I’m an upstart in this whole BPO business. I’ve worked in companies like it before and I have a general understanding of the ins and outs of the business. Admittedly I’m still getting used to the managerial position I have alongside my business partner but we’re getting by just fine, at least for the moment.
We see dozens of people join in the grind, perform their tasks, and either stick with it until they hatch out a promotion or get out of the job before the fatigue does anything worse to them. This is not uncommon for the business model and it’s a sad reality of our line of work in general. I’ve worked with HR Departments before, and I’ve heard enough horror stories from them about the sort of fatigue the business model induces to these people. I’d wager it’s an issue that’s almost endemic to BPOs and as such while I dislike letting employees go after several months of productive work, I hold no ill-will on them nor begrudge them for their choice of action; I’ve been in their shoes after all, and I’ve faced the nightmarish situations they find themselves in myself.
However this does present a great dilemma or problem for my upstart business; the fact that I am in fact running an upstart business means that I can’t afford to sustain the sort of employee fatigue that larger companies in my field can sustain, since I only have around 7-10 people working full time at any moment, if I lose even half of them in six months or less I am in seriously deep trouble; the business doesn’t grow, my workforce doesn’t grow, and whatever investments I and my partner have put into the whole thing are going to be lost; and that’s the ideal situation in this scenario, as the worst possible outcome would result in me and my partner going into crippling debt and basically everything going further south than what’s already here.
What I needed was an edge; something that would allow me to keep my small team motivated and working to their best capacity. I had a few ideas in mind, from setting up an HR Department of our own, to contingency plans that involved outsourcing the team’s mental health to professionals or something similar. Suffice to say, my partner and I foresaw that both of these ideas were for the lack of a better term, financially crippling; at least for now.
What we needed was a cost effective solution that’d allow our business to get the kind of help it needs, but also stay within the very narrow budget that we have to work with. We brainstormed for ideas for a substantial amount of time; looking up tips and strategies that would probably help improve employee satisfaction and overall morale for minimum cost and minimum loss of overall productivity. Then, a Eurika moment; we found an online course on Emotional Intelligence Training. After doing some preliminary research on the subject matter, we decided to invest in it and see where it took us.
The Emotional Intelligence modules promised to enhance a person’s emotional awareness when interacting with others, offered means and strategies to help improve morale and care for a person’s emotional well-being, confer a palatable competency in the fundamentals of psychology, and overall allow a learner to observe, treat, maintain, and improve their and others’ well-being.
The first few modules were dedicated to expanding emotional awareness. We were lectured on how emotions manifest themselves, what certain gestures mean what in the context of a person’s overall state of mind, how to read a person’s body to tell if they were feeling happy or sad, or so on. These were complemented by interactive activities which made us judge between a person’s facial expression and body language and correctly ascertain their actual emotions.
All of this had to be done with some backing in the field of psychology as a person’s mental and emotional well-being are heavily tied to if not directly influenced by it. It was a limited but substantial slog through the fundamentals of psychology, the means and ways, the history, its development, and how we understand it in the modern day. Some of the core fundamentals and pillars of psychological treatment were taught to us through lectures, quizzes, and other activities with the express aim of enabling us to select a core strategy or philosophy for psychological treatment to use as a framework for future work.
We were then taught the dos and don’ts of treating emotionally challenged peers. It was incredibly trick to perform and even harder to master, thankfully mastery wasn’t the aim; just competency. Thankfully so, because disarming an emotionally distressed person through the medium of conversation alone is a terrifying prospect but one that I might eventually find myself in sometime in the future.
The next challenge would he how to keep morale up and spirits high and everyone happy. I asked how I could do it if I were in a leadership role in whatever line of work or business I would find myself in, and amazingly they gave me a good number of possible methodologies and strategies that would keep anyone under my wing up and ready to face whatever challenge they would face.
I’m glad that I took this course and more glad that it ended when it did. I had an employee that was underperforming significantly from their peers and I decided to apply my learnings onto them. It turned out that they were facing several personal troubles at that time and as a result their workplace output suffered. I offered sympathy and support, and within about a week they were back at their post at peak performance. In fact I believe that gesture alone was enough to motivate the entire workforce to work harder and better as there was a 10% jump in productivity for the next few weeks. Perhaps I should apply myself more like this in future, and I’m certain that the investment was worthwhile.