FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Businesses Must Innovate to Balance Customer Service with Turnover

All businesses, naturally, strive to offer superior customer service. But that will be difficult in the coming years as, if predictions by the Herman Group and other HR consultants prove to hold up, employee turnover increases.

With more job openings available, workers have a powerful incentive to "job-hop" for better salary and benefits. Employees are also increasingly reluctant to work long hours; if anything, they're looking for jobs with fewer hours and better work-life balance. As a result, employers risk being short-staffed and unable to properly serve customers.

Herman predicts that some employers will respond by over-staffing -- reversing the downsizing and outsourcing trends -- yet will use innovative approaches to help keep costs down and productivity high. Among these, hiring workers on a "stand-by" basis, perhaps having them work only a couple of days per week, then paying them a reduced stand-by wage on the days they don't work. This would give workers greater job security and freedom, yet would allow an employer to ramp up quickly when needed without paying full wages to workers who aren't carrying a full workload. Employers might also rotate workers more aggressively, moving them where the labor is needed. Yet others might, in essence, create their own temporary worker pools in the way that schools manage pools of substitute teachers.

UPDATE: Recruiting is reportedly becoming highly competitive in the venture capital space, with technical and management talent in increasingly tight supply. In response, specialized recruitment websites for VCs are appearing.