Work life balance

Linda Farmer, Quality Manager UK

Work-related stress costs the UK 10.4 million working days per year, and the human cost of unmanaged work-related stress extends far beyond this.

According to the global 2017 Randstad Employer Brand Research report, after an attractive salary and long-term job security (58% and 46% respectively), 45% of surveyed employees note good work-life balance as an important attribute in gauging the attractiveness of an organisation.

Indeed, according to Universum, work-life balance continues to be an important objective for a majority of students looking to gain employment.

That’s why, here at SYKES Edinburgh, we decided to do something about work-life balance, and engage constructively with our new agents, mainly those between three and six months of service.

Our new and innovative health and wellbeing programme takes a holistic approach to operational training, and is all about motivating staff in their personal lives, and encouraging them to bring that motivation to work.

The initiative is geared towards helping agents find more productive work/life balances by:

  • Supporting them to achieve personal and business goals by motivating them to progress
  • Providing a tool kit to help them continue this progression throughout their future years
  • Retaining these staff within the business for as long as possible
  • Developing them and improving succession planning within the organisation.

The programme helps participants clarify their own goals, how to achieve these goals and build their confidence. It also allows them to learn techniques aimed at achieving other goals in their lives.

Feedback is collated and analysed, with good ideas for improvement incorporated, so that this has quickly evolved into a programme for the agents, driven by agents.

The issues that agents on the course identified in their own lives were many and varied, and ranged from wanting to undertake further education, either in SYKES or externally, to setting up their own online cartoon drawing business.

The programme has helped agents to see their life goals as realistic and achievable ambitions and put in place strategies to achieve them.

Almost half of participants set goals that have been about their progression at SYKES, which has better allowed the company to recognise talent and ambition and help them to achieve work-related objectives.

We consider ourselves a leader in the provision of HR policies to recruit, motivate and retain the best people, giving every employee the opportunity to fulfil their career ambitions and their personal life goals.

During the last 18 months we have worked with well over 200 agents, retaining over 90% of them, and with 57% being promoted.

We aim to re-launch the programme later this year, which will allow us to offer a full cycle of development to our agents, from joining SYKES to moving onto the fulfilment of career aspirations.

At SYKES, we take mental health and work-life balance seriously.

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