Retention of Employees in Call Centres
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Chapter 1 INTRODUCTION
In the 21st century every child or adult have their own personal computers and ways of communication have been made easier with the help of email, mobile phones and faxes. These are adopted from Information Technology (IT) industries. The main concern of IT industries is to make life easy for the people. Information Technology can be defined as "the branch of engineering that deals with the use of computers and telecommunications to retrieve and store transit information." (Wisegeek, N.D.)
Call centres are a part of the IT industries, which is the most blooming sector and the role of these call centres is to make life easy to customers. Call centres are the upcoming field of employment for youngsters in Information Technology. Recruitment to get into a BPO (Business Process Organization) is done on the basis of qualification and good communication skills. BPO's are the fastest growing segments in Information Technology Enabled Services (ITES). These BPO's are striving out a new exposure of the westernized working environment that could lead to a few problems in other countries. Although it has a good side by providing a good pay and a better life style for the individuals, on the other side there are still some diplomatic problems that could be identified. Most researches are done on stress, physical and psychological problems that are faced by the employees. An article in the journal, An Exploration of Occupational Hazards in BPO industry, states, "Majority of employees were found to have physical health, socialization and stress related problems due to their job." (Vashistha, 2008)
Competition is more in today's world and organizations are trying to build a competitive advantage through more employees who are often challenged. These individuals try to be the best in their respected fields and give their best for the organization. As the competition between organizations increases the competition for the individuals also increase. The IT industry is one of the leading industries in the world and every company needs an IT section that plays a vital role as it controls most of the organization. As it is this is the most wanted sector in every organization, the pay for employees is also expected to be high. In an IT sector, there are a number of employees who although start as freshers and will expect to get a better income as the years of experience increase (Employee Engagement Report 2008 Published May 2008).
India has become the hub to start IT industries in the world. India is one of the developing countries and allows foreigners to commence large MNC's as it will reduce the unemployment level and would help the educated to get immediate jobs after education. Most global organizations have always preferred outsourcing Call centres in India. The reason to it would be that India has the second most 'English speaking population' after the USA. There are various other reasons such as skilled labour, educated workforce, etc. India's large number of educated workforce will not reduce, as there is always been an increasing number of students graduating every year.
It is difficult to take the analysis of the entire country as is too broad and vast to cover. There are many IT companies in India; Chennai is a part of Southern India that consists of many call centres. New IT companies emerge every week and a few get closed too. E.g. Call centres in Chennai have become very popular within students and graduates, who have just completed their course. They are given a reasonable pay as fresh employees, in course of time only a few employees stick to the organization and most employees take it as 'a fill in job' or they shift to another company because they are paid higher than its previous employer.
The following section will outline how the dissertation will be structured. This will include the following: the research question, research objectives, scope, methodology, benefits and justification. A good dissertation will attempt to answer the research question and will provide a conclusion based on both secondary and primary information.
This dissertation will help us to find out the retention of employees in IT industry (Call centres) by considering a MNC in Chennai (India), (Sutherland). This large MNC (Multi National Companies) would be used as a case in this research. Below are a few key issues that will be addressed in the dissertation process:
- To find out ways to improve strategies in retaining employees in call centres.
- To study the various reasons and the need for jumping to different organisation---is it only money or...
- Is Hierarchal Phenomenon the cause of employees to shift?
The purpose of doing a research is to answer the proposed research questions in a dissertation. The research questions will articulate the research problem giving various findings and suggestions. The following are the research questions for this dissertation; these questions will help the researcher to get valid information of the employees and the HR team in the organization. Information from the HR team would give the researcher suggestions and methods based on retention strategies.
- Does the organisation take any steps to retain their staff?
- Why is the retention of an employee, a hectic problem in an IT (Call centre) than any other sector?
The aim of the dissertation is to critically assess and evaluate HR strategies used in Indian call centres, in specific to improve staff retention rates.
The research objectives are subjected to the purpose of the research; these objectives give an outline of a dissertation.
The main objectives in this dissertation are:
- To carry out a critical review of the literature on staff retention
- To identify and assess reasons for poor retention rates in the IT industry.
- To identify and evaluate strategies to improve employee retention rates in the IT industry.
- To provide conclusions based on both secondary and primary evidence
- To make relevant recommendations for improving employee retention rates based on the conclusions arrived at.
Benefits of the research:
The benefits of the research help in giving the company a better understanding of the employee status. E.g. do employees want to quit the job and shift to other companies? This research would help the organisation to identify key issues faced by employees in terms of retention that will enable them to improve their retention rates. Employee retention is a large cost to some companies and by improving retention rates, it can be argued that costs can be controlled and which in turn will improve the effectiveness of the organisation. India is a developing country and IT is a major source for all MNC's. The research would consist of a case study on an IT company. The scope in this research is referred only with respect to the place chosen for the research (India). The scope of an organisation is dependable on geographic location and the culture of the people. Scope depends on the people and the location of the organisation, such that the scope in India for Biotechnology is less when compared to U.S. More problems can arise due to the involvement of different cultures in one organisation.
The rationale of my research will provide an analysis for human resource planning on employee retention in the IT industry. This will also help to identify the HR practices and whether these can be improved. This dissertation will consist of a detailed research and analysis on IT Company chosen (Located in Chennai, India).
Background to the company
Sutherland is a BPO that is operating in Chennai (India), it was first established in New York by Rochester in the year 1986. The branch in Chennai was opened in the year 2000 and was the first offshore facility to be opened in India. Many other branches were opened in course of time in different countries such as Canada, Mexico Bulgaria and Philippines. Sutherland employs 24,000 professionals offering rich services from its 24/7 delivery centres globally (Sutherland, 2009).
