The Recipe for Good Jobs? A People-First Culture
As many jobs have been automated over the past decade, the traditional “good job” has become more challenging to find. This shift in the workforce has contributed to an unnerving shift in corporate culture: that employees are disposable. This trend is particularly apparent in the call-center and business solutions industries, where automation has made jobs even more competitive.
While we’re all for embracing competition, technology and global connections, we don’t embrace the idea of disposability. Many companies in our industry struggle with employee burnout, dissatisfaction and turnover. We know that this industry can be challenging, but it can also be very rewarding and can provide immense opportunities for career growth and long-term tenure.
That’s why Full Potential Solutions exists: to provide rewarding careers for our employees and drive groundbreaking results for our clients. Our mission is to create the conditions in which our employees thrive, which enables us to deliver great results for our clients.
The idea is an obvious one, but sadly, it tends to be overlooked despite studies that show this really works.
MIT Professor Zeynep Ton’s 2014 book, “Good Jobs Strategy,” discusses how investing in people and making deliberate choices to execute “human-centered operations strategies” can produce a competitive advantage for companies. It makes sense: happy employees are invested in their work and driven to produce better work results. Unhappy employees likely have one foot out the door and aren’t committed to the company.
Professor Ton’s research highlights two case studies from Quest Diagnostics which describe how the company dramatically improved performance of its call center operations with a comprehensive and practical program to put people first. Scott Jeffers, VP of Lab Operations and Operational Excellence at the company posits a simple answer at the start of the case study:
“You listen to customer service reps because they’re the truth. They are the people who are working the process every day. They know what’s going on and it’s our job to support them and make their jobs easier. The only way to do that is to include them.”
Scott’s theory turned out to be right. With a renewed focus on employee happiness and retention, the strategies Scott and his team implemented produced immediate results. After one year, voluntary attrition dropped from 34% to 16%, and absenteeism dropped from 12.4% to just 4.2%. Taken together, the improvements reduced costs by $2.1MM for the company, and key customer service metrics, such as answer rates and first-call resolution rates increased markedly.
This type of change arose from a set of simple choices and decisions that all too often are overlooked by leadership. The strategy is simple: if you put your people first, your company will achieve its full potential. Obviously, there is no silver bullet; this is not something that can be implemented in a day and then neglected. This needs to be core to your company’s culture.
At FPS we believe in this wholeheartedly. Every day we are disproving the false-tradeoff between lowering compensation expenses and generating profits, especially in commoditized businesses. Our strategy involves paying people a premium, leveraging daily scorecards to measure individual results, rewarding and recognizing exceptional performance, listening to and implementing team feedback, and empowering employees to make their own decisions.
Client results are the byproduct of human-centered operations. Employees need to have the tools, structure and support to be successful. If we can retain people longer by rewarding them financially and emotionally so that they are invested in and excited by their work, our overall performance for our clients jumps.
At FPS we’re working to provide even more proof that the “Good Jobs Strategy” is a winner.
Steve Kezirian is the CEO & Co-Founder of Full Potential Solutions (FPS), and Amit Basak is the President & Co-Founder of FPS, a new kind of performance-based outsourcing firm that puts culture and employees first. FPS combines people, process and technology expertise to comprehensively address customer care, up-selling, and retention as well as lead generation and customer acquisition through a multi-channel approach, including call center, digital and direct mail channels.