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Useful Tips To Manage and Avoid Absenteeism In The Contact Center

Useful Tips To Manage and Avoid Absenteeism In The Contact Center

We know that it’s hard for contact centers to manage absenteeism. Holidays, vacation, maternity leave, etc., can affect performance on days with a high volume of calls. Now imagine if you add to that the agents that call in sick or simply do not show up.

It can be a nightmare for workforce managers. Because of this, it’s important to do whatever we can to avoid absenteeism and have clear policies that will let you manage absenteeism rates. If you create a commitment to a culture of perfect attendance, and if you are prepared for unexpected situations, everything is going to be easier and you will be able to manage it.

Here are 7 useful tips that will let you manage and avoid absenteeism in the contact center:

Have A Clear Attendance Policy

There should be an attendance policy in the call center, and it should be clear and well communicated through the center. Every employee should know it, so they know what the company expects from them in terms of attendance. They should know how many times they can be absent in a period, who to report to when they will not attend, what they need to do, the consequences of not attending, and how their absence affects the operation of the call center. For example, if they know they must give notice in advance in order to get permission and they know who to report it to, you can organize your workforce to avoid having problems that day. It is much easier to miss work when you do not clearly know the consequences and it is harder to manage something you cannot anticipate.


Show The Agents How Their Absence Affects The Business
If the agents do not know the importance of them showing up to work and the time they invest in the company, they will be more likely to be absent. When they know how they contribute to the results of the business and how they also affect them, they will know there is a reason for them to go to work, they will feel part of a team. Agents sometimes do not realize the importance of their work and think that missing one, two, or three days will not make any difference. But when they can actually see it, and if you show them the numbers, results or amount of money, they will think twice about not showing up for work the next time.


Create Commitment
Agents that have perfect attendance are people committed to the company and the team. They are there because they know other people count on them. You can create commitment to your team in several ways. As we mentioned before, when they can see how they contribute to the company, they will feel more committed. If they are integrated to the team since the beginning, with an appropriate induction, with a welcome from the team, they will feel committed. Another strategy you can take is to break down a big team into smaller teams. When they work closely with other agents and have the same goal, they will feel more committed to their team members and their absence will be more noticed than on a big group.

Identify What May Cause Absenteeism
If you anticipate to the problem, you will be able to take actions to avoid it. Be aware of things that cause absenteeism. Know what your agents like, what events they are interested in, in what activities they like to participate, what are their passions, and keep an eye on these events, activities and celebrations. This way you can try to do something to reduce absenteeism. For example, you can stream sports events in the break room, you can adjust schedules to let them go earlier on concert dates, or you can remind them a day before about the importance of them being at work, even you can organize some related activities in the workplace to make them want to go to work.


Flexible Scheduling
Many people think that flexible schedules are not a good idea, because it might be more difficult to manage the workforce. But the reality is that it is a good idea if you are having attendance problems. Sometimes agents miss work frequently because the schedule they have does not let them be always on time, or sometimes they can’t attend one day but they are willing to work another day in exchange. You can use this in your favor, you can allow your agents to exchange days and ask them to work on a day when you have more call traffic, for example. You can let agents to come up with their own schedule, this way they will have better attendance because those are the days the agent is available for or when it’s more convenient for them to be at work. You create commitment when they choose their own schedule and they will be more dedicated to attend with no excuses.


Motivate Perfect Attendance
If the contact center performs better from perfect attendance, you should provide incentives. There are several things to encourage agents that have perfect attendance. You can offer an extra bonus, free lunches, prized games where only these agents can participate. A really good idea is to offer a free day off. You might think this is contradictory. If you want perfect attendance, why will you give them a day off? Well, sometimes agents miss work simply because they want a day off, but if you offer them the opportunity of having a paid day off, they will make an effort to have perfect attendance in order to get it, because it is really valuable for them.


Tie Attendance To Performance
You know that performance and attendance are connected. For this reason, attendance should be tied to performance. You can do it in different ways, depending on what works better for you. But what you can do is give attendance a value in scorecards, include it in the KPIs, you can include it on the agent’s pay, and we highly recommend to take it in consideration for promotions. If you are deciding between two really good candidates for a promotion, you should look into their record and give priority to the one with perfect attendance. Remember, you need leaders that can set an example to other agents.


Now you know what to do in order to manage and avoid absenteeism in your contact center. But there are many more things you can do. Think about creating commitment, incentivizing perfect attendance, communicating the importance of showing up for work, and be aware of the things that might cause absenteeism.


Source: 46 Tips for Managing Absence from Call Centre Helper