Sutherland won the award; 'Employer of the year' in 2009. They state that their employees are given the best of training to excel in their field, either in terms of business methodologies or technology. Sutherland offers front office and back office services that provide customers a better service.
CHAPTER 2 Review of literature
Carsen, 2005 states that employee retention refers to the possible number of employees that stay around for a given duration of time. In simple words employee retention could be defined as a process in which the employees are encouraged and motivated to stay with the organization. Employee retention is important and beneficial for the organization.
This dissertation deals with call centres, which is a part of the IT industry. Call centres are defined as "specialized organizational units providing telephone-based customer services" (Kleemann & Matuschek, 2002, p.41). Call centres are a part of the IT sector and are of two types and they are outbound and inbound call centres. They usually operate 24/7 a week i.e. 365 days a year. (Marr & Neely, 2004).
IMPORTANCE OF EMPLOYEE RETENTION
Employee retention plays a vital role in every organization. Mobley, 1982 states that employee turnover may be important to some organizations and a few individuals. From the organizational perspective employee turnover can represent a significant cost in terms of recruiting, training, socialization and disruption, as well as a variety of indirect costs.
There are many reasons for an employee to leave an organization and it could be due to age, length of service, organizational sector & size, occupational group and geographic location. The problems that arise of poor retention should be assessed within the norms of a given external labour market. (Evans 2001)
Models and Theories on employee retention:
There is a reason for companies to retain their top most employees. There are several models that are being followed in retaining the top most employees. There are few common hiring models that are being used by organizations for employee retention. Each has its own advantage and all serve the purpose to get hold of maximum employee retention. The following are the models, which are being used commonly.
The classic model- Core employees.
The above model works best with senior management, where one would require a person's full time work and attention. This is best suitable for core activities within the organization and proprietary activities such as trade secret within the organization. Many organizations do make the mistake by assuming that core employee model is the only retention model and the organization tries to fit in all jobs within it. It is important for an organization to understand and follow the hiring models appropriately.
This type of model usually involves in sharing a job within the family. This model best fits in call centres as in this industry continuity is not mush required. On the whole this model cannot work for short shift works; for example; an advertising team launching a new advertisement cannot offer job sharing-posts, as the continuity of the job is very much required. Job sharing is a success in certain cases such as when there is no much need of individual continuity with customers or with a third party and when the degree of interaction is low between the employee and the consumer. This type of model makes employees feel at home and have very less probability in them leaving the job, as they are comfortable with it and it usually works within families.
Many educated individuals in the IT industry do not like to work full time for a particular organization as these employees enjoy working as part-timers in more than one organization, these type of employees are called free agents. This is the next step to flexible work with respect to job satisfaction. These types of free agents are not given a usual salary but they are paid on their results that they produce. This model is not business orientated but it is project orientated and it attracts the employee to do the job as it a likely interest. These employees usually stay with the organization only if they are recognized for their work.
The above three models not only explains the different types of employees in an organization but also explains how to retain employees according to the type of sector that is best suitable for the individual, the question arises only when the organization gets an employee from outside to do the job of the organization. These kinds of employees are taken only for a specific duration by different organizations or individuals. This model best works with low value transaction, low-tech uncomplicated activities and non-critical activities. Many organizations have concluded that it is not possible to motivate and train employees for specified jobs, so they agree with outsourcing. (McKeown, 2002)
Svyantek & McChrystal, 2007, p.225, shows in his book, a new model of retention, which is very different from the above models. In this model he states "employees retain the jobs because they are self-concept-job fit and an experienced meaningful work." Self-concept-job fit is a method in which the human relations professionals input the meaningful work in employees. Horgans & Roberts, 2000 have stated that the future should focus into the concept of self-concept-job fit either in existing or after recruiting employee.
The above models are different from each other and each of them fits best for different kinds of organizations. The best suitable model must be used in order to retain their employees and get high job performance from them. Though we cannot satisfy all individual needs there are certain general factors that we can get rid of so that the employees who are working, feel at home. After one executes a type of model into an organization it is important that the employees are satisfied with the type of job that an individual is doing. Job satisfaction is related to employee retention and for an employee to retain in the organization the individual must be satisfied but the job.
Job satisfaction is very important to all employees and it is defined as "the extent to which a person derives pleasure from a job" (Muchinsky, 1993, p. 290). Locke (1969 as cited in Friday & Friday, 2003, p. 429) defines job satisfaction "as a pleasurable or positive emotional state resulting from the appraisal of one's job." Job satisfaction may be one of the most ideal characters for the employees to work in an organization. As job satisfaction is the most vital key for an employee to stay with an organization for a long-term relation. Spector (1997, p.5) comments, "Job satisfaction is the degree to which people like their jobs." Attitudes towards job satisfaction differ between employees and may change in the course of time. A number of researchers have done research on job satisfaction and each researcher has given a unique definition for job satisfaction. Agho, Muller and Price (1992) stated that job satisfaction is the extent to which an employee likes the job.
Ashp (2008, p. 323) states "Job satisfaction is important to retention; although the relationship may be direct or indirect." With Employee satisfaction, an organization deals with employee's opinions and work process such as workload distribution, schedule (work timings) schedule and flexibility and internal communications. But the frequently asked question by everyone; ' Are we satisfied with the job that we are doing.'
