The BPO and IT industry are known not only for fast service, but are also rumoured for causing fast turnovers. Contact centres and BPO firms lose a battalion of workers and hire twice as many within a month. On the outside it looks like something good is going on (hundreds of thousands are looking for jobs), but inside the crack runs deep. A fast turnover hurts the employer and the employee. What hurts the most is when both parties (client and staff) have to do it as a last resort to save the former’ s interest and ignore the latter’s.


I speak from experience: it really hurts. And it takes time before the lucid moment sets in. When it does, I then realize it had to happen, although there could be a variety of reasons behind it. From my end, and from what I have pieced together, here are the four common causes of fast turnovers at the workplace:


1. Compensation. Your company is cutting costs. It has been trying to keep itself afloat against the onslaught of the economic crisis, while you and your department don’t seem to feel the crunch because you get better pay than most. Then in an esoteric meeting among the human resources department, operations manager, and the site director, they’ve figured out that your job can be done by another team that gets a lower pay. With a bit of training, they can actually replace the whole language support department. So they declare your department redundant.


2. Benefits. You are working really hard to get that much-coveted title in the workplace: a “tenured employee.” But you are told there’s none (you’re working for a leased staff specialist), as the arrangement is on per project basis. So you lose motivation. Your dream car bursts along with the thought bubble. You don’t return for work next day. You’re out looking for another “promising” job.


3. Low quality of work. You got your job because you’re good at answering questions. When asked what trait you can put to best use in an offshore and leased staff workplace, you say you’re flexible and can work under pressure. Three months on, you still don’t get the drift. You’re having a hard time following instructions. Your immediate supervisor asks you to redo your work all the time. You’ve proved to be more of a company liability than an asset. A couple of days later you’re told not to come back to the job. You’re sacked.


4. No promotion in sight. In a fast-paced and occasionally volatile work place, there doesn’t seem any promise of a career growth for someone who does mediocre work. So if you expect to get a promotion package in six months, you’ve come to the wrong place. Still, working for an onshore and staff leasing company has its rewards: you get instant praise (and price) for a job well done.


So, how do you handle fast turnover issues?

It’s not a 100% clock-work precise, but do the following, given your own circumstances:


1. Communicate your company’s agenda clearly. Be transparent to your offshore and leased team. Tell them exactly who you are and what you’re up to. That way they won’t set unrealistic expectations. Get them to talk about how they feel working for a company that does not offer them things a normal 8-5 company does. Make them weigh in their thoughts, too, by asking them how’ s it going to affect their work. Ask them if they’re happy with such a set up, and if they’re not give them time to think it through before giving them any assignments.


2. Focus on your company’s critical roles and parts. You don’t have to hire many people to do a few things. Your leased staff will perform better if you keep their tasks specific and streamlined, so you don’t waste logistics, money, time, and ultimately people.


3. Assign tasks that engage your leased staff’s minds and imaginations. A research involving offshore and BPO employees in India shows 23.5 % of offshore workers either leave work on their own or are terminated because they’re doing work they’re not interested in. This helps to explain why India’s attrition rate is the highest in the world. Experts discovered it’s not even remotely related to compensation issues. Offshore and staff-leased workers know they’re not supposed to expect long benefits such as those given by traditional companies, but doing work that they personally like is crucial in having them come back next day.


4. Make the “workplace” fun. How the workplace is run is also critical in bringing out the best of your offshore and leased team. That’s why many look to offshore and staff leased work as a part-time job. If you have an offshore and leased team working full time, make them feel at home. Let them like your “workplace” by treating them like family. Talk to them on a personal level as often as you can, initiate fun ideas yourself (even if you’re not “there”), and give them some “alone time” if there’s a need to.


5. Reward excellent work. The reward shouldn’t be money all the time. It could come in many forms such as a paid short break, a personal gift from you, and many other feel-good items. Sometimes a glib praise is all it takes!


Times are hard (but since when was it authentically great anyway?), and many sink in the manhole along the way. Keep yourself afloat and fluid—and get the upper hand—by getting the message across sharp and clear.