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Case study of national insurance company and full analysis of the problems faced by the company

Topics: Employment, Job satisfaction, Call centre / Pages: 8 (2595 words) / Published: Jan 26th, 2008
Executive SummaryThe main purpose of this report is to analyse the condition and working ienvironment of National Insurance and Investment (NII) a company whose main business in selling and servicing insurance packages for both individual and corporate customers. So it is basically is call centre, which respond to the clients of its customers on their behalf. So the purpose of this report is to understand the variousssues in National Investment & insurance company (NII), which is facing various problems like higher employee turnover, lower customer satisfaction, lower levels of motivation among employees etc. in the suggested case study. Help of various other research papers and journal articles has also been taken to underpin the possible reasons of the problems of NII and other similar companies in the same industry and how such problems can affect the overall growth and current working environment of the industry and company in particular.

The first section of the report consists of introduction of the company and few journal article references which deal with the problems as underlined in the case study.

The second section of analysis of the company deals with the issues identified from the NII case study which are like High degree of employee turnover, Lack of training, Lower level of motivation & satisfaction and Poor communication among AO 's. Key points from literature have been added to analyse the problems more precisely.

The last section of the report deals with recommendations, which can help NII to improve its working. Some of the major recommendations are need to make a better staff mix, advised to provide proper training to the employees, which will help to improve the employee morale for dealing with the problems and even make them more clear about their role, NII should also work in the field of improving the motivation level of employees, problem of poor communication is also needed to be solved among AO 's by interacting more with staff, having regular meetings, asking for opinions and by directing senior AO 's to help the new recruits to the maximum extent.

IntroductionDuring the last two decades the growing globalisation of economies, along with continuous development in information technology, has left us with excessive amount of new products and production processes. Businesses are also going on a path of continuous change and have to develop new ways every time, with the changing attitudes and requirements of customers. Their response to customer expectations and demand for a 24 hour electronic society has seen a phenomenal growth in call centre industry (Lynn Holdsworth, Susan Cartwright 2003). So the purpose of this report is to understand the various issues in National Investment & insurance company (NII), a call centre whose main business in selling and servicing insurance packages for both individual and corporate customers. Company has recently discovered some problems within its staff and overall working of the company. All such related issues are discussed below. Help of various research papers and journal articles has also been taken to underpin the possible reasons of the problems of NII and the possible solutions to them.

Summary of Journal ArticlesAccording to Holdsworth and Cartwright(2003) study in this field, 'Call centre managers are continuously searching for new ways to combat the issues that appear to be intrinsic to work within the industry. The current management practice in call centres is to introduce empowerment strategies. ' It says that the key advantage of introducing empowerment is the increase in job satisfaction of employees and decreased Job stress, which in turn helps in improvement of physical and mental well being and a decrease in sickness, absence and turnover rates.

Even study by Keith Townsend (2007) says that the main purpose of recruitment in companies of this sector is just to attract large number of applicants for the job and than to sort among those applicants the ones who got the more job-centred technical skills, whilst the post-hire outcomes like job satisfaction and training are not given much of the importance. Even the stay of new recruits in the company very much depends upon their initial job performance. Townsend says about this approach of recruiters as, 'Included in this approach are recruitment systems based around more intangible qualities within the person 'The key issues of this case study i.e. higher employee turnover and high number of casual/ part-time staff are well explained in the study of Kenneth McBey and Leonard Karakowsky (2001) which says that much of the turnover in the organization is influenced by four broad factors; work related attitudes (push factors), external environment factors (pull factors), individual characteristics factors and job performance factors. So if analysed such factors outlined by McBey and Karakowsky, NII definitely has some turnover problems related to individual characteristics for eg. As most of the employees at NII are part time, young, not married and are working for extra cash only, which can be an indicator of lower commitments to the organizations. Even many of them are not doing the work for household income and are even pretty much interested in job, status and alternatives, which can also be the reasons of NII problem and are identified under pull factors.

So from all these studies also its been very clear that there are some problems/issues related to this industry, which are very important to be looked upon in time, otherwise the growth of this industry would be in vein.

