Absenteeism has traditionally always plagued call centres, with some reporting an absence level as high as 15% on Mondays! Many companies have a philosophy of building a positive working atmosphere in which employees will thrive and work at their optimum. Companies should always looks for ways to manage absence. The following methods have helped us be successful with regards to absence and we hope that these tips can also aid your business.
1. A clear attendance policy – When making a strategy to minimise levels of absence, it is essential that a clear attendance policy is put in place and that all employees fully understand what is expected of them when it comes to absence and timekeeping. With a system like this in place, there can be a level of consistency in how absence is dealt with and monitored. Ensuring that employees are fully aware of what measures to take when calling in absence adds a bit of structure to the businesses and creates a level of understanding between employer and employee. Time stamping procedures are used in many companies to monitor attendance levels of all employees, while absence procedures should be clearly illustrated in employee contracts.
2. Flexible schedules – Having flexible working schedules offers employees some leeway that doesn’t force them into absenteeism for reasons beyond their control. This is especially useful to accommodate workers who may have family commitments or that are working on a part time and temporary basis. With a high number of European staff working in call centres, your office could open from 8am until the evening to accommodate time difference in Europe and the USA, which makes it easier to be more flexible with working schedules.
3. Incentive programmes should be tied to attendance – We strongly believe in rewarding hard work and creating incentives to keep employees motivated. A ‘Masterclass’ is an annual programme which takes into account not only sales performance and talk time but attendance and time keeping. Masterclass prizes could be an all expenses trip to an exotic location such as Las Vegas or Dubai, so staff have that extra incentive to never miss work. Monthly award ceremonies which also have prizes tied into attendance help contribute to low levels of absence.
4. Link promotions to attendance – When promoting workers to positions of management or as team leaders, you need a strong sense of reliability that this individual will be able to lead by example and will be ever present during business hours. Promoting an individual who has a record of absence could damage morale amongst co-workers, as they will be required to enforce attendance policies which they themselves could not comply to before they were promoted.
5. Weight attendance on the scorecard – Having a balanced scorecard with attendance in the weighting ties in with incentive programmes so instead of only rewarding agents for sales and skill, loyalty and commitment is also rewarded. It is far better to have a good sales agent working five days a week rather than sporadically.
6. Find the root cause of the problem – If your business suffers from high levels of absenteeism, it is imperative that managers find the root of the problem in order to successfully tackle it. Taking steps such as providing a more flexible arrangement, engaging employees, getting them to offer feedback about their schedules and clear procedures about absence discipline are all viable methods into tackling absence.
7. Value long time service – Valuing long term excellence and rewarding loyalty and hard work creates an air of excellence in a call centre. Working in such an environment helps to keep motivation high and an air of positivity maintained in the workplace. Acknowledge long service with “long service walls” where those who have worked for the company for 2, 5, and 10 years have portraits on the walls recognising their hard work.