Most say that Job satisfaction in an organization is not a problem but a symptom within the organization. However one can describe job satisfaction can go up and down by the hour independently of the ones work's performance. Mullin's states, " Job satisfaction is necessary in order to achieve a high level of motivation and job performance"(Mullin 2007, p. 277). It is not possible for low performance employees to get high job satisfaction.
A report published on May 2008 states that there is a clear correlation between employee engagement and employee retention, the writer states that 85% of engaged employees were indicating that they plan to stay with their employer through 2008. The report states that an effective employee retention strategy is based on employee engagement. (Blessing White, 2008)
Theories on job satisfaction:
Job satisfaction can be defined as one's attitude towards one's job. Job satisfaction pays much relation with retention as it is the attitude that the person gains with the job attained and this makes the employee decide whether to stay or not (Weiss, 2002). There are several theories on job satisfaction a few of them are listed below.
Locke's Range of Affect Theory (1976) is the famous theory of job satisfaction in which the theory gives an explanation of what one wants from the job. The theory gives views of the dissatisfaction level and satisfaction level of an employee working. The theory states the facet of work, for e.g. the degree of autonomy of position decides the employee to stay or leave. If an individual were satisfied with the job, then the individual would give his best in the job he is doing in the organization.
This is a basic theory that explains the nature of similar identities such as two twins are alike to think the same but in process they tend to end up with different results. Hence job satisfaction for each employee is quite different. This theory was narrowed down by Judge (1992) by his model called the Core self evaluation model, where in the theory states 'the higher levels of self esteem and self efficacy would result in high job satisfaction levels.'
Two-factor theory (Motivator hygiene theory)
This theory has taken two variables (Satisfiers and Dissatisfiers) and the theory states that 'factors causing these two variables are different and it is these factors that are responsible for an individual's satisfaction or dissatisfaction of the job.' Satisfiers or motivators are satisfied with their job in presence or absence of a working condition corresponding to the higher levels of Maslow's hierarchy of needs. And the dissatisfiers or hygiene factors, which correspond to the lower levels of Maslow's hierarchy, are not satisfied with the job when they are adequate or in an inadequate working condition. (Ellis, 2005)
Job characteristics model
Hackman and Oldham introduced the Job characteristics model that is used widely to study the job characteristics and job outcomes along with job satisfaction. This model derives and states that there are five characteristics; i.e. skill, task, significance, autonomy, and finally feedback. These characteristics combine to give three physiological states; experienced meaningfulness, experienced responsibility for outcomes and knowledge of the actual results that influence job satisfaction and motivation. This framework of five characteristics can be combined to form Motivation Potential Score (MPS). (Hackman & Oldham 1976)
One's attitude towards one's job is defined as job satisfaction. These theories cannot change the attitude of the individual but can help the individual to get settled with the job. Evans (1998, p. 19) states, "Job satisfaction increases with age, job values remain constant with age and job reward increase with age."
Certain factors usually affect an individual's job and this will affect the willingness of the individual to carry on working. E.g., in call centres, high stress is a factor that affects employees' performance; it is because of this factor that most employees may not be satisfied with their jobs. It is important that the organization take necessary steps to solve the problem else many employees would leave the organization.
Factors affecting employee retention:
There are several factors that affect the growth and development of an individual's carrier. If an employee cannot see his future ahead in the organization, there are a number of reasons for him to leave the organization. As these factors can affect the employees work profile, personal growths and dreams, training and development which consists of communication skills, technical skills, procedure improvement skills and skills from special projects.
As this dissertation deals with Information Technology (IT) let us consider the factors that affect the employees working in Call-centres. An article by Krishnan & Jagadeesan G. on Employee Satisfaction in Knowledge Industry shows the factors that affect employees and the cause of turnover in IT industries (Call centres). He states that surveys have revealed that 42.35% were found working at odd times which were the main causes for high turnover and stress disorders. In terms of job satisfaction and retention rates, while the future of the BPO industry appears bleak unless suitable changes like job rotation and intellectual pursuit in the job content are brought about, the lookout in the manufacturing and the IT sectors are promising." (Krishnan, 2008)
The most common factors that affects retention of employees is:
- Length of service
- Industry sector
- Organization size
- Occupational group
- Geographic location
A survey done by CIPD (2006) on 'Employee attitudes and engagement of employees in UK' shows the factors responsible for employees to leave the organization, such as older employees are engaged more than younger employees, women are equally engaged with men, management of the organization, leadership and communication, job satisfaction, length of service, stress and involvement. In this survey, the results show that a lot of stress is given to the employees and this is due to the absence of employees and the pressure from senior employees. This survey will be done to analyse few of the researcher's findings.
Employee retention strategy:
Retention strategies are less effective than recruitment and training strategies. Case study agencies have also agreed with the same on an industry survey. The findings of retention activities are consistent with literature and it is identified that retention is a weak link in the employment cycle. "Retention strategies that all organizations include are employee engagement, employee orientation and employee recognition" (Davis, 2002, p.41). Each of these employee strategies helps the employee to connect with a goal in the organization.
Researchers have done research and are doing research on how to retain employees for the company one is working for. The below are the findings from an article on the web which show the ways in retaining the employees.
- 60 years of research have shown that only research-based and theory-supported approaches will help in improving employee engagement, as employee engagement will improve retention strategies, by offering compliments, such as the best employee of the month, giving prizes and suggestion boxed.
- Short-term gifts or prizes such as the above do not help the employee to stay with the organization for long.
- The responsibility taken to create the change and implementing it will assure improved understanding and support from the employees in all aspects.
