How to address ‘quiet quitting’ in contact centres
A skills gap, an abundance of vacancies and a workforce regularly resigning. These are the catalysts that have brought about the growing trend of ‘quiet quitting’.
It’s a phrase you may be familiar with, but it’s not what you think. Rather than slowly quitting your job as its name would suggest, quiet quitting involves doing the very bare minimum at work, essentially quitting the idea of progression, work ethic and going above and beyond.
For those unhappy in their current roles, this is the strategy they’re taking to restore work/life balance. They know they won’t lose their job as their skill set is hard to replace. They don’t want to leave until they’ve found a new position, or they don’t want to face the stress of trying to find a new job. Quiet quitting is a happy medium, and the easiest way to cope with the pressures of work.
But for the contact centre industry, it’s a worrying trend. Retention and recruitment is at an all time low. It’s hard to recruit staff, and it’s hard to keep those who join. Staff are often burnt out from the laboursome roles in contact centres, and it’s not a role that would be very successful if one were to ‘quiet quit.’
So, what can contact centres do about it?
The empowered employee
Much like the trend we’re seeing with brands and consumers, the power has switched hands from the employer to the employee due to simple supply and demand. There’s an abundance of jobs for skilled individuals, and for companies, there’s not a lot of individuals to choose from.
This newly empowered employee is demanding more from organisations around work, pay and flexibility, and when organisations don’t meet these expectations, they’re left behind. Skilled employees will leave and find a company that will.
Organisations need to be asking themselves: what do employees want and how does that align with what we can afford?
It’s become a running joke that companies are too often tone deaf when it comes to the demands of staff. They will host wellbeing webinars and offer gym classes, which do still serve a function in supporting staff, but they don’t get to the crux of the issue.
Employees want to be paid more for what they do. But that comes at a high cost and sometimes it’s impossible to match salary expectations and continue to run a company profitably. For contact centres that have a very high number of employees, this issue around salary is exacerbated.
So aside from increases, what can contact centres do to support their employees, meet their demands and create a better working environment that will attract new members of staff and retain high skilled workers?
Employers have complete control over pay. That doesn’t just mean how much; it also means when.
The majority of the UK workforce is paid on a monthly cycle. Employees complete a full month of work before they receive a paycheck. Employees are no longer on board with that structure, and employers are recognising their capacity to change it.
Financial wellbeing is more important than the sum of money that arrives in the bank each month. By allowing employees to choose how and when they’re paid, they’re given more autonomy over the money they’ve rightly earned and they can manage their income in a way that’s appropriate to them.
Employers can go one step further too.
There are a multitude of ways to support a member of staff financially. Employers could look to focus on financial education, savings accounts that take payments at the point of payroll, tools and reminders that rely on behavioural science to better manage money.
Now, more than ever, it’s so important that contact centres are focused on supporting the financial wellbeing of their staff. The cost of living crisis coupled with the Great Resignation means companies that are not doing all they can for their employees are going to fall behind.
Contact centres need to be doing all they can to meet the needs and wants of agents. ‘Quiet quitting’ doesn’t exist in an environment where staff feel looked after, respected and listened to.
While demands, especially through a recession, will be difficult for companies to meet, there is so much that could be done through flexibility and support for staff. Not only will this minimise the problem of ‘quiet quitting’ within your contact centres, but it will also go a long way in improving recruitment and retention issues too.
Stephen Holliday is the CEO and founder of Level.