After graduating college in May of 1990, I started my first job in a collections call center in St. Louis, MO. I didn’t know much about call centers, nor did I know much about collections, but it was a tough job market, so  I took on the challenge. The opportunity also sounded good because the company had a very extensive Management Training program that I was enrolled in from day one.

Defining “Presenteeism”

“Presenteeism” begins with having a connection to your company, your direct supervisor and understanding the importance of your role. Answering phone calls from customers can seem mundane, but in fact, this is a most important customer-facing position that can make or break any company.

When employees are not “present” the costs go far beyond the calls they don’t handle:

  • Missed team updates: There isn’t a day that goes by without a supervisor providing a team update. These updates, while usually company updates, are also very TEAM focused. Feeling like a part of the team and being up-to-date are very important to morale.
  • Missed training: Scheduling training is challenging enough, but rescheduling missed training is exponentially more difficult. Missed training can mean misinformation being provided to customers.
  • Missed company news: In today’s fast-paced environment, the company intranet has new information posted daily. Missing company news can lead to feeling left out.

Any one of these translates directly to a poor Customer Experience and stress on the rest of the team, which leads to lower morale.

So what steps can be taken to improve “presenteeism”?

  1. Hire the right people – job fit in high-volume customer care organization is critical because employees can burn out quickly if they don’t have the right DNA
  2. Make the environment inviting – have the right equipment, systems and physical environment so that people enjoy their workplace and want to come to work
  3. Develop your employees and provide a rewarding career path – publish the development strategy and hold employees accountable with gates to accomplish; for example, a new hire must become a CSR1 within 6 months of graduating from training and a CSR2 within 18 months
  4. Pay for performance – build a rewarding culture that pays for performance and include a “presenteeism” gate for any pay out
  5. Move them up, or move the out – if you have exhausted all other options, move them out before they negatively impact the rest of the team

And don’t forget about leadership, leadership, leadership …  You need to both provide it to your employees and recognize and develop it in your employees.

To learn more about performance management and workforce optimization, see Genesys Workforce Optimization and Performance Management tools.