promoting a culture of attendance
Illustration by Stephen Rowe

Poor attendance is one of the top reasons for termination in a contact center. According to Benchmark Portal, the average adherence to schedule rate is 89%. Sadly, this means that, for every 10 scheduled agents, one is not working. With industry numbers like this, we can either throw in the towel or accept the status quo or we can create an environment that recognizes and rewards good attendance behaviors.

Changing behaviors for attendance is fairly simple. First, look at your attendance policy—does it focus on the negative aspects of attendance (e.g., progressive, escalating discipline for absenteeism), or does it reward agents for good attendance? If your answer is negative, then you’re only working with one tool from the toolbox and you should expect poor attendance.

To create a culture of attendance, set up a recognition and reward program that enables people to be motivated to succeed and excel. Examples could include:

Recognize Perfect Attendance

  • Fly a balloon bouquet above the desks of agents who have achieved perfect attendance the previous week or month.
  • Post the names of agents with perfect attendance on a shared billboard or in an internal email bulletin.
  • Present perfect attendance certificates every month to successful employees.

Reward Perfect Attendance

  • Offer a free casual day to all employees achieving perfect attendance in a week or month.
  • Play “Attendance Poker”: For each day an agent works his complete schedule, he or she earns a card. At the end of the week, the person with the best hand wins a prize, which could be anything from a free soda to pizza lunch.
  • Give a raffle ticket to every person with perfect attendance for a week. At the end of a month, hold prize drawings with various prizes. Employees can place their tickets in a drawing to win the prize of their choice.

Better attendance leads to better retention. Better retention leads to a better customer experience. Focus on rewarding your stars and your customers will thank you.