Be it the Monday after the Super Bowl or any other Monday throughout the year - contact centers are normally struggling with high staff absenteeism at the start of the week. What can you do about it?
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High Absenteesim on Mondays
Especially on the Monday following the Super Bowl, also called Super Bowl Smunday, many will call in sick. According to a 2016 Kronos survey millions and millions of individuals will call out or miss work the day after the Super Bowl. The report also mentioned that millions of fans representing one of the two teams in the big game have already requested the day off in preparation for a non-productive Monday. And in addition to those who will call out and take the day off, there will also be those who simply arrive late on Super Smunday.
The food producing giant Kraft Heinz even launched a tongue-in-cheek campaign in 2016 to make the day after the Superbowl a National Holiday and created a website for the petition to send to congress, www.Smunday.org
For those of us in the call and contact center world, whether it is a Holiday or not the service and staffing must go on.
Learn all about employee engagement. Read and download "The Ultimate Guide to Improve Employee Engagement in the Contact Center".
How to raise agent engagement on Mondays
Job enrichment for high performers
One of the most common reasons that an employee leaves or calls in sick to a call center is the monotonous nature of the work. Workplace boredom is particularly common in call centers and can be a major cause of turnover. Your job as a leader, manager, or supervisor is to identify when the job is becoming too routine for an employee and to find ways to enrich the job.
It may be that all the other aspects of the job are fine. The position may provide good wages and benefits, enjoyable co-workers, adequate job security, and a good company reputation. However, the job itself may simply not provide the stimulation and sense of achievement that many people need in order to justify them staying with the job.
Unfortunately, the employees that this boredom is most likely to affect are your good performers. They are likely the creative, energetic ones and will also be the ones that need personal challenge and growth to stay satisfied. That point at which they feel that they have outgrown the job is the point at which they will likely consider leaving. Even if they don’t physically leave, they may check out psychologically, as evident by absenteeism and declining scores.
How to go about it
Your role is to find ways to provide job enrichment. The key is to change some of the content in the agents’ jobs or change some of the processes. Job enrichment generally involves allowing employees to take on different tasks and responsibilities or to accomplish them in ways that promote more personal autonomy and creativity.
There is no recipe for enrichment. The right set of ingredients will be different for each person. Once again, the key to tailoring this job enrichment is to ask each employee questions like:
- What talents do you have that you currently don’t use?
- Which of your talents are put to best use here?
- What about the job do you find rewarding and what is boring for you?
- In what areas would you like to have increased responsibility?
- What would you like to be doing a year from now? Three years? Five years?
The idea is to work with your employees and help them evaluate their jobs and ideas for enrichment. Many of their ideas will likely revolve around the following themes:
- Greater autonomy, need for empowerment, and more ownership of processes
- Participation in decisions related to work processes
- Opportunities to work with team members or other departments
- Increased variety in tasks
- Opportunities to learn new skills
How to prepare for Super Bowl Smunday
In the short term, here are some ideas for your call center in preparation for the day after the Super Bowl:
- Communicate ahead of time the company expectations in regards to Monday
- Identify staff that are fans of one of the two teams who are playing. Talk to them in advance as they are the ones most likely to stay at home.
- Teach frontline staff “The Power of One”, and the difference one agent can make
- Celebrate Monday with an event by bringing breakfast and/or lunch for the staff to boost the overall morale for the day
- Use your WFM tool to analyze historical workloads on previous Super Monday and employee absenteeism
There are many reasons why turnover and absenteeism is so high in the call center industry. Some of the reasons are under your control and are “fixable”, while some must be chalked up as simply costs of doing business. One of the responsibilities of the managers and supervisors in the call center is to consistently assess the reasons why people leave the center and call in sick. Perhaps more importantly, it’s also critical to talk to happy staff and find out what keeps them there.
This article could also be interesting for you: 8 Ways to Improve Call Center Employee Engagement
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Originally published on Jan 31, 2017, updated on May 24, 2021.