- Loyalty and commitment are significance to the employees working in an organization. Action oriented approaches will help the organization in order to move forward quickly. As this would bring an organization with best development practices to effectively build a high retention culture (Employee Retention Strategies, N.D.).
Employees play an important role in every organization and are responsible for the growth of the organization; hence it is important that the employers retain their employees. The above findings describe a few strategies on how to retain employees. It is found that Employee Retention is not given much importance when comparing with recruitment and training processes.
The above text states that employee engagement is related with employee retention, change in retention strategy will improve employee engagement. These findings will help the researcher in building a strong questionnaire as the previous researches have already showed good results. Keeping these results aside it would be easier to attain the research goal, as the path would be specific with no variation in between. It is only by research new strategies are found and changes are made in existing strategies to satisfy employees. These findings would give the researcher more space in finding the problems in deep, apart from the regular ones. In this dissertation, Sutherland (a call centre) is taken as the case study to find out and improve the retention strategies that are being followed with reference to the ancestral methods.
Few common strategies on employee retention are
- Retention focused recruitment.
- Retention focused orientation.
- Job sculpting
- Retention focused Managing
- Retention focused Career support
- Work life balance measures
- Retention focused rewards
- Retention focused communication.
The above are few strategies that are commonly used by organizations to retain employees by giving them high level of job satisfaction. As this dissertation is concerned with the IT sector let us see in detail the retention strategies that are used in IT (call centres) for retaining the employees.
As this dissertation consists of a case study of a call centre, the researcher can examine what strategies could be used for retaining employee in this sector. An article published on the Internet shows a few strategies on how to retain the employees in a call centre. The job satisfaction of the employee will result in the performance of the employee which will give the employee a better working environment and henceforth which will result in customer satisfaction and productivity. A few ways of satisfying employees include:
- Recruit people who value work.
- Clarify expectations.
- Provide good and specific job training.
- Reward the employees for high performance.
The above are few key elements that used to satisfy employees in the IT industry. There could be more elements that can satisfy employees and help the organization my retaining the employees. This research would help in finding more ways to satisfy employees so that they do not have to leave the organization. Interviews and questionnaires with the lower level and top-level of the organization will help attaining the research purpose and meet the research objectives. The findings from the questionnaire would be used to frame the structure of the interview. The interview will be taken with an agent, team leader and an HR team member of the organization.
The Review of Literature in this dissertation helps to give an understanding of what is meant by employee retention and the existing models and concepts that being used such as strategies and techniques. Theories on job satisfaction helped the researcher in finding out the importance of job satisfaction with employee retention. Existing research-based theories on retention strategies were included so that the researcher will be able compare the primary findings with it. It would also be useful to find out, whether the existing strategies found by researchers are sufficient to maintain employee retention or changes should be made to the theories. These existing theories on employee retention, job satisfaction and retention strategies would give the researcher abundant satisfaction and confidence in moving towards the research as all the aspects of retention have been covered. Theories and models used in the review of literature gives a brief idea of the strategies that are being used in organizations and could be compared to one of the existing models.
The contents in the review of literature could be compared to the case study companies to find the changes that are necessary and why does it need it. The researcher concludes by stating that the Review of Literature helps to achieve the aim of the dissertation in this research.
CHAPTER 3 Research Methodology
Clough and Nutbrown, 2007, p.5 states "research is the investigation of an idea, subject or topic for a purpose." Research is used to investigate a topic or a theory in depth to get a better understanding in detail. The term research is a way of describing systematic investigation of a theory or area of activity. Although all research cannot be measured, a few can be scientifically measured or data collected and can be analysed to identify differences.
Approach to the research
Deductive and Inductive approach
There are two types of approaches in doing a research, i.e. deductive and inductive methods. It depends on the researcher whether to choose a deductive approach or inductive approach. In deductive approach, the researcher develops a theory and designs a research strategy that analyses the hypothesis and in inductive approach, the researcher collects data from by various methods of research and end up with the hypothesis based on the data analysis.
Deductive approach involves the improvement or development of a theory that is subjected to tests. Nwokah et al., 2009, p.4, states, "Laws present the basis of explanation, allow the anticipation of phenomena, predict their occurrence and therefore fore permit them to be controlled".
5 stages in which deductive approach will progress.
- Deducing a hypothesis from a theory.
- Exposing the hypothesis in operational terms, which propose a relationship between two specific concepts or variables.
- Testing this operational hypothesis.
- Examine the outcome obtained from the inquiry.
- If necessary modifying the theory in the light of the findings."(Saunders et al., 2007, p. 117)
Inductive approach is opposite to deductive approach; inductive approach starts with the collection of data that it is added to form a theory or hypothesis. The following is an inductive approach for analysis for a qualitative evaluation data is described. The reasons to use an inductive approach are (a) it compresses textual data into a summary format (b) provide links within the research objectives and findings that are derived from the data and (c) a framework can be developed of the structure of processes that are evident in the data (Thomas, 2006).
The inductive approach provides an easy systematic set of procedures for analyzing qualitative data that can produce reliable and valid findings. The inductive approach is not as strong as some other analytic strategies for theory or model development, it does provide a simple and straightforward approach for deriving findings in the context of focused evaluation questions. Many evaluators are likely to use the inductive approach, as it is less complicated than using other approaches to qualitative data analysis (Schutt, 2006).
