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Does SYKES offer an employee assistance or workplace counselling program?

1 English review out of 1

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3 October 2019


•1• New hires are well-trained for the job. •2• Good regular pay and excellent benefits packages.


••1•• Inefficient operating procedures for the Roadside Assistance department. This results in agents having to spend much more time—more than what is generally needed—to assist customers in getting back on the road or off the road from a dangerous location to a safe location. Furthermore, this type of inefficiency blatantly goes against the department motto: "Helping people safely and comfortably on their way, with minimal delay."! ••2•• Complaints from employees are not properly resolved and/or not considered at all. Starting in the last 7 months of my tenure with the company, I was forced to file a complaint with the Human Resources department. It was both constructive, professional, meant to educate and not threatening in any way. The complaint was to address 2 of 3 major atrocities that the company had committed against me—all of which occurred in the last 14 months of my 9-year tenure. After a TWO-MONTH agonizing wait for a fair and decent resolution, their response turned out to be anything but! Instead of being offered such a resolution, all I ended up being given was even more grief when HR "hinted" that I needed to learn to accept what had previously happened or simply "take a hike". They even suggested that I make use of the Employee Assistance Program. But a program like that is something designed specifically for employees (especially younger and newer ones) with personal problems of their own who bring these problems to work with them every day and allow these problems to negatively impact their peers, the department and/or the entire company. Therefore (and because what previously happened to me was absolutely no fault of my own) HR's response only added insult to injury, making me feel depressed, demoralized and so personally degraded—both mentally and emotionally—that it only resulted in job performance issues AFTER THE FACT. ••3•• More than 50% of all upper management seems highly-incompetent and is rather inconsiderate. Without mentioning any names nor a single identifiable role, that group also includes some of the team leaders on the production floor. This has resulted in many good employees, especially those who are hard-working and mature (including top performers), being made to feel highly demoralized and degraded—both mentally and emotionally. That often leads to various anxiety and stress-related issues such as panic attacks and, in some cases, physical health problems where these employees would need to call in sick more often than before. All that eventually gets to the point where they end up being forced to resign. In other cases, these same employees—many of them tenured (having worked the same job for 5 consecutive years or more)—end up getting terminated due to performance-related issues brought on as a result of management egregiousness and NOT their own personal issues. In my case, starting within the last 5 months of my tenure—and not long after having endured the first 2 atrocities—a 3rd egregious act was committed against me. Just when I thought things could not get any worse, my already-stressful situation was made unbearable when a set of hard-earned privileges was abruptly taken away from me—all without any justifiable reason. That ordeal eventually reached the point where I began to feel both highly belittled and humiliated. This was due to the fact that some of my own peers began to notice that I was not performing other tasks for the department (as I had been doing for the last 3 years) and began asking questions as to why that was. In fact, these privileges were taken away over nothing more than a minor issue that I had in not accurately following a part of some newly-implemented protocol. As a result, a verbal warning was issued, which happened to be my FIRST-EVER warning of any kind in SEVEN YEARS! However, the warning itself