Sunday, January 15, 2017

High turnover of personnel in BPO/Shared Service Centers

I have been working for three years in BPO/Shared Service Center environment. I have paid attention that the turnover of the personnel is fast. My desk has been in an open office space with around 50 other employees. My feeling was that almost every week there was a farewell gathering around someones desk who had decided to quit. High turnover is considered a challenge in BPO/Shared service centers (Ruppel et al. 2013). I started to wonder the reasons why people were leaving the company. I do not have any collected data about the turnover of personnel in BPO/Shared Service Centers but I found a research made by Juho-Erik Kolehmainen regarding the turnover in one HR Shared Service Center in Philipines which provides service for companies in USA.

The decisions to leave a company were classified to internal and external reasons in the research of Kolehmainen. I have observed the same reasons contributing to the high turnover of personnel in Poland as well in Spain. The top external reasons for leaving a company was career development (38 %), salary & benefits (28 %) and personal reasons (28 %) like starting studies or moving elsewhere. The top internal reasons for leaving a company were work environment (25 %), management (19 %), job tasks (19 %), career development (16 %) and salary & benefits (16 %).

The most of the service in Poland is provided to other European countries and therefore the work environment with night shifts caused by time difference between continents is not an issue like in Philippines where the service is provided mainly to the companies in USA. Though there is also service provided to outside of Europe in Poland. In Poland as in Philippines there is competition between the companies for the qualified work force. Many of my friends changed their job as another company could offer them better salary & benefits.

There are  many foreigners working in the BPO/Shared Service Centers to perform language dependent activities with their native language in Poland. I have seen many foreigners coming to work in Poland with the attitude to stay one year working abroad and then moving back to home country. Career development might not be as attractive to foreigners as you might lose your language bonus if you get a promotion. You might end up having the same salary despite the promotion. Also your team leader might be against your promotion or moving to another department as it can be difficult to find a replacement with your language skills.

I have observed also issues in the job tasks which leads people quitting. It might be that before the "go-live" you are barely having any work and some people quit before as they get too bored before the actual work even starts. The cultural differences affect a lot how activities are performed in different countries and that makes estimating the needed work time challenging. I have seen that within the same department some people have too much workload as some have work just for few hours each day Even though job tasks are simple some people struggle to perform the tasks and get laid off while others get bored and quit the job.

This was opening article to my observations in BPO/Shared Service Center environment. I am planning to write some more in the coming months.

  • Kolehmainen Juho-Erik (2015) Employee turnover and reasons for the turnover. CGI Global HR Shared Services, the Philippines, Master thesis
  • Ruppel, C., Sims, R. & Zeidler, P. (2013). Emotional labour and its outcomes: A study of a Philippine call centre. Asia-Pacific Journal of Business Administration, Vol. 5, Issue 3, 246-261

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Homeless sleeping

Shelter for night
You can see beggars in Barcelona like in Madrid. During the daytime the temperature might be around 15 degrees in Barcelona in the wintertime but during the night the temperature gets close to zero degrees and it is cold. In the summer time you can spot some homeless people sleeping on the benches of parks but in the wintertime they search warmer places. One common place where you can spot homeless spending night is by the ATM inside. Banks have placed ATMs in the lobby which are open 24/7 and available for anyone to enter. The bright lights are on so you will need a good mask to block the light to be able to sleep inside.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

My moment in fame and reactions

Screenshot from Facebook page of on 11.12.2016 published an article about me moving from Finland to Spain on Friday 9th of December. In the article I brought up adversities/difficulties like broken pipe in my flat, summer heat and the price differences in groceries. The reporter naturally added some dramatic tone to make the article stir up reactions. The article received good amount of attention, 360 reactions, 96 comments and 44 shares in 2 days. Naturally I was interested in to see the reactions of people and read the comments. It was interesting to see that many got angry to me because I mentioned negative things about Spain. Some were feeling sorry for me and saying that I should have brought my mom to support me.

The most liked comment (105 likes) by Olli Elovaara was saying that my article was propaganda because the depopulation of Finland is so high that it is necessary to convince Finnish people to stay every other day by saying that it is not so great abroad. Then there were people who could relate to me as they had had also faced difficulties in Spain or in Finland. Despite of possible difficulties there were still people saying that it is worth going to Spain as Finland is depressing. I already published an article of more extreme difficulties what a family can face in Spain because I felt that the positive point of view staying abroad was emphasized too much in the media. I wanted bring some realism to the picture and I can say that speaking Spanish has helped me a lot dealing with the issues.

Then few corrections to the article. My rent is 580 EUR/month and not 680 EUR/month like mentioned in the article. The article also misleads that I have to pay annually agency fee of 816 EUR but in reality it is paid just once when you sign the rental contract.