AnalysisIf we look at the picture of NII as mentioned in the case study, it shows that 80% of the AO 's (Assistant Officers) are part time and work on hourly rate. Only 20% of full time employees get annual pay increments, training sessions and promotions. Another thing is that most of the part time AO 's are not interested in being full time as many of them don 't want to make this field their carrier and many of them don 't even know that what will happen after, if they do so and how they can do so? So from this entire situation, there are few problems, which we can look at straightaway. First is the high degree of Casual staff, who just works for some extra cash, which makes them less committed towards work and results in high employee turnover. Secondly, due to less commitment towards work, they don 't even work properly and just kill time in the organization. It can be viewed from the fact that customers are complaining to NII that their staff is not friendly and they don 't even feel as they are talking to some human. They even take long to resolve customer problems, even when the fact is that 95% of the problems are small and are often related to poor user knowledge rather than equipment or software failures. They even themselves admit the fact that sometimes customers even know better about product then these AO 's and they even find difficult to help customers with very less computing knowledge, which is a problem due to lack of training. So it makes the fact very clear that AO 's level of motivation is very less, and they don 't take the job very seriously.

Thus key issues of case study are;High degree of employee turnover,Lack of training,Lower level of motivation and satisfaction,Poor communication among AO 's.

All these problems are quite general in this industry due to its dynamic nature and fast growth but if dealt properly, they can be resolved.

Looking at these issues from theoretical point of view, high degree of employee turnover can be due to many reasons like high stress. The survey conducted by HoldsWorth and Cartwright(2003) found that 'CSA 's found all aspects of their job more stressful, overall, than the general working population '. 'Respondents are particularly under pressure due to conflicting demands, frustrations over lack of personal growth and the usual duties of their working day '. Along with this lower level of job satisfaction can also be the reason for high turnover. Holdsworth and Cartwright 's study also indicated that ' Low job satisfaction was found in all areas of (Customer service assistants/agents) CSA 's job compared to the general working population. The overall job satisfaction score and those obtained for achievement and organisational processes were found to be significantly lower than general working population.

Lack of training is another important issue in this industry and study by Keith Townsend (2007) says in this context that 'While there has been a large volume of literature examining many aspects of the burgeoning call centre sector, there has been little attention paid to the recruitment and training processes in these organisations '. 'The most common methods of training include basic contextual knowledge of company products, computer systems and company policies. In addition, there is often an initial process of "buddying"; where an experienced employee is placed with an inexperienced staff member (Frenkel et al., 1998). It is recognised that many call centres engage in "coaching" where managers monitor employee/customer transactions and provide feedback to the employees (Russell, 2002). However, the dispute over whether this is a form of control or skill development and the fact that this does not fit into the initial training regime is enough to exclude "coaching" from this analysis. In general terms, the training methods of call centres have been considered quite rudimentary (Kinnie et al., 2000) 'The problem of motivation and satisfaction is also very serious and their can be many reasons for that like lack of commitment as they are not permanent due to which employees doesn 't feel motivated to perform extra. Some other reasons are like training as mentioned above, low wage rates, lack of interest in the field etc.

Another problem of poor communication among AO 's at NII is also very significant. Here poor communication refers to the communication among casual staff and permanent AO 's. All full time staff members don 't provide the casual staff with the required amount of support and guidelines as they are suppose to. Even they just come to help them, when situation goes out of their hand. No such support for staff working during night hours. So these all acts make AO 's feel that their supervisors don 't work enough and they even hesitate from asking them any queries. This is quite evident from the fact that most of them don 't know how to apply for permanent jobs or what are the benefits of doing so? This all represents significantly low amount of communication among AO 's.

So whole of the analysis makes it very clear that some serious issues definitely exist with NII which are needed to be looked after to keep the company going and for retaining the employees. As employees are like the life blood of any company and if blood goes out from the body, it will be very hard for it to keep its existence.

Recommendations/optionsThis section talks about the recommendations for dealing with above mentioned issues. There are number of things which NII need to improve to bring the whole company on right track, where everyone should be in the position of win-win. The first and the foremost thing among that is to change their policy regarding the ratio of casual and full time employees. As only 20% of the staff is full time it means remaining 80% have no contractual obligation of working with them and they can leave anytime. Its not a good situation and can prove dangerous for NII sometime. So they need to make a better staff mix, where they should have the capacity to operate, even during the days of less casual staff. So mix of 40-60, where 40% permanent and 60% casual or 50-50 can be the good one.