The type of method used in this research is a deductive approach. There are theories and models that relate with employee retention that are used by companies to retain employees and new strategies are also being evolved during course of time. And these principles are used as the base or the platform to the research. In terms of the research, the researcher would follow the deductive approach as it would be the best suitable for this dissertation. In this case the researcher would review the theories on employee retention strategies and theories subjected to cause employee retention such as job satisfaction. The researcher would also test these theories to hypothesis that is deduced. Though the approach is deductive, it is important to choose the best suitable methodology for the research.
The most difficult part for the researcher is to choose the right methodology for the research. The research methodology that is chosen for the research must be able to dig out the answers that are to be found for the research. This dissertation aims in finding out the reason for employees to quit or jump to other companies in the IT industry (call centres). The dissertation also concentrates on the HR department by looking at the different steps taken to retain to retain employees. The methodology that will be used in this dissertation will be a mixed method. Both qualitative and quantitative research methods have equal roles to play in this research, as it would help the research in finding its aim and the research purpose.
There are three types of research methods and they are Quantitative research, qualitative research and mixed methods.
Denzin (2004, p.2) states, "Qualitative research is a multi method in focus which involves an interpretative and naturalistic subject to the subject matter." Qualitative research engages with only natural settings such as already studied material, experience, life story, observation and meaning in people's lives
Daniel Muijs (2004, p.1) states, " Quantitative research is explaining phenomena by collecting numerical data that are analysed mathematically based methods in particular statistics." The use of Quantitative research is to get a statistical figure but as for qualitative it is not possible to get a numerical value. Qualitative data are not always or usually numerical; hence a statistical figure is not possible. In the case of Quantitative it is a mathematically analysed data. E.g., how many males will pass MBA in UWIC when compared to females?
This is a method to collect data by using a combination or two methods. Creswell, 2003 states that Qualitative and Quantitative methods when combined in one research is called as Mixed Methods. This type of method helps to go in depth of the problem and get specific answers when analysed. As for this dissertation is concerned, the research methodology being used is a mixed research method. This method will help the researcher in getting both types of data, as it is very much necessary for the research and would help in finding the research purpose. Both Qualitative and Quantitative have equal priority in this dissertation; the quantitative data gathered in the beginning of the stage would be analysed to obtain a numerical data that would be presented in the form of statistical graphs. With the help of these results the structure of the interview could be formed and qualitative data would be gathered and analysed to conclude. (Creswell, 2003)
DATA COLLECTION METHODS:
The purpose to collect data is to identify and investigate the prime factors that affect Employee retention in call centres. By analyzing the data collected, the factors and variables will be identified and when these findings are compared to the existing theories and models, in the review of literature. This will help the organization in either eliminating or adding certain elements that cause employees to leave the organization and will minimize the number of employees leaving the company. There are various methods in collecting data; questionnaires and interviews (primary data), and secondary sources were chosen.
Primary Data Sources:
The random sampling method was used to collect data with subject to the availability of the employees. The population for this survey consisted of 180 employees. The questionnaire was electronically sent to the employees of a population of 100 employees. But only 86 replied out of the distributed size. The sample size chosen was 86 in order to acquire a reasonable rate for the research and validate my results. In the attained sample size 54 were agents and 32 employees were from the HR department.
Questionnaire is a quantitative research method. Ranjith Kumar 2005, p. 126, states, " A questionnaire is a written list of questions." In questionnaires, it is important that the respondents understand the questions in the questionnaire, as the researcher cannot explain them. Hence it is important that the list of questions is clear in the questionnaire are easy to understand. Semi-Structured questionnaire are two types, open-ended and closed-ended.
The possibility to get responses in detail is got from an open-ended questionnaire. This type of questionnaire gives in-depth information to each question asked by the researcher, as the respondents can write their own views for each question. Where as in closed-ended question, the responses are narrowed down and brief. The respondent has choices to make in the questionnaire and tick the best suitable answer for every question.
Closed-ended questions were chosen in this research, this type of questionnaire does not deviate from the topic as it gives brief and accurate answers in accordance to the mindset of the researcher. Lack of employee retention may be due to various reasons such as job satisfaction, money, late shifts, and many more. This semi-structured closed-ended question will help in figuring out the possible reasons to retention of employees in Call centres. These close-ended questions were done in a Likert question format, this was used as it a easy way to evaluate the responses from the respondents rather than using any other type of questionnaire.
Conversation is the basic mode to interact with each other in terms of human interaction. Human beings converse with each other by posing or answering question, one can learn a lot through conversation. " The use of Interviews as a research method is nothing mysterious: An interview is a conversation that has a structure and a purpose." The topic that is to be interviewed is done by the researcher and controls the interview by posing questions that is followed up with the answers given by the respondent. (Kvale, 1996, p.6).
Interviews are a qualitative research method and are a rich source of data that are gathered. Saunders refers an interview to a communication event, there are several types of interviews that exist and they are categorized as structured, semi-structured and unstructured interviews. (Saunders et al., 2000). Furthermore interviews can be classified into one-to-one meetings, face-to-face meetings and via telephone. (Piekkari &Welch, 2004).
Telephonic interviews were done with three employees working in the Sutherland. It was important to cover the lower and top-level management such as the senior employees and a HR team member. The interview questions were structured depending on the results that were obtained from the quantitative questionnaire method. It was important to consider those results as it helped the researcher in narrowing down the questions that were to be asked to the respondent. There were three interviews done in this research. The names of the employees who were interviewed will not be displayed or given due to confidentiality reasons of the organization. An agent, a supervisor (team leader) and a senior HR team member were the job titles of the people that the researcher interviewed in this research. All the three interviews were telephonic interviews and with the help of modern technology (such as a voice recorder phone), the researcher was able to record the telephonic calls.
