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Why retaining contact center staff must be your top priority

Employee attrition affects every contact center. Most executives realize churn is expensive, but few know what it costs a specific center, much less an enterprise. It is a blind spot that blurs decision-making and causes missteps.


The Great Resignation, now front and center in staffing, has been building for years. And it isn’t driven solely by retiring Baby Boomers.

“It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.” —Anonymous

Many employees are dissatisfied and have been for years. The sentiment reflects, in part, years of poor leadership and neglect that left people feeling disconnected and burned out. More than half of U.S. employees are willing to change employers under the right conditions. Worsening matters is that 44% of workers are looking or planning to look for a new job this year.

The cost of attrition is staggering. Gallup estimates U.S. companies lose one trillion dollars yearly due to voluntary turnover.


Annual Attrition Rates


Applying Gallup’s assumptions to the global workforce suggests voluntary attrition costs four to five trillion dollars annually. Only the U.S. and China’s annual gross domestic products (GDP) surpass five trillion dollars.

Knowing attrition’s true cost is essential for effective recruiting and capacity planning. It is a mistake to assume the cost of turnover equals the combined cost of recruiting, onboarding, training, nesting, and wages.

These direct costs are easy to isolate, but they do not tell the whole story. Peter F. Drucker eloquently explained the issue:

“Traditional cost accounting measures what it costs to do a task, for example, to cut a screw thread. Activity-based costing also records the cost of not doing, such as the cost of machine downtime, the cost of waiting for a needed part or tool, the cost of inventory waiting to be shipped, and the cost of reworking or scrapping a defective part. The costs of not doing, which traditional cost accounting cannot and does not record, often equal and sometimes even exceed the costs of doing.”

Separating truth from fiction is the first step toward improving a contact center’s financial performance.


Conclusion


The cost of attrition exceeds the most widely used benchmarks.


Contact centers seem to operate in a state of blissful ignorance. Industry executives recognize the deleterious nature of attrition but consistently underestimate its financial repercussions.


Contact center executives must take seriously the need to calculate their actual cost of attrition and take steps to improve their centers’ financial trajectory.


**Excerpt from The Hard and Hidden Costs of Attrition by Mark Alpern published in December 2022 in the Contact Center Pipeline magazine


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Find out how Cinareo can guide your decision-making for hiring ahead of attrition in order to maximize your profitability and boosting employee performance and satisfaction.



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