Reducing staff turnover is always a good thing.  It is even more important in call centers where turnover tends to run much higher than other employment settings.  Therefore, improvements in talent retention here potentially have even greater payback.

Verne Harnish writes about some effective talent-retention strategies (Fortune “Five Ways to Keep Employees Excited” 12/3/12, p. 40).  One strategy in particular stands out to me.  I call it the, “Your Wish Is My Command” strategy.  Harnish describes how powerful this strategy can be:

“Make Their Dreams Real:  In late 2008, John Ratliff faced 110% annual turnover among hourly workers at his Wilmington, Del., call-center firm, Appletree Answers.  Then he started a wildly popular initiative called Dream On, where the company fulfills one wish for each employee.  To his surprise workers tend to request modest items, like the deposit for an apartment, so the program has cost only about $250,000 so far.  Meanwhile, voluntary turnover has fallen 25%.”

Never underestimate how little things can mean a lot.  Never underestimate how little things can reinvigorate a workforce.  Never underestimate how little things—while an apparent excess expense—can ultimately enhance profitability because their payback is so phenomenal.  I have seen it repeatedly and I have experienced it repeatedly.  The more organizations do to personalize the workplace experience, the more employee engagement rises.

A funny thing about business and about people is sometimes you have to invest a little before you get a return.  Now that’s good investment advice!

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