was not the problem. The real problem was that, despite me having corrected the issue very quickly and demonstrating that improvement, that same issue was treated as if it were a major performance issue, resulting in the "hammer being dropped" on me. In that regard, I was made to focus harder on my current job without these hard-earned set of privileges. That ordeal lasted 1 month at first as no one believed that I would be able to improve right away. But worse yet, after 1 straight month of answering phone calls and WITHOUT FURTHER INCIDENT, none of these privileges were ever given back to me—not one! Instead, the hammer was dropped on me again—this time, with a demand to see that I maintain consistency in closely following this new protocol—even though I had already demonstrated and maintained such consistency during the past month! And in relation to all this, there was even an important administrative project that I was asked to take part in about 2 months before the ordeal began. It was a project that I was pre-selected for because of my current skill set plus years of prior experience in an administrative role. But even that project was quickly taken away from me as quickly as it began and immediately given to someone else, thereby depriving me a chance to further develop my skills, leadership and overall experience! That I consider being the 3rd atrocity committed against me as it only drove my performance levels down to an all-time low, resulting in all the Progressive Discipline-related warnings that ultimately ended in termination of my employment. Overall, this case is clearly an example of management who most-definitely does not believe in 2nd chances—treating even a minor protocol issue as a major performance issue despite my long tenure with the company! ••4•• Company shows little-to-no goodwill to its own employees. In response to the complaint I filed to address the issues I just described, absolutely nobody—not even Human Resources—did anything positive to resolve the egregiousness committed against me in the previous months. All I received was a simple apology and that was all. However that was not good enough as I was already offered an apology after the 1st atrocity—one which I already accepted (barely). Therefore a simple apology is technically NOT a resolution in cases like that. Instead, everything was essentially "brushed under the rug" as if nothing ever happened! The end result was that I ended up feeling as though I was simply "thrown under the bus" as no one ever bothered to simply make up for the mistakes committed against me. ••5•• Internal job opportunities are too hard to secure and the selection process is too strict. The first 2 of 3 atrocities committed against me were both the result of not being able to secure an internal job opportunity that I had previously applied to numerous times over a 5-year period. What I had been applying to was a certain job role that I felt I was most-qualified for due to my current skill set along with my newly-acquired skills plus 3 years of prior experience in a similar role. Furthermore, it was a role that I have been interviewed for about 9 or 10 times during that same period—all without success. Although I normally do not take offence to not being chosen for such a role, these 2 cases were different in such a way that they involved grave managerial mishaps and also favouritism (both which are too lengthy to describe in detail). But in short, the company seems to have started to focus on giving the "better" jobs to younger people who are less-tenured and less experienced. At the same time, the more-tenured, older people are being kept in the same spot that many would be trying to get away from in order to move on to a better role. That gives a strong negative impression that there is much less of an opportunity to grow within the company. ••In Conclusion•• With all that said, my suggestion at this time to all who seek employment with this company is to ONLY apply if (a) you are looking only for short-term employment, (b) you are looking only for part-time employment and (c) you do not expect to grow with this company.

