Call Center Workplace Wellness: A Case Study
If you attend any InfoCision monthly Employee of the Month ceremony you’d hear the same sentiments over and over again... "I love it here," "I wouldn’t want to work anywhere else," "I’ve never worked anywhere like InfoCision."
Creating a call center that elicits this type of response requires a significant investment. Over the last five years InfoCision has dedicated resources to retrofit existing facilities to accommodate fitness, wellness and early learning centers, as well as new construction for expanded client needs. Investments have also been made in the form of subsidized weight loss programs and companywide fitness challenges, low-cost annual flu shots, smoking cessation programs, annual companywide health fairs that include subsidized screenings and an on-site deli that offers healthy food choices for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Some might see these upfront costs as a challenge, but they pale in comparison to the benefits reaped by InfoCision’s call center representatives and the company itself. We believe that a happier, healthier call center representative is a better call center representative—for InfoCision and our clients. The fact that our call center representatives enjoy their jobs comes across on the phone and the result is a higher ROI for our clients. Our mission is to strive daily to make sure our clients feel great about the call center representatives taking and making their calls, and to create a call center environment in which people enjoy coming to work.
Providing Fun Motivation to Get Healthy in the Call Center
InfoCision periodically holds company-wide fitness challenges to get employees moving and thinking about their health. One such example is the Steps to Success walking program where most recently more than 900 employees participated. Another is the Weight Loss Wars challenge, fashioned after the Biggest Loser TV show.
"I decided it was time to take control of my life and health, and Weight Loss Wars was the catalyst that kicked me into gear," said call center trainer Chad Gridley of Austintown, Ohio.
During InfoCision’s most recent companywide Weight Loss Wars, which took place over the course of 12 weeks this past spring, over 600 employees participated in the competition—almost 400 more participants than last year. All together their total weight loss totaled 2,742 pounds—more than one ton. Many participants took home prizes such as cash awards, iPod Shuffles, a Nintendo Wii and a SportsArt treadmill.
Chad, who worked out daily in the onsite fitness center, lost an incredible 78 pounds, the most of anyone in the three month competition, and was rewarded with a $1,000 prize.
Lowering Health Care Costs By Increasing Benefits For Call Center Representatives
With rising healthcare costs and an unstable economic climate, many call center employers are cutting back on health benefits or even eliminating them altogether. At InfoCision, we haven’t made any cutbacks. In fact, we’re continually looking for ways to enhance our call center representatives benefits and to take down the barriers that prevent call center representatives from being healthy. We want call center representatives to be able to see the doctor the minute they feel sick and not need to wait for an appointment or miss a whole day of work; to have time to workout; to have a convenient and reliable place to drop off their children.
After deciding to go to a self-insured model and paying the health insurance claims ourselves, we saw we could do more to provide call center representatives with convenient tools to create a healthier work/life balance. The goal was not only to help call center representatives become healthier and happier, but also to decrease their out-of-pocket expenses. In doing so, we found ourselves on the leading edge of a trend toward being more strategic in how we view call center representative health and wellness; not just passing increased health care costs on to call center representatives and other employees as many companies are forced to do.
Our approach to our call center representatives health is a long-term one and has become a part of InfoCision’s corporate culture and is supported from the top down. If we can help keep our call center representatives healthy with on-site doctors, fitness centers and health fairs, it will cost us less in the long run. And by keeping call center costs down, we can keep premiums low for our call center representatives. At a time when other companies are seeing premiums increase 10 to 14 percent annually, the majority of our premiums have not increased in the last few years. This is the best evidence of our success.
Subsidizing Employee Health Care
Prior to our on-site InfoWellness clinics, InfoCision employees, on average, visited their doctor 3.8 times a year and would pay a $20 co-pay each visit, with InfoCision picking up the rest of the co-pay. Now by visiting the InfoCision on-site physician, the call center representative only pays a $10 co-pay and InfoCision picks up the remaining, much smaller, co-pay balance—a cost savings for both employee and InfoCision.
In 2008 over 900 employees saw our on-site physicians, providing our call center representatives and their family members with convenient, low-cost medical care; resulting in less visits to the emergency room or urgent care facilities, less sick days, less time away from work and more time getting better. And, so they don’t have to run out to pick up a prescription, the prescription concierge service will have it delivered by 4 p.m. that afternoon. InfoCision also subsidizes flu shots and in 2008 over 800 employees and their family members took advantage of this benefit.
InfoCision’s physicians have diagnosed serious illnesses, including severe hypertension, diabetes and significant asthma and upper respiratory illnesses that could have turned into pneumonia. These diagnoses have prevented many potentially life-threatening complications. They have also been able to prevent the spread of illness by taking proactive measures, which is important in a call center environment where people work very close together.
For all of the various amenities, participation has been outstanding. InfoCision is currently in the process of expanding the fitness center and on-site physician programs to each of its 12 call center locations, adding three new centers in 2008.
Currently we have over 500 fitness center members company-wide and a recent evaluation of employee and call center productivity has indicated that those employees work a higher percentage of their scheduled hours than those who are not members.
Overall, InfoCision views its health and wellness program not just as an important benefit to employees, but also as a sound business decision. We want to give our employees the tools to be successful in business and in life. As our company president and CEO always says, "A happier and healthier employee is a better employee."
First published on Call Center IQ.