Atelka was selected for this paper since it is considered a leader in relationship management in the field of customer service and business process outsourcing (BPO) within Canada. The company specializes in the provision of business process outsourcing services to companies.
Basically, they outsource the customer service departments of corporations within the U.S. to locations within Canada. This helps various companies to save millions of dollars in salary expenses due to the lower base salary range found in certain Canadian regions.
Based on the analysis of Echchakoui & Naji (2013), it was noted that the customer service industry that Atelka finds itself in is considered to be a “high churn” industry when it comes to human resources management. Churn rates refer to the number of employees that enter into a company versus the amount that leaves.
Industries that have low churn rates have relatively few employees that enter and leave the company. Examples of this can be seen in law firms, engineering firms and various specialist consultancy firms where employees tend to stay for decades. High churn rates, on the other hand, are instances where there is a high rate of employees leaving and entering the company.
Overall, it can be seen that Atelka applies a creative business strategy that provides a needed service to companies that are looking to lower their expenses. Taking this into consideration, this paper will examine their strategies and tactics in order to determine what sets Atelka apart from other customer care corporations.
What are their strategies and tactics?
When examining the strategies used by Atelka to retain employees, it can be seen that they do so by addressing the “opportunity factor” that Schaub (2008) explains is one of the main reasons why employees leave their jobs.
Studies such as those by Schaub (2010) have revealed that amongst all the previous generations of employees, it is the current generation (i.e., Generation Y) which is the more likely to leave a job for better opportunities as compared to the Millennials (i.e., employees born after the baby boomer generation).
This is not to say that this generation can be considered self-centered or disloyal, rather, from their perspective loyalty is measured by their level of productivity and performance and, as such, companies need to take this into consideration when devising the means to retain Generation Y employees (Schaub, 2010).
What you have to understand is that the customer service industry is notorious for its high churn rates due to the various pressures associated with the job (i.e. irate customers, the need to resolve issues in an expedient manner, etc.), low pay as well as the shifting schedules that customer service representatives need to put up with (i.e. having to work on weekends, during holidays, night shifts, etc.).
Despite being in such an industry, the data from Glassdoor.com (2013) shows that Atelka actually has one of the lowest employee churn rates out of any of its competitors. This is indicative of practices that have been put in place to hire and retain talented employees.
One of the primary tactics that they utilize are promotion based benefits, wherein Atelka gives rewards to their employees based on performance.
Rewards come in the form of a percentage-based salary increase, being able to choose the ideal schedule for your work week, getting several fully paid days off and other such benefits. These rewards are often given to employees who, through their metrics, have shown that they have gone over and beyond in their desire to work hard for the company.
Dissecting what they do and breaking it down and Analysis of Success
The following are the processes utilized by Atekla in their recruitment and employee management practices. This sections showcases what the company does in order to be successful in its industry:
Use of Performance-Based Advancement Opportunities
An examination of current practices by Atelka in their business process outsourcing and call center divisions within Canada reveals the use of performance-based advancement opportunities as a means of retaining employees (Training Millennials at Work: Strategies for Training a New Generation, 2010).
This process works by setting a series of performance metrics that each employee is rated by (i.e., on scale of performance that is determined by the HR department of the company) with an evaluation period coming once every 4 to 6 months.
Should that particular employee meet the metrics set by the company, they are immediately promoted to the next tier resulting in the possibility of reaching the position of an operations manager within one of the company’s many departments within the span of 2 years (Training Millennials at Work: Strategies for Training a New Generation, 2010).
Such a method presents itself as a quick opportunity for advancement and, as such, creates a certain degree of appeal for the current generation of employees that want quick advancement and opportunities rather than developing long term relationships with their companies (i.e., the practice utilized by Millennials).
Incentivized Hiring Practices
Aside from this, the company also employs a rather creative employee hiring tactic wherein they offer significant hiring bonuses that are equivalent to a quarter of a month’s salary should an employee pass the initial hiring stage (CBC News, 2013).
This tactic, which is often advertised in various newspapers, has been shown to be quite effective in bringing in talented employees that desire the rather large bonus that they can get immediately after being hired.
Overall, when examining the data that has been provided, it can be seen that Atelka has been doing a fantastic job in managing its human resources, which contributes considerably to its continued expansion and growth. This shows how proper employee management and recruitment strategies can have a positive impact on operational performance within a company.
What do they do well?
What Atelka does well has been the development of internal policies that allow a certain degree of flexibility when it comes to scheduling (i.e., having workers come in during peak customer service hours), time off and the implementation of worker based strategies for improving the performance of the company.
Based on the analysis of Thibodeau (2013), it was noted that the current generation of employees places a greater degree of importance on having adequate salaries and benefits.
This, above all else, is one of the benefits they greatly desire yet is often not provided to them within the corporate world. This often results in the development of resentment towards their jobs which eventually leads to a subsequent attempt to find a job with better opportunities and a far more flexible scheduling method.
By implementing such a method within Atelka, this ensures that current and future generation of workers that apply will be encouraged to stay longer since they would be getting the flexibility and salary range that they crave from their jobs.
Based on the analysis of Beer (2012), it was noted that employees often feel more motivated to stay and work for a company if they feel a degree of acknowledgment for their efforts. However, acknowledgement is often a facet of HR strategies that is missing in most companies.
Atelka addresses this through the use of acknowledgment reviews which are given to employees that have shown admirable performance in customer service and they are even openly acknowledged in monthly presentations and given rewards in front of the entire office. Through this strategy, employees feel like they are appreciated and thus are more likely to stay with the company (Beer, 2012).
What needs improvement?
Another benefit desired by Generation Y that is unique to this particular generation is their desire to remain constantly connected to various methods of social media. What you have to understand is that individuals from Generation Y grew up in an era of technological immersion and the development of online methods of social communication.
As a result of this, people within this generation prefer to be constantly connected to their peers. Unfortunately, Atelka has banned the use of social networking during work hours. By allowing the use of social networking with a certain set of established boundaries, this would encourage more people from Generation Y to apply and stay with the company since their need to be constantly connected will be fulfilled.
Other possible improvements that could be implemented would be to incentivize employee performance by offering them more stable work schedules, such as having proper weekends off.
This method of performance-based advancement is in line with what was mentioned earlier regarding the propensity of members of Generation Y to view performance as a method of displaying loyalty and, as such, further reinforces the applicability of this particular strategy in the case of Atelka.
Since performance-based incentives is a strategy that has served the company rather well when it came to its expansion strategies resulting in it being acknowledged as the 7th fasting growing company within Quebec, implementing schedule regularity would help to entice employees to work even harder for the company.
Beer, J. (2012). How to build a better call centre. Web.
CBC News, (2013). Charlottetown call centre offers bonus to fill 200 positions. Web.
Echchakoui, S., & Naji, A. (2013). Job Satisfaction in Call Centers: An Empirical Study in Canada. International Journal Of Management, 30(2 Part 1), 576-592.
Glassdoor, (2013). Atelka reviews. Web.
Thibodeau, W. (2013). Atelka adding 200 jobs in charlottetown. Web.
Training Millennials at Work: Strategies for Training a New Generation. (2010). Visual Resources Association Bulletin, 37(1), 49.
Schaub, E. (2010). Managing Millennials in the Workplace. Visual Resources Association Bulletin, 37(1), 49-52.