Two different methodologies were used to collect primary data. These data were analysed to obtain a result that would conclude the dissertation. The questionnaires were first distributed electronically to 100 employees out of whom only 86 employees responded, hence the 86 results were considered as the sample size. The responses obtained from the questionnaire were analysed to obtain valid results and the results were used to design the structure of the interview; the responses obtained from the interviews were analysed and concluded with a result in accordance to the research aim and objectives. The data obtained from the responses of the questionnaires were drawn on statistical charts (i.e. pie chart, bar chart, etc.) to make the designing of the interview structure easier and narrowed. The sample size chosen for questionnaires was 86 in order to acquire a reasonable rate of response from the employees. The responses of the questionnaires guided the researcher to frame the structure of the interview that was taken with three employees. These interviews were recorded and carefully analysed that gave a conclusion.
According to Gray (2004), all research findings should have some validity with respect to the research area. In this dissertation the findings obtained are valid and are subjected to Employee Retention in IT Industry (Call Centre). There are a few researches that have already been done on topics related to employee retention and their results shown in the research were in accordance to their aim and purpose of the research. The results obtained in this dissertation are not biased results as the result is valid and concludes to the aim of the research.
Ethics of the research
The researcher has taken care in maintaining the ethical standard of research, as the researcher has also followed the ethical standards of UWIC. The researcher has met all the conditions that were raised by the organization in order to maintain the confidentiality. The confidentiality of the company's ethical standard was met, as the researcher was not allowed to display names of any employees working in the organization. The samples that were collected during the interview are kept confidential, as the names of the people interviewed were not revealed but the job titles of the individuals were given. The researcher collected primary data from Sutherland, Chennai. The researcher has mentioned the job positions of the employees (data analysis) from who the primary data was collected. They job titles were an agent, a team leader and an HR team member.
CHAPTER 4 Data Analysis
This chapter deals with the analysis of the data that was collected by using the methods mentioned in the previous chapter. 12 closed ended questions were framed in one questionnaire and were sent electronically to 100 employees working in Sutherland, Chennai. However only 86 responded to the questionnaires. These 12 questions covered the research aim and research purpose. The sample size chosen for the quantitative research method was 86 and 3 interview sessions were also involved in the qualitative research process. The research adopts thematic analysis technique in this chapter.
Questionnaires and Analysis
The questions framed in the questionnaire were sent to the respondents electronically via email. The researcher designed the questionnaire by keeping in my mind the aim and objectives of the research; all the questions framed were in a particular format, i.e. the likert table format. The quantitative research was represented statistically on charts that were analysed thoroughly. The questionnaire covered the section as shown, for further reference the questionnaire is attached in the appendix.
- Attitude of the organization towards employee retention.
- Reasons for the employees to shift from one organization to another in Call Centres.
Semi-structured interview and analysis:
Three interviews were taken in accordance to the Hierarchical order of the organization. The first interview was taken with an employee (agent) who is working with the organization for 3 years, the second interview was taken with the team leader who had been working with two other call centres previous to this organization and the final interview was taken with an HR team member. All of them were semi-structured interviews and were recorded via phone. Each interview lasted 5 to 7 minutes approximately. All the three interviews were taken according to increase in hierarchy. The interview was based on finding out the retention strategies used by the organization to retain employees.
The names of the people interviewed will not be displayed due to confidentiality reasons as mentioned in the research methodology; hence the job title or job position held by employees are mentioned. The people interviewed were an agent, a team leader and an HR team member. The actual conversation that had taken place during the interview would be presented in the appendix as a transcript and the questions that were asked would not be displayed in the discussion. In the discussion, the conversation in the interview would be discussed and analysed, further more the discussion would be interrelated with the review of literature.
The first interview was taken with an agent of Sutherland, basic questions were asked to him with respect to his position. 6 Questions were asked which were related to retention, stress, salary and benefits. The agent is working with the company for 3 years and he insisted that many of his colleagues have left the organization because they are not satisfied with the job or due to the stress level. He also states that the HR team is doing their best to retain the employees but it is the type of job that makes the employees leave.
The second interview, which lasted for 7 minutes approximately, was taken with a team leader working in Sutherland. 5 Questions related to employee retention, retention strategies, salary and culture were asked that were to the team leader. The responses given by him was similar to the ones obtained from the questionnaire. He insisted that salary is looked upon when comparing money with one's position in the company and he stated that the westernized culture that is being implemented on Indian companies do not affect the culture of India, as all the employees working in the organization are matured enough to understand the nature of the job. Neither the HR team nor the employees are to be blamed for the retention problems, as it is an individual's wish to work with the organization.
The third interview was taken with the top-level management such as an HR team member; he is responsible for recruiting and retaining employees for the organization. This interview lasted for 5 and half minutes. 6 questions were asked to him relating employee retention, employee strategies, job satisfaction, HR role and stress. He has been working with the organization for 6 years and his responses to the questions were very useful for the research. He states that regular employee retention strategies are carried on but in the course of time they make a few changes so that the employees are kept happy. For e.g. giving the employees a paid vacation or a bonus salary would encourage them to work for the organization. He also comments that employee retention in Sutherland is low, as the stress level in his company is high due to the absence of employees. Employees not turning up for work or giving lame excuses results in high stress for the employees working.
All the three interviews were structured based on the analysis of the questionnaire. The findings obtained from the research were pertained to the purpose of the research.
