Hybrid work model, remote work, WFH require changes in compensation plans in contact centers or call centers in the US to retain workforce.

by JD Fairweather

After several months of remote working – a workstyle many contact center leaders would have deemed impossible to implement a year and a half ago – employers are finding it difficult to lure staff back into the office. The Delta variant notwithstanding, it seems that employees are far too settled into the routine of managing teams, work, and calls to return to onsite employment anytime soon. And as contact center managers weigh the decision of when and how to return staff to work safely, they are also faced with determining appropriate and fair compensation for employees in multiple work styles: onsite, remote, and hybrid work. To download a white paper on WFH for contact centers, click here.

So, if you can hire anyone, from anywhere, what should you pay them? An equitable approach would be to determine employee compensation based on the competencies and skillsets required to do the work. This way, wages are fair across the board, consistent, and avoid future morale issues among peers. It’s easy for managers to justify lower wages for remote employees: no commute time or travel expenses, reduced stress, and improved work-life balance. But these “perks” only contribute to job satisfaction and employee engagement; they should not be viewed as a trade-off for fair and equitable compensation.

Here’s why:

  • The skillsets required to work successfully in a remote environment are even more critical when the employee is onsite in the contact center. For example, physical separation from your team and colleagues, particularly when you’re in a leadership position, requires empathy and a keen level of understanding. Add to that self-motivation, collaborative problem-solving, time management, self-direction, accountability, digital competency, and trustworthiness.
  • A lower wage for remote workers shrinks the number of potential candidates. Thanks to the ongoing pandemic, every job candidate is essentially a remote employee, and on a level playing field, but once offices start opening back up, the war for talent is going to increase. Contact center leaders who establish lower wages for remote staff will find themselves competing against industries and businesses that provide richer benefits or more flexible schedules than they can offer.
  • Reduced wages encourages employee turnover, regardless of work style. The employee revolving door is something to which most contact center leaders are accustomed. Applicants applying to multiple positions with a potential employee will typically accept an offer for the one that meet a handful of criteria, with pay being the top one. These same money-motivated candidates waiting to hear back from other higher paying opportunities will likely jump ship once those opportunities pan out.
  • Reduced wages ultimately creates workforce friction. Managing a blended team has its fair share of challenges. Throw compensation into the mix, and you have the makings for the ultimate morale deflator. Top performers, especially those who are remote, may feel they are not being properly compensated for their efforts and unduly punished for working from home. While in-office staff with the added skills required to work remotely will shun the work from home option, unwilling to accept the lower wage. This contrast can make remote-workers feel undervalued and will lower morale and engagement for all staff.

Work from home or hybrid work as an option for the majority of US workers is not going away anytime soon. Companies should value remote, hybrid work, and office-based contact center employees by looking for ways to increasingly reward newfound skills and competencies through compensation. Getting pay right for workers requires a thoughtful and well-articulated approach to compensation for all staff, regardless of work style. Reduced pay hurts your business, is bad for employee morale, which can ultimately impact customer experience at its most vulnerable point of interaction.

Are you looking to make changes to your contact center compensation plan based on multiple employee work styles? ApexCX can help you model different scenarios based on desired business outcome to find the right compensation plan that benefits both your employees and your customers.


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(Sep 3, 2021)