Creating professional development opportunities is often seen as a critical element in motivating and retaining staff, but it’s not an easy strategy to employ when there are a few hundred people, performing similar roles, and relatively few managers.
But thinking outside the traditional flat-line model of its customer relationship centre has helped Jan Kolbusz, Sealcorp Holdings operations and information technology director, send his company’s employee churn-rate south and halted a growing level of absenteeism.
Sealcorp has created four levels of seniority within the customer relationship team – a third of the company’s staff – that require product knowledge and good job performance in order to be obtained, along with remuneration increases that come with the rank.
Since its launch was announced to staff last April staff retention has increased by 2 per cent and a rising absentee rate has plateaued.
“We’re simply recognising that this group of people don’t have an opportunity to climb the ranks because it is not deemed as a profession, and clearly that is a key part of retention but it wasn’t just about that, it was about retaining but also growing people,” Mr Kolbusz said.
Levels of seniority had existed but in an intangible way without the company knowing whether individuals were being renumerated accordingly, he said.
The new matrix includes four levels – a consultant, senior, master, and chief. More senior members are required to mentor and provide advice to other staff members.
“If you don’t want to be a manager or don’t have the capability to be one there is still a path and room to grow,” Mr Kolbusz said.
He said the structural change was prompted in part from feedback from employees who said they were bored, that there weren’t enough management positions, or they were frustrated because they couldn’t go any further in the organisation but didn’t want to be a manager.
To achieve a higher rank staff can choose to participate in tests conducted twice a year.
“A rank looks at the technical capability and the technical aspects of the products right through to how they deal with clients and team members,” Mr Kolbusz said.
Mr Kolbusz also believes the strategy will help the organisation attract quality staff from its competitors and recent graduates.
“We’ve always been great at attracting graduates but we want to be attracting more of the best graduates out there,” he said.