

The fact of the matter is that we all need to have similar approaches and HR professionals in conjuction with line Managers need to instill this attitude..and many times Customer Support Associates have forgotten as how the present job can be a source of joy and scope for innovation as well. A participant shared the fact that she spent over four years and she said that whenever I speak to the customer – visualize his/her face and culture they live in ..gives me an immense pride that am able to connect to the person staying on other side of the world and try to solve their problems..

Essence of the matter is that we all need to learn that our life and our job can be as exciting & interesting as we perceive them to be irrespective of the situations if we try to look beyond the obvious see the things through the scheme of wonderful Life!..

Have a great day...

Rajat
27th December 2006 From India, Pune
Hi Rashmi,

Retaining good employees is always a challenge in today;s competitive environment but keeping employees who are geographically dispersed adds even more complexity..

There are three ways to handle this vexed issue:-

1. Make the supervisors responsible for the achieving the retention goals esp to the leaders. Am sure you have heard that people don't leave the company but the bosses..so set the retention goals for the leaders and the track the same by way of rewarding or consequences..

2. Provide the leaders retention training & coaching to achieve their goals.

has anyone analysed as what do people want from their bosses..?..TRUST..have the ability to to share credit and not blame..

3. Ensure that supervisors have the retention discussions with the far flung employees..by asking the following

*as what they expect from them..

* what are the grey areas/issues that needs to be resolved..

* By asking question..what would make you leave this organization?..

Let me share one example from Sapient where the company takes pain to project itself as a caring organization..here one of the employee Mr Menon soon after his marriage in 2004 was sent to UK on an assignment which had to be extended by a number of days. According to Mr Menon " I was really surprised when my boss called to say that i should ask my wife to join me there at the company expense"..( source Business Today, Nov5, 2006 ; THe Best Companies to work for in India)..

Hope this provides some pointers to start with.

Regards,

Rajat Joshi
21st January 2007 From India, Pune
Dear Rajat,
Could you please help me once again? :)
We are facing the very high attrition rate with the tune of 30 employees leaving in a week!
Have been assigned to assess the process of exit interview and suggest the steps for containing the attrition rate to the Management.
Would appreciate your inputs.
Thanks,
Bhawana
25th January 2007 From India, Mumbai
GREAT article. Applies to all companies in all countrys. Question for you. Do you have any thoughts on bonus compensation for trainer in a service industry? Thank you...... Please respond to

25th January 2007 From United States, Harrisburg
Hi Bhawana,

Am really sorry for late response as I was traveling and had a hectic schedule on work front!

Your point is as how to assess the exit interview to prevent the attrition rate ..

Please first tell us as how do you conduct the exit interview in the first place.

Am sure your typical response as followed in BPOs is to have the employee to fill up the questionnaire and have a one to one discussion..but I guess due to sheer numbers one gets lost in the din of the responses and overlook the essentials.

What I suggest is the following :-

1. Assess or audit the previous exit interviews in terms whether it is giving the appropriate response .

2. make the resignees very comfortable in the meetings and make sure that there are no powerplays or any resort to make them stay as it is too late instead utilize this opportunity to get the real truth! Which often doesn’t happen.

3. Would recommend – please conduct the exit interviews NOT at the workplace but at a neutral place like a coffeeshop etc.

4. Make sure that you show the resignee his/her F&F settlement alongwith the cheque and sort out the queries and also the relieving letters.

5. Here depending upon the how you conduct yourself in step 4 ( above one)..can make the difference between the predictable response and the actual reality as it exists.

6. Divide your exit interview process in two parts – one portion objective type questions and rating of the various parameters like work environment, pay , growth opportunity etc with a space for suggestion. Part two – is your questionnaire on open ended ones on various issues like Why are you leaving the organization ? what could we have done to make sure you had stayed for a longer period etc..here it is very important to read between his lines and frame questions accordingly yet assuring him very well that his response would no way used against individuals and you are merely trying to understand the situation/problem to be resolved.

7. After two months again conduct the process through the third party to validate your findings and check if there are any new points put across.

Guess above ideas may help you to address the problems you are facing.

Best Wishes,

Rajat Joshi

Hi Hayjon,

Thanks for your appreciation.

Am sorry to disappoint you as I don’t have the depth knowledge of the same. Please post your query under the following columns – Talk to your seniors or Compensation and Benefts. Also use the search facility on the top left.

