‘GenM 2013: One Year On’

contact centre

Contact centre workers have ranked as the most unhappy and isolated group of UK office workers according to new research published today by Jabra. The findings, which are revealed in a new study “GenM 2013: One Year On”, highlight that UK contact centre employees experience the highest levels of emotional issues amongst office-based workers, with a massive 81% indicating some form of emotional or physical issue at work.

The latest research returns to the workforce previously interviewed in 2012 for the report, “GenM: Defining the Workplace of Tomorrow” which identified a group of mobile, multi-tasking employees united by their attitude to work and the communications tools they used in the workplace. One year on, Jabra’s study of 1,000 UK workers across four groups – mobile, office, home and contact centre workers – looks at how things have changed in the last 12 months.

The unhappy, unsatisfied workforce of today

Interestingly, those working in contact centre environments experienced the highest levels of poor interpersonal relationships at work, (35%), and the highest level of isolation from their co-workers, at 22%. Furthermore, call centre workers are twice as likely as other groups to report breakdowns in home relationships as a result of workplace issues, reported by 21% of this group.

Overall the report finds that employers have not achieved the improved collaboration and productivity that technology promised us, and that this is largely to do with poor communication between groups of workers. It confirms that while today’s contact centre worker uses a wide variety of communications tools – this does not always translate into good communication.

On a positive note, contact centre workers are less likely to feel undervalued by their employer than other groups, with 27% feeling undervalued compared to 35% of office workers and 36% of mobile professionals.

Contact centre workers are still dissatisfied with the tools they’re given

The research confirmed the tools the contact centre is favouring in 2013: Despite growing adoption of VoIP and UC voice applications, only 17% of contact centre employees use them, while just over half still prefer the traditional deskphone, (55%). Yet interestingly, a growing proportion – 34% – now use a mobile for communication at work.

When last year’s workforce also revealed just how strongly GenM feels about the devices they use at work, this was employers’ chance to adjust the devices and technology they provided and ensure they offered tools and processes that allowed staff to work efficiently and productively.

However, one year on, only 26% of contact centre workers are actually satisfied that they have the right tools to get the job done, 31% said they were not satisfied with their communications and IT policy and 28% revealed that their communications and IT equipment frequently lets them down.

Staff retention is at risk

The “GenM 2013: One Year On” report confirms that employers who fail to listen to their workers’ demands are running a significant risk of attrition. A sizeable 37% of contact centre workers confirmed that having the right communications tools is so important that they would consider changing jobs if they were being provided with poor quality devices.

Jabra’s research confirms that any investment in providing employees with technology tools that will be valued and beneficial, or embracing BYOD or CYOD, could pay off in terms of improved staff retention rates as well as ‘softer’ benefits like employee morale and job satisfaction.

The desire to work from home is still being ignored

It’s often assumed that it’s not practical for contact centre employers to implement a home working option, but there are call centre businesses that already have their entire workforce located at home.

Almost a quarter of contact centre workers, (22%), that were surveyed said that they would like to work from home but their employer does not allow it. However, 14% are already working from home and 16% work from home at least once a week, highlighting that with a clear strategy and the right technology and devices in place, home working can be a viable option for some contact centres.

Andrew Doyle, Managing Director at Jabra UK & Ireland Business Solutions, commented: “Contact centre workers’ dissatisfaction with technology and tools should not be ignored: Their voice and opinion really do matter. When working in a contact centre, a lack of appropriate tools or working conditions, such as flexible or home working, can be detrimental; not just to getting the job done, but for an agent’s wellbeing and their own personal satisfaction.

As a result, employers need to look carefully at the devices they are providing their employees with and consider if they are truly happy with them. Those that take employee feedback on board are much more likely to boost staff retention rates and benefit from engaged employees. This in turn will support healthy customer satisfaction scores, which is a must for the industry”

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