Problem: Most of the employees in the BPO industry are youngsters who lie in the age group of 20-35 years. Many of them used to be in college or graduate pass outs that use to join a BPO for part time earning and to cover their sundry expenses. These people generally are apathetic about the company’s culture and often create nuisances which disrupt the very decorum of the company. Some of the key outcomes of this behaviour are: Misuse of freedom and indiscipline: The trend set by most BPO comprise of a professional working environment wherein employees can avail free conveyance and food during working hours.Such facilities are provided by companies to maintain a positive image and thus attract more talented workforce. However, it is not unusual to find some employees taking advantage of the facilities provided and misusing their freedom. They sometimes exhibit indiscipline in vehicles, abuse the company’s resources like telephone, stationery or internet. Supervisors need to curb these and can involve counselors for issues of a deeper nature. They need to inculcate a sense of responsibility among these executives to enable them to perform better. Consideration of Others:Many of the BPO employees are freshers just out of college who take pride in their ‘don’t care’ attitude. This reflects on their productivity, behaviour and conduct within the team. They may think nothing about talking for hours on the phone, teasing their colleagues or engaging in futile quarrels. But continuous undermining of authority by a few undisciplined staff creates unrest among the others and thus brings down the overall output. The HR staff and professional counselors need to identify such trouble-makers and help them focus on their jobs better. Personal Vices:The BPO industry has been very generous to the young employees in terms of salaries given. With more dispensable income, these youth tend to become experimental and indulge in activities that turn out to be addictive. Peer pressure and lack of personal discipline causes the younger workforce to form habits that they would regret later. Workshops, group sessions and films are some of the ways these vices can be nipped in the bud. Friendships and personal relationships: Spending more than 10 hours with certain people and sometimes working from dawn to dusk gives ample opportunity for friendships to develop.Employees contribute more when they are amidst friendly surroundings and the reverse is also true. Every once in a while these friendships blossom to more than just platonic relationships and lead to marriage. However, with the stressful lifestyle of today, these relationships are affected adversely and the damage caused reflects on their output. Hence professional counseling services can go a long way to support the employees emotionally. Irregular employees: Many employees play truant in BPO’s due to various reasons such as pursuing higher education, part-time jobs and also simply laziness!In order to make ends meet, employees may be forced to take on other jobs which adversely affect their health. On the other hand, the lazy ones need to be counselled on the importance of meeting their targets and contributing to the organizational goals. No Growth Path: Having a BPO job is even viewed as a curse by some people. This is mainly because of the lifestyle portrayed by employees in this industry to accommodate their busy working shifts. Many a time the stress level is overwhelming causing employees to call it quits and look for greener pastures. This invariably leads to an increase in attrition.There are various reasons behind this: Low career prospects: The BPO industry usually adopts a flat structure with little avenue for specialization. Only the most ambitious of the lot manage to climb up the corporate ladder. The rest have to make do with striving for higher incentives and settling for their own profiles for a longer period as compared to their counterparts in other industries. For better remuneration: Employees in the BPO sector are usually thrilled during the few months of receiving their pay check. But sooner or later they begin to feel either exploited or underutilized and seek jobs offering higher pay scales.These issues can be resolved by: * Giving a proper orientation process and training to the newly hired employees that can prove to be extremely helpful. It helps the employees get a comprehensive knowledge about the BPO and their roles and thus improve their career graph faster. * Supervisors and managers should understand the strengths of each employee and utilize them to get work done in a better way. * It is also important to recognize the work of every employee and not recognizing only the employees who are in the better books of the supervisors. Managers and Supervisors should take time out to meet up with new employees and know their skill, abilities and talents. * Carve a career path for the employees by broadening employee training to widen their skills and capabilities. * Involve them in the important processes of the BPO such as forecasting, quality improvement, establishing schedules and collaborating with other departments and teams so as to impart a sense of importance to them. * The employees have to be trained continuously to acquire new skills and familiarity with new tools. Their pay can be increased according to the skills acquired by them.Creating new job titles can also pave way for better performance. These measures would ensure job diversity, career growth of the employees, employee-satisfaction and the overall growth of the call centre Monotony of the Job: The work nature in BPO is so repetitive. This burns out or makes the employees utterly bored with work that they leave the industry sooner or later. This issue can be resolved by… * HR professionals can act as coach, guide and mentor to employees with sufficient knowledge in human psychology and behaviour. * Offering vacations packages to the employees. Using psychometric tests to get people who can handle the monotony. * Encourage employees to look for excitement in the job process as it is not just answering the queries or solving the problems of customers but learning more about the customer through his voice accent or visualizing his environment/culture. * Encourage the best performers to share their experiences with others and mentor others. Managing stress in BPO: Defusing the tensed atmosphere with occasional jokes and light-hearted humour can be good way to keep away a stressful environment. This trend could be implemented with the management’s support.There are several organizations which implement stress management programs as part of training. There is a three-tiered approach to dealing with stress efficiently. These remedial measures include practical or behavioural techniques, relaxation techniques as well as thinking or cognitive techniques. Behavioural or practical approaches Behavioural or practical techniques are effective methods since the utilization of these methods is under the person’s control. * It includes exercise and eating healthy. * It involves abstaining from alcohol, sugar, caffeine etc. These agents cause fatigue and increased mood swings. It also involves giving the body sufficient rest so that it can make itself immune against further stress. * One of the techniques is to schedule time for leisure. This helps a person lead a balanced life. * Other helpful strategies include preparing in advance for any recurrent stressors through efficient time management, delegating responsibility, not procrastinating, setting limits and priorities etc. Relaxation approaches: Relaxation techniques include a lot of methods that are devised to rid the mind and body of tension. Some of the approaches are listed below. Progressive muscle relaxation: This is a major relaxation technique which allows the person to relax each of the major muscle groups individually. This gets rid of muscle tension and relaxes the body. * Listening to music, using saunas, hot tubs etc. , reading and so on. * Meditation focuses the mental energy onto more positive thoughts thus dispelling distracting and stressful thoughts from the mind. * Visual imagery helps the person visualize himself as dealing with a stressor that plagues him efficiently. This goes a long way in helping the person deal with that particular stressor.Thinking or cognitive approach: The thinking or cognitive approach is now being widely implemented in stress management programs due to its effectiveness. This approach enables a person to view a threatening event appraisal as one that is a manageable challenge and thus controls stress effectively. There are three steps in this approach. * The first step of this approach is to identify stress-producing thoughts. * The second step is to ponder the consequences of these stress-producing thoughts. The realization of these consequences will inculcate motivation to change these thoughts. The third step of the approach involves challenging these thoughts and replacing them with more positive and productive thoughts. This helps the person become emotionally healthy and helps him behave in rational and productive manner. These methods, if followed, can yield an effective process of stress management in BPO industry and can counter the monotony of the job to a great extent. It is recommended that HR professionals having knowledge in Human Psychology is hired in BPO. No Personal Life: The unconventional work timings that most of the BPO companies follow are reason enough to send the average worker into a tizzy after a while.The employees find themselves pressured by their families who complain about their crazy hours as well as by their Team leaders and supervisors whom they need to satisfy. With most of the BPOs supporting overseas operations, night shifts are a necessity and not something that can be done away with easily. Some of the measures that can be implemented to maintain the work life balance are… * Realignment of shift timings. * People-oriented initiatives could be taken such as Diwali fests complete with firework displays, to ensure that business continues during the festivities.