How to motivate employees in your BPO
As if motivating oneself isn’t hard enough, business owners need to master the skill of motivating their employees as well. But if you happen to be an owner of an outsourcing company, chances are that this challenge is a bit of a trouble, since your employees aren’t only your own – their job and satisfaction depend just as much on your clients. The BPO industry is one of the most dynamic and fastest growing sectors in the Philippines; however, many third-party organizations struggle to find and keep the right people for the job due to their specific work culture, which is why motivating workers has become a vital part of the business.
Unusual working hours, a monotonous job, stress and burnout, as well as little or no opportunities to grow are the main reasons behind high attrition rates in outsourcing companies. High attrition rates is something you definitely don’t want in your organization, since it causes unforeseen expenses and sometimes may even lead to crushing your entire business venture. According to SourceFit, a business process outsourcing company from Manila, attrition rate in the Philippine BPO industry dropped dramatically over the last years – to an average of 50 percent from 70 percent – due to the improvements in terms of salary, training, continuous education, as well as the new career paths for young people. However, this is still a huge rate. In order to raise job satisfaction of your staff and influence performance levels of outsource workforce, it is vital for a BPO company owner to find out what job outcomes and motivating factors will help to retain his or her outsourced workforce.
There are two types of factors that affect your employees’ satisfaction and motivation. First are the motivating factors, which, when present, tend to satisfy the employees and motivate them for better efficiency and efficacy. Second are the hygiene factors, which do not render positive satisfaction, but cause dissatisfaction (and consequently may even lead to leaving the job) if absent. Essentially, hygiene factors are needed to ascertain an employee is not dissatisfied with his or her job, and motivation factors are needed in order to motivate an employee to higher performance, better efficiency, and hence better productivity.
In a survey conducted in a medium-sized BPO company, employees suggested the most important hygiene factors:
- Adequate facilities for effective working (82%);
- Satisfying relationships with peers (80%);
- Acceptable work timings (78%);
- Decent salary (76%);
- Amenities like housing and medical benefits (60%).
These are the basic conditions that BPO companies should provide for their employees in order for them not to hate their job. But this simply isn’t enough.
For a young and ambitious person, the sense of purpose and a meaningful job are inseparably tied with how they perceive their own value and abilities. It is almost impossible for an employee to perform well and contribute to his or her company unless they feel that their job is valued and appreciated.
With that in mind, employees in the survey listed these factors as most motivating:
- Achievement of the desired goal (86.7%)
- Relationship with team leaders (85%)
- Challenges in job (83.3%)
- Recognition (83%)
- Authority connected with the current job position (80%)
- Opportunities for personal growth and development (76%)
- Feeling of self-esteem (75%)
- Job security (75%)
- Perks and benefits (65%)
Basically, what these results demonstrate is that your employees need a sense of purpose. Contrary to the “dull and droning” nature of their job in a BPO, employees are seldom made to face challenges, which, when achieved, give an employee a sense of fulfillment. The achievement of the desired goal brings internal satisfaction, but it also induces recognition from both co-workers and managers, which is always a wind at the back. Relationship with the boss is of huge importance, as one of the major reasons for employees leaving the organization has been attributed to their incompatibility with the boss. Back in 1999, Buckingham and Coffman wrote: “People leave managers, not companies.” – still, it seems that a lot of managers choose to ignore this and leave everything to chance, which most times doesn’t end up well for the company itself.
Another factor that emerged as a motivator based on 76% of the respondents’ responses was providing opportunities for personal growth and development. In an industry like that of a BPO, with so many repetitive tasks, employees are not able to see a clear picture of where they are heading, hence they struggle to find reasons to stay involved with their work. If you find a way for your people to grow and develop as professionals as well as individuals, it would add a sense of purpose and motivation to work better and invest more of oneself into your company.
There are few industries that crave employee motivation as much as BPO, which relies entirely on its people in order to operate. Since the work culture in this sector is customer specific and customer driven, businesses often forget to pay attention to their people’s needs and problems. Some clients happen to be lovely but others, however, may be a real nightmare; this is the point where business owners and managers need to step in and figure out the best ways to shield their people from eventual racking. Making them feel appreciated and acknowledged won’t just reduce your costs of recruiting – if your employees are stable and satisfied, the service they provide will be also, and even your toughest clients as well.