Questions 1, 4, 9 and 11 were related to employee retention and the HR department. In all these questions, majority of the employees agreed to the given statement in the questionnaire. From the interview it shows that the organization improves the retention strategy depending on the situation. Hence this could be said that the employee retention strategy is based on employee engagement. This finding is supported by a report released on employee engagement in May 2008 state that only research based and theory supported approving will be able to improve employee retention strategies in the organization.
Question 3 and 6 are related to salary; nearly 70% of the employees accept that salary is an important factor for employees to stay with the organization. They also agree that salary is much more important to the job position that is obtained. The same has been agreed in the interview with the team leader in which he says that salary is important and one has to be paid equivalent to the position of the individual.
Question 2 and 5 are ideal questions as they are related to stress in call centres. 95.3% of the employees' states that the level of stress is very high in call centres. Nearly 61.6% of the employees state that the work pressure in a call centre is not dependable on the gender. And the 3 interviews that were taken also showed an observation that the employees working in a call centre undergo a very high stress. This could be one of the reasons that most employees quit the organization and join an organization with low stress level.
Question 10 relates to Hierarchical order in the organization, employees very much agree that they quit the job due to hierarchical order of the employees in the organization. The results based on this and the conversation in the interview with the team leader shows that the fresh employees are not managed well whereas the seniors are given more care and consideration. This results in poor management level of the organization. The senior employees burden the fresh employees with high work pressure and the organization does not take any steps to stop it. The survey in CIPD 'Employee attitude and engagement, (2006)' also show results that the employees are not happy with the management and they suggest that it is a poor management.
Question 7,8 and 12 are related to job satisfaction and benefits. 96.5% of the employees state that the employee must be satisfied with the job when the individual is planning to work for a long term. The team leader, when interviewed stated that job satisfaction is a must and the employees must be satisfied with the job to perform well, as job performance of each employee is looked upon during the time of promotions. Locke states in his Affect theory that an individual would give his best performance only if the individual is satisfied with the job. Locke supports these findings as shown in the review of literature. Ashp supports this primary finding, Asph (2008, p. 323) states "Job satisfaction is important to retention; although the relationship may be direct or indirect."
Benefits are an important aspect in working with any organization. 75.4% of the employees agree that senior employees are given better benefits and 97.6% of the sample size agrees that the employees stick with an organization with the benefits too. When the HR team member was interviewed he stated that bonus packages such as holidays, promotions and salary hike is an important aspect and is provided to the employees of his organization. He suggested that an employee would be more satisfied with his job as experience increases for the individual. As for this is concern the researcher agrees with the HR team member as Sutherland had attained the award of the year in 2008. It is shown in the CIPD results that older employees are engaged more than younger employees, Evans (1998, p.19) states, "Job satisfaction increases with age, job values remain constant with age and job reward increase with age." This statement agrees with the result obtained from the research.
In this chapter we have seen the factors that affect employee retention in IT industries (call centres). The findings obtained are pertained with the review of literature and it has been critically evaluated. The previous 3 chapters in this dissertation helped in finding the results that were obtained in this chapter. This chapter shows that job satisfaction and stress are important and the Hierarchy of employees in the management causes these due to pressure of senior employees and poor management level. It is also show that employee strategies are changed in accordance to time and with respect to the scenario that occurs. These strategies are made easier for employees to stick in the organization. Even though these strategies are made employees main concern is salary and a high percentage of the employees quit the organization due to salary and this must an ideal factor that must be looked upon by the organization and every employee must be recognized so the can retain in the organization.
CHAPTER 5 Findings
- Employees agree that the employee retention strategy needs to be changed in their organization.
- The research has shown that there is a high level of stress in the organization, and the stress equal for both male and female.
- The research proves that salary is the main concern and state that salary is looked into more than position. This is the reason why most employees jump to other organizations as they are paid more than the present organization with respect to position.
- The HR team needs to put in more efforts as the primary findings show that 60 % of the employees think that HR team does not take any initiatives to retain employees.
- 76 percentages of the employees say that senior employees get more benefit than the fresher, whereas 24 percentages of the employees disagree.
- All the employees, including the HR team member insist that one must be satisfied with the job in order to perform well or to remain in the organization.
- 53 employees say that the organization doesn't take any steps to retaining the employees, whereas 33 employees disagree.
- Most of the employees feel the hierarchal phenomenon in the organization makes them to leave the organization.
- 65 percentages of the employees feels that the HR team can able to stop them from leaving the job and the rest disagree.
- Primary findings also show that benefits are offered in accordance to the length of service and the employees insist that equal benefits must be given to the fresh blood(new employees), as this would boost the employees to stick within the organization.
It is important that the research purpose and objectives of the dissertation are met. This chapter will give a conclusion for the research.
Carry out a critical review of the literature on staff retention
It is shown in the review of literature that employee retention is dependable upon employee engagement. The review of literature helped the researcher in identifying the usual problems in employee retention. Journals and reports shown in the review of literature helped in comparing the findings of primary research. The various models of employee retention gave a brief idea to the researcher on how organisations usually retain employees. The researcher included materials of job satisfaction and employee retention strategies in chapter 2, which helped the researcher to relate them with the findings and find out new factors affecting employee retention. The research shows that the employee retention strategy is altered depending on the situation. The findings based on employee retention strategy agree with the review of literature. A report published on May 2008 depending on employee engagement which states that only research based and theory supported approving will be able to improve employee retention strategies in the organization. Hence this shows the research abides and agrees with the review of literature.
Identify and assess reasons for poor retention rates in the IT industry.
