De-Linking Call Center Performance and Turnover

Originally published on LinkedIn

Call centers, especially outbound sales centers, pose one of the most frustrating recruiting challenges in business today. Many variables account for the high turnover of staff, and not all of them are within your control. In order to tackle the turnover problem more successfully, a smart first step is to distinguish between those problems you can do something about and those you can’t.

Unless your organization is prepared to make wholesale structural changes to the call center role, which is unlikely for most established businesses, the predominant causal factor driving high turnover is the job itself.

What It Means When a Job is Just a Job

Sit down and talk with a group of engineers about why they wanted to get into their field, and you will hear a variety of reasons:

  • It’s a professional job with good career opportunities
  • The pay is good and competition for graduates drives higher pay
  • They want to build things
  • They want to make a greener, more energy-efficient world

The list goes on. When we ask people in both education and healthcare why they wanted their chosen professions, we will hear altruistic motives – the expression of a personal need to care for others and help others, as well as expressed security needs met through either growing demand or tenure. What jobs like these have in common is that they require career forethought along with serious education – careers in these and similar fields don’t just happen.

Now, take time to discuss jobs and motives with a group working in call centers, and it becomes very clear why staffing a call center is like trying to bail out a badly leaking boat with a small bucket. It does not take long to realize that the best you can hope for is simply to keep the craft afloat. Systemic factors make call center jobs inherently unattractive, and there is little that even the most skilled recruitment team can do to address this turnover cause in a sustainable way.

Consider that people do not set out at the start of their working lives with the goal of working in call centers. Those who seek careers need not apply.

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