Are BPOs ‘flying blind’ when it comes to understanding employee productivity?

by Time Doctor
BPO Productivity Survey

We all know that productivity is a key issue for BPOs of all types. We also know that BPOs have had to deal with more productivity related-issues in recent years due to the move to remote and hybrid working.

However, BPOs that are still based primarily in a physical office also face many challenges around efficiency and employee engagement, particularly in this current tight job market.

So it came as something of a surprise when we conducted a survey into BPO productivity recently, that 57% of BPOs that operate only from a physical office reported no productivity issues whatsoever. 

BPO productivity survey

As you can see, BPOs that operate a remote-only or hybrid model report far more issues with employee attrition, employee engagement, and staff shortages. Interestingly, office-based BPOs do complain more of a lack of analytics and performance metrics.

How can it be that productivity is an intrinsic problem everywhere else in the BPO world except for office-based organizations? Can this figure really be true?

In this article, we’ll investigate the potential explanations for this data, as well as look at whether these BPOs are essentially ‘flying blind’ when it comes to understanding their employee productivity problems.

Trends in productivity for BPOs

A recent global survey by Time Doctor into productivity in BPOs surveyed hundreds of outsourcing organizations including CX (customer experience) and contact center outsourcers, staff leasing companies, and outsourcing companies that provide VAs (virtual assistants), finance, billing, accounting, collections, recruitment, marketing, and back-office processing, staff leasing, and IT services.

BPOs of all sizes report significant productivity problems. Employee engagement and attrition are two such problems that go hand in hand with a lack of productivity for BPOs. Turnover levels in call centers are among the highest in the world, with some research suggesting attrition rates may be up to 45% in the worst-affected organizations.

In general, it seems that the pandemic had a major impact on productivity levels in BPOs. Just 20% claim they were unaffected in this way by COVID-19, while 34% say they are still feeling the effects of the crisis. As BPOs try to deal with the fallout from the pandemic, they’re turning to productivity tools to help.

And it is a lack of these tools that serves in part as an explanation for why over half of BPOs report no productivity issues in their office-based centers. Companies that do not employ productivity tracking software – around 30% of those surveyed – reported fewer issues with attrition and engagement.

Part of the reason for that, we suggest, is that a lack of data and analytical tools gives them no insight whatsoever into how their employees are actually feeling or performing. As a result, they reported fewer problems when surveyed. However, we still suspect they will suffer from attrition and disengagement and other productivity related issues.

Time doctor BPO productivity survey

Why accurate analytics are important for BPOs

In order for BPOs to fully understand what their employees want, they need accurate and real-time analytics. Reporting, for instance, is vital in ensuring transparency and accountability throughout your team.

Accurate analytics are hugely significant in understanding the internal workings of your BPO team. Without them, companies cannot hope to tackle productivity-related problems, such as attrition and employee disengagement.

Continue reading to discover how precise and accurate data can benefit your BPO.

Optimize and streamline workflows

With accurate data, you can ensure your employees are working at their most efficient in the periods you need them most. Insights into your staff’s most productive times of the day can give management the capabilities to optimize overall workflows.

For instance, if you notice one employee works most productively in the mornings, team leaders can assign them the most urgent tasks during the initial periods of the workday. This way, your operations are streamlined as each employee is working in the way that is most efficient for them.

Improve recognition and enhance motivation

Insights into how your employees are performing can increase engagement among your staff. Team members who have clear targets and progress indicators work more productively than those without adequate objectives, which shows how real-time analytics can boost performance.

Improving recognition and incentivization also helps motivate staff members and leads to high employee engagement levels. In fact, a report by HBR found that motivation among staff leads to higher engagement and greater productivity.

Real-time analytics can be used to improve recognition by giving team leaders insight into how employees are performing. In this way, they can issue rewards or create a leaderboard for staff to work towards and increase their productivity levels.

Less wasted time for managers

By utilizing accurate data, managers and supervisors can get employees the correct support in as little time as possible. Team leaders will know exactly what an agent needs, such as further training in a specific area, and can deliver the support quickly and efficiently.

This frees up managers to concentrate on more important aspects of running the operation, as frontline team members are better equipped to deal with problems without the need to seek help from their superiors.

Team members are more productive, managers waste less time giving unnecessary support, and your whole BPO operates in a smoother, more efficient manner.

Better work-life balance for employees

Using data analytics is a great way to manage your personal and professional life effectively, and foster a workplace environment that doesn’t rely on the toxic concept of ‘grind’ culture, where staff are overworked. It’s important for your frontline agents to maintain a good work-life balance, not least because it makes them far less likely to quit their jobs.

Productivity and work-life balance are intrinsically connected. Research in the Time Doctor BPO survey found that 19% of BPOs who monitor their employees’ work-life balance reported no productivity issues whatsoever. Of the BPOs who neglect to monitor the work-life balance of their staff, just 2% had no productivity-related problems.

This comparison emphasizes the need for BPOs to track their employees’ work-life balance, and provides conclusive proof that neglecting this metric causes attrition, disengagement, and low productivity levels.

Using Time Doctor to improve productivity

So, what can BPOs do to reduce productivity-related issues and gain accurate insights into their employees’ work behavior? The solution is Time Doctor.

Time Doctor provides comprehensive time-tracking software that measures a whole range of important metrics, from productivity and efficiency to staff performance. Below is a summary of how Time Doctor can benefit your BPO:

Final thoughts on BPO productivity

As several recent surveys suggest, productivity among BPOs is a constant issue. Many find employee disengagement and attrition to be their biggest problems, but these are intrinsically linked to a failure to monitor productivity levels.

Using real-time analytics and accurate data is the only solution to the productivity problem. It enables you to improve your BPO’s operations by tracking levels of efficiency among staff, understanding how best to manage each team member, and duly recognizing their efforts when appropriate.

Want to know more about productivity in BPOs? Download our BPO productivity survey today.

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