Secondly, they are also advised to provide proper training to the employees, which will help to improve the employee morale for dealing with the problems and even make them more clear about their role. It even helps to reduce their stress levels and will even reduce the turnover problem, as some of the just leave as they can 't able to cope with the stress. It can help the AO 's to perform more smart emotional labour. Its been said that people with better good skills of performing emotional labour along with technical skills are more successful in this industry than others. Even Keith Townsend (2007) says in his study, it is expected that the outcomes of emotional labouring may be different depending on whether these skills are recruited or trained into technically competent recruits. ' So providing good training sessions to staff is very important for company.

NII should also work in the field of improving the motivation level of employees. It 's widely known that highly motivated employees perform better and also feel more committed towards their work. They can do so by empowerment, which inturn is helpful in reduction of stress and improvement in satisfaction also. According to Holdsworth and Cartswright 'As high turnover and absence rates are key issues for call centre managers it would be beneficial to explore which empowerment dimensions are associated with CSA 's job satisfaction and stress. In addition identifying CSA 's perceptions of empowerment will assist in the development of related management practices. '"Spreitzer et al. (1997) examined each of the four dimensions of empowerment and their relationship to job satisfaction and the psycho-physiological outcomes of job stress. Meaning, self-determination and competence were all associated with job satisfaction. The most powerful association was found with meaning, suggesting that to feel satisfied with work employees need to feel energised by, and put their hearts into, their work. Job stress was negatively related to meaning as well as a sense of competence suggesting that employees, who feel they have influence within the organisation and the necessary skills, may be buffered from experiencing job-related stress. Other relevant research notes that meaning is positively related to work satisfaction and organisational commitment, and competence significantly related to enhanced work satisfaction and job performance (Liden et al., 2000) and the more CSA 's experience a lack of control the lower their job satisfaction and the poorer their mental health (Holman and Fernie, 2000)." (Holdsworth and Cartswright 2003)Another problem of poor communication is also needed to be solved, which NII management can do by interacting more with staff, having regular meetings, asking for opinions and by directing senior AO 's to help the new recruits to the maximum extent, so that they feel concerned. They should also teach them about the achievement levels in the company and should also draw some achievement pattern through which every new person can find out the position where they stand and how they can get promoted. It will even help them to get improved productivity and greater efficiency in work.

ConclusionSo in nutshell I can say that after analysing the whole case of NII and reading through different articles, its very clear that for any organization to succeed they need few key ingredients of proper planning, training, monitoring, motivating and empowering. Even as they all are correlated and go side by side, so organisations should imply them in the organisation with due care and should make sure that all of these key activities are going well. Time to time change in such activities and their mix is also very important, so that they won 't go obsolete with time.

References"Recruitment, training and turnover: another call centre paradox" by Keith Townsend Personnel Review, Volume 36 Number 3 2007 pp. 476-490"Empowerment, stress and satisfaction: an exploratory study of a call centre" by Lynn Holdsworth and Susan Cartwright, Leadership & Organization Development Journal, Volume 24 Number 3 2003 pp. 131-140"Examining sources of influence on employee turnover in the part-time work context" by Kenneth McBey, Leonard Karakowsky, Career Development International, Volume 6 Number 1 2001 pp. 39-48Wood, J, Zeffane, R, Fromholz, M & Fitzgerald, J 2006, Organisation Behaviour: Core concepts and applications, John Wiley and sons, Milton

References: Recruitment, training and turnover: another call centre paradox" by Keith Townsend Personnel Review, Volume 36 Number 3 2007 pp. 476-490"Empowerment, stress and satisfaction: an exploratory study of a call centre" by Lynn Holdsworth and Susan Cartwright, Leadership & Organization Development Journal, Volume 24 Number 3 2003 pp. 131-140"Examining sources of influence on employee turnover in the part-time work context" by Kenneth McBey, Leonard Karakowsky, Career Development International, Volume 6 Number 1 2001 pp. 39-48Wood, J, Zeffane, R, Fromholz, M & Fitzgerald, J 2006, Organisation Behaviour: Core concepts and applications, John Wiley and sons, Milton

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