Turnover is a big problem in most call centers. Recent research shows the following turnover rates based on the size of the call center: Small-sized call centers (less than 50 reps) have an average turnover rate of 17%. Medium-sized call centers (51 to 249 reps) have an average turnover rate of 37%. Large-sized call centers (more than 250 reps) have an average turnover rate of 44%. Large call centers are usually more impersonal, leaving reps feeling more isolated and unhappy. Research shows that dissatisfaction with job conditions leads to turnover. Research shows that high turnover centers also tend to provide less on-the-job training. Low amounts of training reduce the rep’s confidence and comfort in their job performance. As a result, they are more likely to quit.

Turnover is Expensive

The Center for American Progress estimates the cost of replacing a frontline employee to be about 20% of their full annual salary. The total cost of turnover replacement based on an annual compensation of $35,000 is about $7000. Here are the annual estimates of total turnover cost by call center size:

  • Small (50 reps X 17%) = 9 or $63,000 per year
  • Medium (150 reps X 37%) = 56 or $392,000 per year
  • Large (250 reps X 44%) = 110 or $770,000 per year

Turnover greatly impacts bottom-line profitability. These replacement costs include the time and money spent on recruiting and hiring, time and materials to train new employees, and the loss of productivity due to the initial vacancy and the extended learning period of the new hire. Turnover also creates a loss of knowledge which can impact the quality of services provided. In specific cases turnover produces lost business opportunities.

Managers Define the Workplace Culture

Workplace culture impacts turnover by influencing the level of job satisfactions. The workplace culture consists of the beliefs, values and preferences that define the company, its management decisions and its operational practices. Research shows there are five key factors differentiating low-turnover from high-turnover call centers:

Lower levels of burnout - Burnout is characterized by emotional exhaustion, cynicism and ineffectiveness in the workplace. Burnout is the result of chronic negative responses to stressful workplace conditions. Burnout is more likely when reps expect too much of themselves. Burnout occurs when reps feel unappreciated for their work efforts. Managers can precipitate burnout when they place unreasonable demands on their reps. Burnout also occurs when reps are hired that do not have good job fit.

Supportive supervision – is an approach to management that promotes mentorship, joint problem-solving and communication between supervisors and reps. It is carried out in a respectful and non-authoritarian way. It uses supervision as an opportunity to improve the knowledge and skills of staff. It is focused on helping to make things work, rather than checking to see what is wrong.

Variety of tasks and skills - Providing skill and task variety in job design reduces boredom, thereby increasing job satisfactions and motivation. Involving employees in their own job design has a large positive impact on their work motivation and satisfaction. Performance expectations are clearly defined for all, but the reps’ specific skills and work style can vary based on their strengths and preferences.

Team orientated - Being team-oriented as an individual is about working well with people. As a manager, this translates into focusing on employee motivation and wellbeing (people focus) as opposed to completing tasks and deadlines (task focus). If you are a team-oriented manager, you still care about completing the tasks, but you put your energy into helping people achieve those goals from a more human perspective.

Flexible work policies - More employers are using flexible work policies as a response to work-life balance needs and the advancement of technological resources. Offering reps flexible working options gives them more control over their work life, helping to reduce stress levels, boost employee engagement and increase retention and tenure.

The above five factors provide key leverage points for call center managers to lower their annual turnover rates. Contact Us for Manager Performance Assessments that will evaluate your Call Center Manager’s competencies.

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