2009 Motivation Master Winners: Employee Retention Program
By Vincent Alonzo
June 25, 2010
Company Name: Appletree Answers
Program Name: Dream On
Program Budget: $250,000
Award or Motivator: Travel, Merchandise, Charitable activities
Front line employee turnover is a major problem endemic to the call center industry. Appletree Answer fell within the normal industry average with 97% turnover in “front line” or hourly call center agent positions. Front line turnover is expensive and insidious when it comes to delivering great service. New agents on the front line are just not as good as seasoned veterans, and the company was feeling the pain both in increased hiring costs and customer issues. It was time to make a change. That change was the creation of ‘Dream On’, a program that would mirror the Make A Wish Charity, but for internal employees. Every employee at Appletree has the opportunity to submit their “Dream” to a review board.
All of the dreams are submitted to a review board and granted randomly. Ratliff does try to utilize his expansive network to make the dreams come true at a lower cost. A few examples of the 25 Dreams granted to date. 1) Appletree had two employees that were homeless and living in their cars with their families, their Dreams were granted and now they both have new apartments. 2) Appletree had an employee who’s spouse has a very serious and potentially terminal illness, her Dream was granted and the two met an entire NFL football team after attending the game. 3) Appletree even had an employee, with a very great need of her own, request to change her dream to help a total stranger, a mother of a child fighting cancer. The woman was unable to afford time off from work to be with her daughter, so both their dreams were granted with Appletree covering one month of living expenses.
In six months the incentive program cut employee turnover from 97% at the front line to about 33%. Beyond the incredible decrease in employee turnover from 97% to 33%, Ratliff is thrilled with the company culture where employees look to do things for each other and literally are “Paying it Forward” every single day. Appletree has set in motion a series of events that have such a powerful impact not anticipated at the launch of the program. Currently, the Dream On committee is working on a car giveaway to multiple employees.
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