Advice to Management

••1•• Treat Roadside Assistance more like an Emergency Service, rather than a dedicated Customer Service source. This should be done by eliminating unneeded protocol and moving some of the repeat protocol questions to the telephone IVR system (e.g. the customer survey question). In addition, other repeat tasks should also be moved to the electronic dispatch system (e.g. fee-for-service costs provided by the towing facility currently selected). These changes will not only reduce overall talk time, but also save agents the hassle of having to frequently call towing facilities to obtain the same information over and over; information that only changes once in a while. Also, business clients who require agents to carry out an excessive and lengthy process, just to perform a simple service, should NOT be brought on board the Roadside Assistance program. This better streamlines the assistance process for the agents, all without compromising overall quality, accuracy and overall handle time. These business clients, such as car rental agencies, should be providing their own RSA dispatch services as their protocols are too extensive and require a lot of time to complete. ••2•• Employee complaints due to egregious managerial mistakes need to be resolved fairly and professionally. In some cases, consequences needed to be handed down more often to the managers and/or supervisors responsible. Imagine yourself as a hard-working, tenured employee who has devoted many years of service, has continually demonstrated strong leadership skills and has earned many privileges as a result. You would see there is no feeling worse than being made to feel both mentally and emotionally demoralized and degraded—all as a result of management treating you like you did something wrong—even though little-to-none of what previously happened was any fault of your own! In my last 3 1/2 years with the company, I have witnessed (and have also been informed of) many other cases in which (mostly) people in other positions—including tenured employees—have been handed down severe consequences while managers and team leaders face little to no consequences. In fact these cases do not solely apply to front-line roles. It is this egregious and biased mistreatment that causes many good people to leave, thereby poisoning the company's reputation and ultimately causing that company to eventually fall! ••3•• Start building better rapport with your employees and start treating tenured employees—especially those who constantly meet or exceed performance objectives and demonstrate strong leadership skills—with greater respect. Building rapport is what agents do with customers in cases where that is needed. This helps to keep these employees feeling good, happy and motivated to want to come to work every day. Furthermore, it also strengthens both emotional and professional relationships, preventing these employees from feeling demoralized and degraded—thus resulting in better performance leading to higher service levels, lower turnover, lower absentee rates and both increased productivity and profits. In addition, the Progressive Discipline process should be more-focused on addressing issues caused by newer employees as many of them are very young and do not yet have all the professional and interpersonal skills and experience needed to excel in their current roles and in future careers. When it comes to a mature, tenured employee simply making a minor mistake—one that results in coaching that the tenured employee has not had in years—there is NEVER a reason to not give a 2nd chance! Carrying out full disciplinary action over a minor mistake, especially by taking away a set of privileges the employee has worked hard to earn over many years, is often egregious as it makes that employee feel he/she is not working hard enough still and thus greatly increases both mental and emotional stress. Therefore, such harsh action is often counter-productive, resulting in that employees' performance becoming compromised to the point where the employee eventually becomes useless in his/her current role and eventually becomes useless for the company! ••4•• Start offering goodwill gestures to employees that have been "victimized" by undue hardship caused by the company, rather than simply terminating them! Given what has happened to me in the last 14 months of my tenure, a goodwill gesture in my case would have been for the company to offer me another job—one that I would really enjoy and be more capable of doing—rather than simply getting rid of me. Even if I had to wait another 3-4 months for such a job to come forth, I would have been more than okay with that. Right now it seems as though the company does not care too much anymore about the overall consequences of terminating a hard-working and tenured employee. Specifically, the company does not seem to care about the fact that (a) termination only creates additional mental, emotional and even physical stress to that employee, (b) termination simply tarnishes that employee's once-pristine work history, (c) termination can financially ruin and even traumatize that employee's immediate family—especially if the family includes one or more small children and (d) termination is therefore morally wrong and repugnant in cases like this! It is also important to understand that even if decent severance packages are offered during termination, they are sometimes not enough to help these people sustain themselves financially in the long run and so these people end up facing additional long-term consequences. With all that said, if we as customer service agents are obligated to give goodwill gestures to customers—who we ended up causing undue hardship to for whatever reason, there is no reason for the company NOT to give any sort of goodwill to one or more employees that it causes undue hardship to! ••5•• Be more proactive in offering internal job opportunities that become available. This is NOT to say that more jobs should be made available. It is to say that the standard screening process, which consists of the application stage, followed by 1 or 2 interviews and then the final selection stage, is better suited for (a) new hires coming in off the street and/or (b) specialized jobs that require a specific certification plus considerable experience as a certified candidate. An example of a specialized position would be an IT Support Professional requiring A+ Certification plus 3 or more years of experience in an IT support role. Out of all the offers I had seen over the years, many of the opportunities offered did not require all this and should, therefore, be more-proactively offered to employees who are hard-working, tenured, good performers and have at least a considerable skill set. This creates a greater sense of opportunity for advancement and further allows hard-working and tenured employees to make better use of and expand their skill sets—all in order to help build better business with customers overall. It should also be considered the fact that a frontline customer service role eventually becomes highly stressful to some people after many years, even though these same people are very confident and proficient at what they do. That fact alone makes it all-the-more wise to be more proactive in offering more suitable jobs to these people—even if their performance starts to diminish at their current role—all after so many years at that same role. That goes especially for those who are determined and have made many prior attempts at applying for other opportunities over the past few years. Also, if anyone offered a position happens to lack a part of a skill set, there is no reason not to provide online training in order for that employee to master that skill set. Most importantly, it shows the company is more determined to ELEVATE, rather than terminate people!

They even suggested that I make use of the Employee Assistance Program.

3 October 2019

Reviewed by: Customer Assistance Representative in London, ON (Former Employee)

1 English review out of 1