The research findings show that poor retention rates are mainly due to high stress, which in turn is caused by high work pressure and low level of job satisfaction of employees. It is also shown that senior employees are treated better than the fresh employees and they get better benefits, due to this, employees don't stick on the organisation for long. Findings from the secondary research also abide with this. In an article on employee retention by Krishnan & Jagadeesan (2008) state, "Surveys reveal that 42.35% find working at odd times the main reason for high turnover and stress- related disorders. In terms of job satisfaction and retention rates"
Findings also show that job satisfaction affects employee retention. Primary research findings show that job satisfaction is necessary for an individual to perform well in a call centre. The primary findings are supported strongly with the secondary research findings, Ashp (2008, p.323) states "Job satisfaction is important to retention; although the relationship may be direct or indirect." As per the secondary findings Svyantek & McChrystal, (2007, p.225,) shows in his book, a new model of retention, which is very different from the above models. In this model he states, "Employees retain the jobs because they are self-concept-job fit and an experienced meaningful work." This shows that the employee gives his best when he has some meaning in his work or in simple words; satisfaction is directly proportional to performance. Hence this makes the employee either to stay or quit. The findings show that only if the employee were satisfied with the job, the individual would be able to work in the organization or even perform well. It is shown in the CIPD results that older employees are engaged more than younger employees, Evans (1998, p. 19) states, "Job satisfaction increases with age, job values remain constant with age and job reward increase with age." This statement agrees with the result obtained from the research.
Identify and evaluate strategies to improve employee retention rates in the IT industry.
Since retention rates are low there must be a way to add on certain points as it can improve the existing strategy. The primary research findings show that a vast percentage of the employees are not satisfied with the retention strategy that is being implemented in the organisation, and many think that the organisation is being ignorant about the same. It is important that the retention strategies are improved and the employees along with HR team member agree that changes are made in the retention strategy for the improvement and happiness of the employees. The findings from the research show that the existing strategy of the company is being modified in accordance to situation, which helps the company to move forward quickly.
From the findings the researcher states that employee retention strategy is based on employee engagement. Henceforth the company will have a way to keep moving forward by doing certain changes, an article from the web as shown in Chapter 2 states, "Integrates hands-on, action-oriented approaches that enable organizations to move forward quickly and effectively" (Employee Retention Strategies, N.D.). Therefore both the primary and secondary findings conclude that existing strategy of the company should be modified in accordance to keep the organisation move forward.
Provide conclusions based on both secondary and primary evidence.
Primary and secondary research findings were obtained based on Employee retention. The primary research was done using questionnaires and interviews; the secondary research was obtained by using books, journals, electronic journals, websites and articles. The findings of the secondary research and primary research are similar in data and both have similar conclusions.
The dissertation aims in finding out improvement of strategies in call centres. It is shown in chapter 2 that employee retention strategy is totally based on employee engagement. An article from the web, Employee Retention Strategies, in which the author states only research-based and theory-supported approaches will help in improving employee engagement, supports the finding.
This shows that employee engagement is an important resource to improve strategy. The findings discussed in Chapter 4 show that employee engagement is important to improve retention strategy. As shown in the discussion (Questions 1,4,9 and 11 & Interview 3) that employee retention strategies are improved based on the situation as to keep the employee satisfied. All the objectives are done one the basis of primary and secondary evidence.
To find out ways to improve strategies in retaining employees in call centres.
It is important that organization suffering low retention rates must improve strategy. The findings discussed in Chapter 4 show that employee engagement is important to improve retention strategy. As shown in the discussion (Questions 1,4,9 and 11 & Interview 3) that employee retention strategies are improved based on the situation as to keep the employee satisfied.
From the findings of primary research and secondary research, the researcher concludes that employee engagement is a way in which the employee retention strategy can be improved. These findings result that when these are implemented in the organisation the employee and the employer can be ensured that no problems would occur. Actual changes would be supported by the organization. This is strongly supported by "Employee Retention Strategies, 2008" (Chapter 2), which also states that when change is implemented in employee retention strategies, better understanding and support is attained.
To study the various reasons and the need for jumping to different organisation---is it only money or...
From the discussion it is understood that salary is not the only reason for the employee to keep shifting, as it is shown that the employees are not happy with the hierarchy and the poor management level. The employees are not satisfied with the hierarchy as the senior employees pressurize the lower employees; this primary finding is supported by the secondary research. It is shown in chapter that stress is a factor that affects employee retention. The employees working in Sutherland have a high stress level (chapter 4), due to this the employees tend to shift.
The review of literature shows certain factors that could be possible for employees to quit; salary is given a high importance along with the stress level that is posed by the organization on employees. The dissertation aims in finding out strategies in improvement of call centres. In secondary findings Evans 2001 states that certain common factors such as Age factor, salary, length of service, etc are factors responsible for retention. The primary finding also show that the senior employees are benefited better than young employees (age factor& length of service) and the primary findings show that salary is of a great concern in this sector. Stress is also a factor found in the primary research that is major concern for employees to quit call centre jobs.
Is Hierarchal Phenomenon the cause of employees to shift?
The research shows that hierarchy is one of the causes for the employees to leave the organization as the employees get high stress from the senior employees and the employees state that there is a poor management level. Hence the purpose of the research has been attained.
The research purpose, objectives and research questions have been attained hence it is clear that the aim of the dissertation has also been achieved. Ways have been found to improve the retention strategy in IT industry (call centres) and the most important of all is that the reasons for low employee retention rates in IT industry.
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