High Turnover is Costing Call Centers

Alejandro Morales
4 min readMar 12, 2019


Why Employee Retention Should be a Priority and What to do About it

Call Centers are one of the industries most affected by high turnover rates. On average, Call Centers in the US have a turnover of 30–45% according to the Quality Assurance and Training Connection (QATC), well above what is considered to be a normal turnover rate.

Call centers in particular suffer from poor employee retention largely as a result of employee disengagement. For this reason, while turnover may be a persistent issue in the industry, there are also many ways to effectively address and improve employee retention.

Costs Of Employee Turnover in Call Centers

Low employee retention has a direct effect on the bottom line of many call centers. The Center for American Progress estimates the cost of replacing a frontline employee to be about 20% of a full annual salary.

For a Call Center of about 50 employees, this could translate to more than $100,000 yearly in turnover costs!

These costs include the services and time spent on the recruiting and hiring process, time and materials to train new employees, and the dip in productivity due to the initial vacancy and the extended learning period of the new hire.

In addition, the monetary input required to recruit, hire and train new employees, high turnover also has a variety of other negative impacts on productivity, culture, and service quality.

Loss of knowledge and expertise of experienced call center staff can impact the quality of service provided, and in some cases limit business opportunities. Similarly, and with the same effect, poor employee retention has a negative influence on the overall perception of a company both internally and externally.

The Bad News and the Good: Reasons for High Turnover in Call Centers

The reasons Call Centers often experience high turnover rates are largely related to low employee engagement due to:

  • Repetitive or monotonous work
  • Lack of recognition
  • Poor team culture
  • Low employee satisfaction
  • Lack of professional development opportunities

The good news is that high turnover isn’t simply a reality to be accepted in the industry. While the national average is 30–45%, findings show a wide range of data points. Some Call Centers have almost no turnover, while others experience turnover rates of over 100%.

This suggests that there are steps that can be taken to significantly improve employee retention in Call Centers.

So, it turns out it can get better. Here’s how!

Notice signs of disengagement

Disengagement affects employee retention in two ways:

First disengaged employees are far more likely to actively seek other work opportunities and leave.

Second, low employee engagement leads to a drop in productivity, letting more work fall to other members of the team. This leads to frustration and feeling unsupported making these employees more likely to leave given the chance.

Disengagement isn’t hard to spot, but it is on managers and organization leaders to look for signs of it and take action.

Disengaged behavior make take the form of absenteeism, such as taking frequent, unpaid time off, a lack of interpersonal or professional engagement with peers and managers, low productivity, or disinterestedness in improvement or goals. Often, when turnover is high, there is also a more widespread culture of low employee engagement.

Take Steps to Improve Employee Engagement

If disengagement is an issue for your call center, there is some good news. There are a heap of things that you can do to improve employee engagement.

Invest in employee wellbeing

Simple benefits like schedule flexibility, or wellness programming can go a long way to increase employee wellbeing and job satisfaction.

Provide development opportunities

Lack of development opportunities is one of the top cited reasons that employees leave Call Centers. Providing and promoting training and professional development opportunities will help employees feel supported rather than stagnated.

Focus on Employee Recognition and feedback

Goal setting, consistent feedback, and recognition for employee performance can boost employee engagement. This is especially true in Call Centers, where work involves completing a large quantity of daily activities.

Taking the time to celebrate successes or outstanding performance of an individual or team will increase employee satisfaction, and engage employees more with their work.

According to Bersin & Associates, companies with effective employee recognition programs experience 31% less voluntary turnover than companies without them.

Create a team culture

Employees that feel isolated or undervalued are more likely to be dissatisfied with their work. Conversely, fostering a culture of peer recognition and focus on teamwork can improve employee engagement and satisfaction.

In fact, 89% of HR leaders agree that regular peer feedback and values-based recognition is vital to successful employee engagement.

According to the American Psychological Association (APA), the top companies in terms of employee retention rates provide opportunities to learn new skills, give constructive performance feedback, and encourage teamwork and employee participation in goal setting.

Help is out there!

Tech Solutions for Employee Engagement in Call Centers

If all of this sounds overwhelming, Hurrah! Leaderboards might be able to help.

Hurrah! offers a simple, but powerful solution that introduces basic gamification techniques into Call Centers to boost employee engagement.

The performance broadcasting platform features

  • Automatic, goal-based recognition for individuals and teams.
  • Live goal tracking
  • Performance of data visualization
  • Media sharing and communication

To learn more about the employee engagement solution for Call Centers, sign up for a risk-free Demo.

Originally published on CRMGamified blog by CRMGamified



Alejandro Morales

CEO at CRM Gamified, where we aim to help companies recognize, reward and motivate their people by using gamification techniques. https://crmgamified.com/