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How to limit employee turnover at shared services centres?
For many managers, employee turnover in the SSC/BPO/ITO sector is part of a sad reality of everyday life. Having said that, you need to remember that it is possible to change this situation. Although the index that stands for the number of people who quit work in this sector is high, one should not be afraid of it. Let’s have a closer look at what pushes workers to say “goodbye”, and what can be done to make sure they say “good morning” every day.
Why do they leave?
One of the major points that lies behind changing jobs is the discrepancy between expectations and reality against the backdrop of an employee’s growth. In this sector, it is common practice to employ young, ambitious people who are eager to grow professionally and who keep pursuing their individual career path. This means that if they are not given enough opportunities to realise their full potential, they will be tempted to start looking for a new job.
At some point, many people working at shared services centres decide to fulfil themselves in other areas. This, in turn, by nature, implies that they leave their jobs in search of new challenges. What should also be taken into account when looking at the factors lying behind career decisions are family-related reasons. Admittedly, they are vast enough to be hard to define. For some people employed in the SSC/BPO/ITO sector, one of the key points that plead in favour of switching jobs is access to a wider array of non-wage benefits offered at a rival company.
Those who quit are generally the ones with a year-or-less tenure with their current employer, but no longer than three years. It is, in fact, these people that your HR team ought to focus their attention on. Any member of staff who decides to leave triggers a chain of additional costs for the company, as the search, induction, and training of a new worker to take a vacancy causes a major loss. Don’t let that happen, and be sure to use the strategies outlined below!
Diversify to laugh in the face of boredom
The issue is important enough to deserve a few words. In order to prevent staff feeling bored with their tasks, diversify their duties – mix the ones that require high focus with the lighter ones that allow the grey cells to take a rest. Do not be afraid to improvise! If you see that the members of your team are constantly working on a single project, give them something completely different to do. Having said that, you need to bear in mind that some ideas, such as e.g. ordering a pizza, or a table tennis tournament, are not a systemic way to conquer boredom; they will only beat it temporarily. And, after all, it is not about encouraging your staff to be lazy, but rather to make them productive and highly motivated!
Looked at from a broader perspective, the idea is to make sure that throughout his or her tenure at the company, your employee feels that he or she is growing, which will, in turn, translate into the level of motivation. Let’s take the human resources department as an example: no HR guy, not even the biggest zealot, will ever stand a few years of working on the payroll. Every few months, as he or she gains new skills, make sure you give him or her additional tasks, such as e.g. staff data administration, or making benefit packages. The career path that the person working at your company will pursue needs to be full of challenges and diversity, no matter how trivial such claim sounds. If you fail to care about this aspect, your worker will leave you and join the competition, which – as we all know – never sleeps.
Fishing for talent in schools
Problems with employee turnover in shared services centres cannot always be solved with classic methods, so perfectly known to HR departments. Sometimes, it is necessary to look for non-standard solutions, as was the case of Capgemini, a company which launched a vocational training class in one of the high schools in Opole, a town in south-western Poland. The students can gain all the necessary knowledge of customer service, they learn about the rudiments of IT and acquire foreign languages. Maybe such approach will help to solve the high employee turnover issue long before it actually comes about. In the future, young people, emotionally tied to a company, may prove to be a lot more loyal to it than the people going through all the stages of recruitment to SSC.
Build loyalty with a good sense of humour
Arla GSS came up with an interesting idea to help to reduce turnover in its Gdańsk-based shared services centre, and to attract the attention of potential candidates. A global employee exchange programme was launched there which allowed the staff to be relocated for a period of three months up to a year to the company’s branch in a different country – Sweden, Britain, or even Dubai. The programme started with a quaint employer branding campaign that included a film made with the company’s employees appearing in… cow masks. The goal of the campaign was to debunk the stereotypes of working at Arla GSS. The company is indeed part of the international dairy group Arla Foods, but, contrary to appearances, it operates in the SSC sector.
Do not skimp on time for your staff
Some employees will quit anyway, and there is nothing you can do about it. However, once this happens, it is worth investing some time and holding an exit interview with these people. The conclusions may turn out to be priceless and help you work out even better retention strategies. As a matter of fact, there is a bigger chance that an employee that trusts you will also tell you why he or she is leaving. Maybe the real problem was not the low wage, but rather a vengeful superior, or lack of agreement with the colleagues from his or her team.