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

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