Since their inception, call centers have been infamous for high turnover (especially in the outsource world). While this is no revolutionary statement, I recently had the realization that by my mid-twenties I had personally fired, or overseen the termination, of over 1,000 people (an average of about 200 people a year). I believe my personal record was 14 people fired in one day. Most of these terminations were executed in the name of “attendance policy violations” or other seemingly direct violations of ill-thought-out policies. At the time, I tried to detach myself emotionally from the situation and rationalized my actions as ‘just doing my job’. Yet in retrospect that part of my job just plain sucked. While its been roughly a decade since I’ve been in such a position, the gut wrenching feelings that naturally come along with taking someones source of livelihood from them are, perhaps above anything else, the part that still hangs around still today. So much for emotional detachment.
The point of this post, however, is not some weird soul cleansing apology or confession, but rather the beginning of a new conversation. In the coming days and weeks I’ll be tackling the issue of employee turnover through a new lens and attempt to offer some fresh perspective on the age old problem. High levels of attrition negatively impact the often forgotten individuals involved, the local community as well as the companies that foot the bill. Personally, I think its time we start to introduce new ideas into the broken equation and begin to rethink the relationship between employees and employers. Comments welcome.