Working in Barcelona is a different kind of experience than living in a Finnish community in Costa del sol.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Top Posts 2016

Fountain in Parc Ciutadela
This year I returned to Spain and wrote an article about me. Below I have listed the top articles from this year.

1. This article stirred up nice conversation in Finnish expat group.
2. Grocery basket in Finland is not as expensive as people might think compared to Spain.
3. Housing law protects tenants in Spain which gives opportunity to live for free
4. Not everyone sees tourism positive in Barcelona
5. Read what you can experience in Macao

Top posts from previous years 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011 and 2010

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Spanish third division match

l'estadi Narcis Sala
Today I went to see 17th round match of Spanish third division. The match was Sant Andreu against Vilassar de Mar. The entrance was for free but still the crowd was small. The capacity of the stadium Narcis Sala is 18 000 but there was only around 2 000 spectators. The match itself was not very entertaining as there was only one goal and very few chances to score. Both of the teams were focused on playing with short passes on the ground. Even though the third division football players are not professional the level was good and not far away from the level of Finnish league. Some third division players are getting offers outside of Spain to live by playing football. For example some players get recruited to united states of america or Australia and get paid 1 500 - 2 000 EUR/month.

My previous football match report is from Georgia.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Monday, November 14, 2016

Neighbor who sells drugs

In one expat group of Barcelona one woman asked help what to do with the issue of neighbor selling drugs. In this case the neighbour is selling heavier drugs like cocaine. Drug selling neighbor naturally means shady visitors in your building which can cause trouble. The woman was thinking to report the neighbor to the police but the experienced expats in the group advised her not to report to the police as it can make her a target of criminals. It was clearly advised to just try to ignore the issue because you do not want end up in black list of criminals. According to a Spanish news article assasination in Spain costs from 500 to 5000 euros. It seems that getting someone killed in Spain is pretty cheap. Some expats were also saying that such drug dealers have likely connections to the police officers who are corrupted.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Parks of Barcelona

There are many parks in Barcelona and the three most famous ones are Parc de la ciutadella, Montjuic and Parc Güel. These parks are beautiful and crowded with tourists. Beside the most popular parks there are also other beautiful parks which are more calm compared to the three parks mentioned before. Below I am going to introduce five parks which you can consider visiting when in Barcelona.

Parc Guinardo
There are basically four parks on top of a mountain in Barcelona from each of them you can see a city landscape. The parks on the top of a mountain are Montjuic with a castle, Tibidabo with a attraction park, Parc Güel with art of Gaudi and Parc Guinardo. Parc Guinardo is in the middle of the city and you see a city landscape from every direction. Guinardo was also used for defensive purposes in the past.

Parc del laberint d'Horta
Parc del laberint d'Horta has a labyrinth like you could guess from the name. There are also other nicely taken care areas in the park and the labyrinth is not the only nice thing what you can see in this park. Good place for taking a relaxing walk.

Parc de les aigües
Parc de les aigües is outside of Barcelona in Cornella. The park is on an old water pumping place where the drinking water is being pumped. You can also visit a museum to learn more about the water pumping. The park is small so not good for having a walk.

Parc natural de la Serra de Collserola
Behind the Tibidabo mountain is Parc natural de la Serra de Collserola. The most of the tourists stay in the attraction park and see the impressive church but behind the church is a big natural park with good and long paths for walking. You can find good views of nature and the old ruins of Casino de la Arrabassada.

Parc del Clot
Near Torre Agbar (the building what looks like a dildo) you can find Parc del Clot. The park is surrounded with old ruins which give nice atmosphere to the park. In the middle of the park you can find area to play football and basketball.

I have also visited many other parks and in the future I will write also about the other parks.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Payment in 14 installments

In Finland yearly salary is generally paid in 12 installments. In Spain it is common that yearly salary is paid in 14 installments.It means that monthly payments are smaller as yearly salary is divided to smaller portions. Though the interval of the 14 payments is not even. You get paid monthly but the 13th and 14th installment are paid usually on July and December. Basically you get double salary on these months. The employer basically saves money for the employees for summer holiday and Christmas shopping.

Monday, September 12, 2016


Vermouth (Vermut in Spanish) is a traditional alcoholic drink in Catalunya. It is typically enjoyed as an aperitif or with midday snack. It is typical to bring your own two liter bottle for a refill which costs about 6 euros. The drink is served with ice and olive. The taste of vermouth is sour. The base is wine and many different aromatic herbs are added to create the flavor. Naturally manufacturers have their own recipes. Probably the most well known internationally is Martini Rosso which is considered as vermouth if you want to try.