Regards,

Rajat
3rd February 2007 From India, Pune
Hi Rajat,
Thaaanxx for your valuable advice :D :D :D
Have started the same as initial interview exit interviews held at a neutral venue have given us the correct insight compared to the ones conducted at the office. My seniors were little taken aback about this approach and appreciate the inputs from the interviews provided to them.
Guess the credit goes to you for making my work even better!.
Really awesome on your part to share these tips and guide us and truly Cite Knight honour is really tailor-made for you.
Thanks once again.
Cheers,
Bhawana
5th February 2007 From India, Mumbai
Dear all,

Am updating you all on BPO employees health issues..if members from Chennai can attend this and inform us about the issues discussed would be great!..

Am sure we HR professionals can find innovative ways to deal with such vexed issues which more often are created by vested interests for their own publicity and much needs to assessed on the authencity of such results.

Regards,

Rajat Joshi

Sexual disorders rising among BPO employees

<link outdated-removed> . com/news/ fullstory. php?id=14390947





Chennai: Sexual disorders are increasing among Indian men and such problems are more among BPO professionals, says sexologist Dr Prakash Kothari.

This would be one of the topics to come up for discussion at the two-day international sexology conference beginning in Chennai on Saturday, he told reporters on Friday.

He said changes in food habits of BPO employees, especially intake of more refined carbohydrates, mostly at unusual hours, were resulting in sexual disorders among them. This was affecting their health and physical activities.

Another factor causing sexual problems among BPO employees was stress due to work pressure and lack of time to relax, an issue which would be discussed in detail at the conference, he said.

Dr T Kamaraj of the Indian Institute of Sexual Medicine, which is organising the meet, said about three crore Indian men were estimated to have erectile dysfunction. This was due to the increasing prevalence of diabetes.

Kamaraj said the focus of the conference would be on sexual dysfunctions, disorders and infertility, besides discussions on removing misconceptions about sex and educating people to live a sexually healthy and happy life. Treatment of Sexually Transmitted Diseases would also be discussed.

--

Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life - think of it, dream of it, live on idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body, be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success.

Swami Vivekananda

__._,_.___
17th February 2007 From India, Pune
Dear all,

I have always taken the stance that retaining the staff is better than the recruiting ..

Here is the article to reaffirm the same.

Regards,

Rajat Joshi

Retaining is better than recruiting

By Pon Mohaldeen Pitchal





Significant money is often spent hiring new employees. In current economic circumstances, it can be higher than that devoted to retention.

Yet employers do not bother to analyse the manpower cost in a prudent way. In fact, they should compare both: recruitment as well as retention costs.

Employers should try to utilise their current workforce in a productive way, yet, on the contrary, the majority of employers simply do not enforce the best HR practices.

As an organisation gets new businesses, the employer tends to opt for external sourcing. This is due to lack of qualified manpower available within the company. Such external sourcing brings many challenges to HR managers, reflecting scarcity of manpower in the local market and the demand for higher packages.

Moreover, mobilisation of manpower is not taking place within the recruitment plan. If the time cycle is more than the planned target, naturally the expenses are higher. There is no mechanism to mirror this cost.

Expenses

The management information report generated by the finance department does not focus on this hidden cost, but contains actual expenses against those budgeted.

It is evident that the local market is not capable of supplying all the required skills.

To get talent from overseas is not so easy a task as it has been in the past. Now the world is on the verge of widespread manpower shortages.

The labour-supplying countries themselves face acute shortages. Increasing salaries and skills shortages are the fruit of globalisation. Forecasts by headhunters say that employers in the Gulf will witness huge shortages in managerial skills.

Skilled technicians and professionals are hesitant these days towards accepting an offer from the Gulf. This is notably true now in respect of the Indian market. Indian employers pay almost a UAE-equivalent salary in India itself.

"Unfortunately, managers pay [more] attention to hiring new staff. In my bank, the attrition rate is 20 per cent a year. Managers must be cautioned about the cost of replacement, which is almost 30 per cent higher than retaining old staff," says one recruitment manager with a leading local bank in Dubai.

Retaining staff, as has been said many times, is a key to successful business. Cost analysis will prove that best retention practices would save significant money. It would mean we wouldn't have to recruit new staff on such a regular basis.

The writer is a Dubai-based HRD consultant
17th February 2007 From India, Pune

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