More and more conventional beliefs are being challenged by the times. Not only technology progresses, but society evolves, too. Among the radical changes at the turn of the century is the growing acceptance of married couples and employees with children in the workforce.
The continuous rise of the BPO industry drives people from different walks of life into city centers. In the Philippines where there are 7,107 islands, this could mean a variety of cultural backgrounds in one office floor. Won't they clash and get in the way of productivity? Is that something that should worry businesses?
The United Nations observes the 21st of May as World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development, believing our cultural differences are "indispensable for poverty reduction and the achievement of sustainable development." It is something to be welcomed and nurtured rather than avoided. Embracing cultural diversity in everyday situations is a driving force for economic growth as well as the key to leading more fulfilled lives.
In 2013, 83% of Americans reported being stressed at work. Three out of five claimed to be so affected that they can't work properly. And while it is said that personal problems shouldn’t get it in the way of work, what if it’s work that gets in the way of living a full life?
Workplace stress robs employees of the energy, concentration, and interest to do their jobs. In the US, one million workers miss work each day to evade stress. The World Health Organization reports that USD $1 trillion is lost to the global economy per year because of this fall in productivity.
Call centers have a notorious reputation for being toxic workplaces. That's not hard to imagine. Just look at the extreme pressure placed on agents to make zero mistakes as possible when dealing with anxious customers. It's no wonder that 29% of workers admittedly yelled at their coworkers because of stress.
How then can fair trade call centers operate at their peak without tremendous stress? Is it truly possible to deliver optimum results without driving people to the end of their wits?
Here are reasons why fair trade outsourcing companies are mental health-friendly workplaces for employees.
Because May is Mental Health Awareness Month, it is timely to call out the elephant in the room--or in the office. Often, mental health problems in the workplace are generally disregarded because of ignorance or the associated stigma. And yet, they significantly affect a company’s productivity and operations. Three out of five of workers claim to be so affected by stress that they can’t work properly.
Paying attention to employee health, including the mental aspect, is important to a fair trade call center. Results prove that agent happiness and good employee health lead to higher productivity. In a 2010 report, businesses which effectively ran health and productivity programs performed better than those that did not. They had 11% more revenue, 28% higher shareholder returns, lower medical trends, and fewer absences per employee.
Due to working conditions, some 2.02 million people worldwide die from accidents while 317 million are afflicted with diseases yearly. But even with these grave statistics, half the world's population still struggle to make ends meet with just under U.S. $2 a day.
With the intent of reducing this mortality and morbidity rate, the International Labour Organization observes every 28th of April as 'World Day for Safety and Health at Work.' The campaign aims to catch the world’s attention, start discussions, and eventually, encourage strong policies on promoting safe, healthy, and decent jobs. This is also in line with the United Nations' 8th Sustainable Developmental Goal of "Decent Work and Economic Growth" which "require societies to create the conditions that allow people to have quality jobs that stimulate the economy while not harming the environment."
ILO lists the following areas as integral to maintaining a safe and healthy workplace in accordance to global labor standards.
At the heart of a fair trade call center’s philosophy is the fact that agent happiness leads to efficiency and productivity. While the majority of the corporate world is at a win-lose setup, fair trade entrepreneurship courageously pushes forward a win-win solution that has been proven to work.
But having encountered difficult employees in the past understandably makes this sound too idealistic and simplistic. Unlike the majority of profit-driven BPO companies, a fair trade call center deals with their misbehaving employees through egalitarian means based on fair trade outsourcing principles.
Engaged employees make their companies 51% more productive than those who are not. In fact, employees who are committed to their jobs will outperform detached counterparts by 28 percent. So, how does one go about improving employee engagement?
Compensation attracts employees, encourages productivity, and fosters loyalty and longevity. But, how much should employees really be paid for their services?
This January 26, 2018, Rethink Staffing launched itself as a "Fair Trade Call Center and Labor Outsourcing Company." Disgusted by the silent injustice that lurks inside the towering offices of BPO companies, Mike Dershowitz, CEO of Rethink Staffing, made agent happiness and socio-economic progress in the lives of employees the top priorities in the company agenda. As such, here is how a fair trade call center like Rethink Staffing determines fair pay.
In the early 1800s, a Scotsman by the name of Robert Owen gained international fame for his unique commercial success. But it wasn't so much about his flourishing business than his revolutionary idea of social reform. By creating workplaces that are safe for his workers -- something uncommon at his time -- he gained their confidence and they worked more efficiently. His reputation grew further into our history books.
Inspired by Owen's vision and haunted by the injustice that quietly plagues the BPO industry, Rethink Staffing launched itself as a "Fair Trade Call Center" on January 26. The promise of fair pay and economic progress, personal safety and progress, and transparency and accountability are enshrined in what is deemed now as the organization's social contract with its agents -- The Agent Bill of Rights (ABOR).
While the ABOR may come across as sweeping, it's merely an adaptation of what workers are already entitled to in the 1987 Philippine Constitution -- things like "justice" and "equality" that are mentioned as early as the Preamble. It's indeed unfortunate that Filipino employees are unaware of their rights, and allow some foreign capitalists to enslave them in their own Motherland in the 21st century.
Here is the ABOR, and the explanatory statements for each tenet in the Philippine laws and the Constitution.
Assigning accountability to one's employees is surmised to lead to greater productivity. However, business thought leaders and coaches believe that building a culture of ownership does the company and its employees more good.