US survey on rewarding call centre workers


US survey on rewarding call centre workers

With call centres becoming a more established part of corporate America, call centre operators are fine-tuning their approaches to finding, keeping, and rewarding their employees, finds a new survey conducted by Mercer Human Resource Consulting.

Dana Kraml, the Mercer reward consultant who led the research, reckons that employers in this sector are facing a number of critical challenges. "Due to perennially high turnover at call centres, employee attraction and retention are critical issues requiring continual attention," says Kraml.

Recruitment and retention techniques

The biggest recruiting barrier is a lack of qualified candidates, according to the survey. The recruitment techniques call centre operators find most effective are employee referrals, local newspaper ads, and career fairs.

Recognition programmes, a favourable work environment, and high-quality supervision and leadership are the retention techniques judged most effective.

Base-variable pay mix

As front-line call centre jobs become more focused on sales, employers are struggling to find the optimum balance between base and variable pay. "Increasingly, call centre employees are asked to sell up and turn a basic inquiry into a bigger opportunity," says Kraml.

"Employers must determine how to motivate employees to pursue these additional selling opportunities, as well as how to track results. This is leading to increasingly sophisticated incentive pay programmes and tracking systems."

The survey suggests that variable pay - which can include bonuses, commissions, and other incentives - is most often based on achievement of individual objectives, followed by level of service provided and achievement of department and team objectives.

Pay levels

Mercer's survey also looks at pay levels and trends for 86 call centre jobs. For each job, the survey contains statistical summaries for:

  • base salary and salary ranges
  • total cash compensation (base sal
  • ary plus short-term incentive)
  • short- and long-term (
  • for example, stock options) incentive eligibility.

Want to know more?

Title: 2002 Call Centre Compensation Survey, Mercer Human Resource Consulting

Survey sample: 329 organisations, representing 327,050 employees in 1,541 call centres in the US - provided data on 86 different call centre jobs.

Availability: Purchase the survey online at To read the press release online visit

Mercer Human Resource Consulting is one of the world's leading consulting organisations with more than 13,500 employees serving clients from 143 cities in 40 countries worldwide.