Employee attrition has always been a severe challenge for BPOs.
Whether they specialize in contact center and customer experience (CX) outsourcing, IT helpdesk and IT support, outsourced software development, marketing, recruitment, HR, back-office processing, finance, accounting, or staff leasing – they can experience attrition rates as high as 45%.
Few companies can thrive while they’re having to replace 5% of their workforce every month just to stand still. Most BPOs are taking on new work and new clients all the time, so just replacing staff that leave isn’t enough; they also have to grow.
They also have to maintain quality standards and meet the SLAs (service level agreements) they have in place with clients, which is difficult to do if your operation resembles a revolving door.
A high attrition rate means skills and knowledge are lost to the organization, the working environment is never stable, and you’re constantly having to spend on recruitment to replace the people you lose.
In recent years several BPOs with these challenges have turned to Time Doctor – an employee-friendly time tracking and productivity tool – to help improve the employee experience and employee engagement, both of which are major causes of attrition.
Employee retention, especially during the new era of remote work, is a difficult task. Many companies face challenges brought on by this new transition, but they also experience issues that have been present in the industry for decades. These include:
Productivity is a real issue for BPO companies, especially if they are largely remote-based. Staff frequently become disengaged, as they are often faced with repetitive and routine cycles of work, as well as frustrating customer interactions.
The problem with low productivity is that it forces a BPO’s managers to put in place potentially harsh measures to ensure staff are working, and also makes them more likely to require staff to work from the office. Both of those things can cause an exodus of employees.
Eufonie is a BPO based in Madagascar that specializes in customer relationship management, content moderation, data processing and call center services. After its staff started working from during the pandemic, the company realised it had poor visibility of what they were actually doing and when. They needed a tool that would help them maintain visibility and find new ways to reassure their clients that work was being completed on time.
“Time Doctor is a great tool to help train and verify what can be improved in our day to day processes. We can understand what is easier and harder for employees to do, which you can’t get in-office.” Johan le Bail, Eufonie
Boring Commerce, which offers outsourced digital marketing solutions, also wanted to gain insights into how productive their staff were being. They needed a way of accurately monitoring their employees’ performance to identify their top performers and then spread that best practice to the rest of the team.
Flexibility in the workplace is becoming increasingly more relevant as BPOs shift to remote working and staff continue to demand this perk more and more. However, hybrid or remote working can be hard to implement correctly, and employee attrition levels continue to rise partly as a result of the lack of flexibility.
In fact, a lack of flexible working options is cited by The Hustle as one of the key reasons as to why employees quit their jobs. But the challenge facing BPOs is that they can’t guarantee their employees any flexibility without knowing whether they will perform their job roles effectively.
Healthcare BPO Phoenix Virtual Solutions needed to reassure their clients that their workforce was producing positive results, while also allowing their staff the autonomy and flexibility to create a happier, healthier work environment. Spain-based Habitium had the additional challenge of maintaining the engagement of its workforce while enabling flexible working in order to meet the company’s ambitious growth goals. They needed to attract new team members to manage their expansion, not lose existing ones.
Hiring the best talent
BPOs that are unable to offer remote work are struggling to attract the best talent. What’s more, their current top performers will likely flee the nest, instead favoring a company that’s more suited to their needs.
Executive Mosaic is a company based in Manila, Philippines, a city that experiences some of the worst traffic in the world. The company’s CEO, Jim Garrettson, had been looking to hire a top product manager. However, when she learned she would have to commute two hours to work every day, she declined the offer. This led Jim to the realization that things needed to change, however he needed to be able to manage his teams properly, and provide them with a great experience, if they were going to work remotely.
Being unprepared for remote work, therefore, can lead to poor talent retention and even poorer talent acquisition. However, even hybrid and in-office workers benefit from knowing their employer has tools in place to ensure a great working environment.
While all of the BPOs mentioned above had different challenges, higher attrition rates and a reduced ability to source talent were outcomes they were all experiencing. The root cause of all their challenges was an inability to accurately track and manage the productivity of frontline workers, particularly those that were working remotely. They turned to Time Doctor for help.
Using Time Doctor to reduce attrition
With a whole range of tools and sophisticated, employee-friendly monitoring options, Time Doctor gives remote BPOs the reassurance they need to offer their workers a happy, healthy work environment.
Eufonie and Boring Commerce both chose Time Doctor for its monitoring abilities. The Workday Insights feature allowed their management to understand employees’ work behaviors and patterns without invading their privacy.
Eufonie saw employee productivity reach new heights. Management was able to use the available-time data to help balance workloads and identify areas where training was needed, making the team more efficient.
Eufonie leaders can now feel confident that work is being completed, which allows them to provide more freedom and flexibility to team members. In a recent internal survey, 95% of Eufonie employees shared that they are happy to continue working remotely, while using Time Doctor.
Managers also received detailed reports of which employees performed which tasks best, at what time they were most productive, and whether they were developing any bad habits (such as working weekends). And, as Habitium found, employers can assemble the best, most productive teams and assign them high-priority tasks at the most productive moments of the day.
“Because we use Time Doctor, we’re able to have a flexible schedule, So, for example, depending on the task that I have to do that day I can either choose to work from home, or come into the office, and it’s just as easy as stopping and starting the timer. It allows you to adapt to the work schedule that’s best for you.” Jessamine Eaton, Habitium
Boring Commerce is thriving, having used Time Doctor since the end of 2020. They have been able to streamline their operations and now function to their optimal efficiency thanks to the Workday Insights feature. Productivity has skyrocketed along with employee motivation, as HR managers can easily identify the top performers and those who should be rewarded.
“At home or at the office, we just want the best employees to be on our team. With Time Doctor we can identify these trends and figure out how we can be better.” Monica Thakwani, Boring Commerce
Despite only recently shifting to remote work, Executive Mosaic has managed the transition so successfully they’ve closed their physical offices altogether!
By creating a nurturing remote work atmosphere, employees feel more engaged, more motivated, and better supported. This has a positive knock on effect, in that employee engagement levels rise, which in turn causes employee attrition rates to fall.
“We sent an email out to almost 100 of our people asking who wanted to come back to the “old normal” or continue with Time Doctor and our “new normal”? Guess how many of our people replied that they wanted the old normal? Zero.” Jim Garrettson, Executive Mosaic
Improving retention and engagement saves BPOs a lot of money in hiring and training new recruits. Studies show that BPOs like call centers can save around $500,000 simply by motivating and engaging their employees. The reduction in attrition saves the cost of training new staff and reduces makes the existing team more efficient as performance doesn’t get dragged down by lots of new recruits who inevitably take weeks or months to get to competency.
Keep your friends close, and your best employees closer with Time Doctor
If you’re looking for new ways to enhance your company’s productivity while reducing attrition rates, there is no better solution than Time Doctor. As a proven market leader, your business will see instant results that remain for the long term.
Is your company struggling with the shift to remote and hybrid working? Is it plagued by the illness that is employee attrition? Then nurse your business back to full health with Time Doctor, and put that attrition in remission!
So what are you waiting for?
Liam Martin is a co-founder of Time Doctor which is software to improve productivity and help keep track and know what your team is working on, even when working from home.