Call centres have been given a bad reputation – if you ask someone if they would like to work in one, you can bet their response would be negative.They can be seen as dull, boring places to work, where each day is like groundhog day, monotonous, and drags on.
However, at Call Connection, our philosophy is that we want people to enjoy coming to work, to want them to participate, and to be proud to work for us. In 2008, in the Sunday Times Top 100 Companies to Work For ‘happy at work’ category, we came 8th in the country, making us the highest ranking call centre.
This is how we do it…!
Have fun at work
Create a ‘fun’ atmosphere – this can’t be stressed enough. If you don’t have an appointed member of staff to co-ordinate interactive staff activities, then elect one!
A fun atmosphere increases productivity from the workforce by a big margin, if events are run in the right manner. Think of it this way, if you have staff in your call centre who actually look forward to coming into work because there is an event on, or even just because the atmosphere is better, then you have a happier workforce.
A happier workforce produces a better quality of work, and this is the key. In short, it helps to produce better results, which means the company makes more money – which is why we are all here!!
Creative initiatives to increase employee happiness at work
In particular, the opportunity to have a foot massage at your desk, inter-department games to win a night out on the company, the chance to buy more holiday, opportunities for training, and free gym membership.
A table football competition – nothing like a little rivalry to get the creative juices flowing!
An added benefit is that your need to recruit more staff should diminish, as your employees will want to stay with you. This is important in this day and age, as the cost of training a member of staff is something that can snowball, especially with new recruits.
A hydrated brain works best
One initiative that can be introduced into the call centre is free fruit and fruit juice available all day to anyone who wants it. This is great, as a hydrated brain works best! It also helps you get your ‘5 a day’, which we all know is important.
Throughout the summer of 2008 we ran the ‘big summer holiday competition’, an initiative featuring £20,000-worth of games, themed days and prizes for staff. In July the top ten performers statistically were rewarded with prizes, such as one free day’s holiday, iPod shuffles, football tickets, and store vouchers.
Tour de France and the Olympics
In keeping with the ‘Tour de France’ theme for July, staff were encouraged to wear an item of yellow clothing. If employees wore yellow clothing all week they were entered into a hat and at the end of the month a winner was picked out to receive a 40-inch LCD full HD television. To compliment August’s theme of the Olympic Games, organisers ordered Chinese food for the staff, and set some Chinese-themed tasks, such as creating a Chinese Dragon. September’s theme was the Ryder Cup, and challenges included chip and putt, golf on the Wii, and a day of American food, to include a hot dog stand and popcorn.
Imagine working at a company that you don’t really believe in, that you don’t trust, or that you can’t identify with. You come in to work every day, in the same place, sitting in the same seat, doing the same job with the same people. The only real chatting you do is at the coffee machines, talking about the stats that you need to hit (or are currently missing!) and the avalanche of either paper work or bad calls that you are taking. Nobody has fun and you just don’t like going in to work but you have to because you have bills to pay, you’ve been there ages and we are in a recession.
Ad hoc fun
Now imagine a place of work that provides activities weekly, not scheduled fun, but ad hoc fun. It’s a place that is bright and airy, people move desks every now and then, and you get to speak to different people who on a normal day you would just nod at in the hallway or canteen.
Call Connection donate telephone lines and volunteers for Comic Relief, the night is always a great laugh!
Creative eventsEvents are put on every other week; although they haven’t had a great deal of money thrown at them, they are relevant to things that are going on outside. Some ideas may include:
- Holding ‘X Factor’ style auditions to win the chance to perform at the staff Christmas party
- International days, where the call centre is adorned with memorabilia from a chosen country, dressing up in that country’s style of dress is compulsory, and foreign cuisine ordered in for lunch
- Staff competitions to win days out, extra holiday, and electrical equipment such as iPods judged on wacky games such as ‘pin the tail on the donkey’, and the Wii Fit
- Regular staff get-togethers such as BBQs and nights-out paid for by the company
- Inter-department sports matches
- Regular dress-down days, dress-up days, and game days
Chinese New Year
We held a ‘design a Chinese dragon competition’ to celebrate Chinese New Year.
Does it work?
We encourage fun in this place of work, the staff feel more involved with the company, both at work and now outside of work, all because someone organised an external event, or dressed up in a costume just to make staff laugh!
Staff are taken off the phones every once in a while and given a task to do within their team or in a group of people they may never have met, where they have to put their minds together and actually think, instead of doing the same monotonous job, day in, day out. They start to like coming in to work and think of ideas themselves.
Before you know it, you have 300 people in the call centre coming up with ideas. The rest sorts itself out.
Now imagine you are offered a job at a fun place or a job at a monotonous place.
Which one would you take?
Mark Adams started work at the Churchill call centre before leaving to join Call Connection also in a telephony role. Within 3 months he was promoted to the position of Public Relations Officer and with the PR function proving so successful, an assistant was recruited. Call Connection (www.callconnection.com) has two placings inside the Times Top 100 Companies to Work For (2007 & 2008) and Best Companies Accreditation three years in a row (2007, 2008 & 2009).