The effectiveness of performance management in a large contact centre environment in Kwazulu-Natal

Human resources are the most important asset in any organisation. Human resources are not just about engaging in transactional activities like approving employees’ leave but there many functions that the human resource department executes in an organisation. Hence, performance management is as popular in the call centre environment as in any other industry. The South African call centre industry is maturing at the same pace as the rest of the world as companies make important decisions around their outsourcing strategies.
South Africa is also becoming the fastest call centre destination of choice for international organisations. The presence of larger brand names that have call centres in South Africa is helping other international organisations take note of South Africa’s call centre landscape. The call centre environment is one of Africa’s largest providers of technology, media, telecommunication and financial services, and is built around a powerful purpose, that is, to make life better through innovative technology. Call centre environments tend to be labour intensive and have several advantages and disadvantages.


Handling overflow calls: Outsourcing some call centre agents to an external service provider in order to handle overflow call volume can be an excellent way to increase customer service and to make sure that no customer is left behind.
Ensuring business continuity: Business continuity is ensured by hiring an external service provider to handle calls when the call centre software goes down, in the event of a disaster or emergency and when in-house agents cannot make it into the office,
Decreased call abandonment: When contracting overflow calls to an external service provider, long wait times and high caller abandonment rates will be eliminated.


Misuse of clients’ data, by outsourced call centre employees: Young generation, familiar with the use of new communication gadgets are able to make the most use of the services, whereas the older generation are not able avail the benefits.
London and Smither (2002) contend that performance Management (PM) is a constant development comprising of identification, measurement, and growth of performance in planned strategies of the organisation. Views on PM have transformed considerably over the last 10 years. Organisations have encouraged the move from mid-year and end of year appraisals to seeing PM as a constant procedure with the execution of distinct, formal performance feedback sessions (Bernardin, Hagan, Kane, & Villanova, 1998).
Mpanga (2009) states that by increasing beyond the traditional annual performance review and ensuring constant progression (or preservation of good performance), the stigma that was once associated with the lack of devoting extra time and attention to growing and developing employees is rapidly diminishing. Morea (2011) states that employees are seeking out professional development activities, and when they feel they are missing such opportunities in an organisation, they many decide to leave.
Aguinis (2009) contends that the efficiency of a PM platform is reliant on the strength of the proposal and implementation techniques. A structure lacking in appropriateness (of strategy, application, records, or user responsibility) will not only fail to develop employee performance but may essentially hurt the organisation. Deprived system implementation can result in permitted consequences, disagreeable employee observations and behaviours (for example, burnout, job dissatisfaction, turnover) and lost opportunities for improving productivity.
Personnel today are progressively likely to follow self-guided occupation routes and not organisationally certain career routes. As commitment to the organisation becomes not much of a determining aspect in whether an employee stays or leaves to work for a competitor, organisations must increase efforts to preserve talent. Operative PM upsurges employee insights of chances and support for progression within the organisations (Ready, Hill, &Conger, 2008). Thus, in addition to providing an inexpensive benefit in market performance, efficiently intended and executed PM systems can offer organisations competitive advantages in terms of attracting and retaining top industry talent.


After you have read the case study and analysed the provided diagram. Critically examine underlying factors that have a major influence in performance management, before, during and after the performance management process. (50)


Assuming you were appointed as an HR practitioner in a telecommunication industry. Design a strategic integrated performance management system that can be practically applied in any telecommunication industry.

Answers to Above Questions

Answer 1: Performance management is an important process that needs to be carried out by the HR manager in the organisation. It is aimed at improving the performance of employees by setting standards for them and comparing them with actual performance. As identified in the above diagram about the process of performance management which includes stages such as before, during and after, each of these stages are affected by so many factors. The important factor that has a direct influence on performance management in the before stage includes the philosophy, purpose and culture as prevalent in the daily working environment of the organisation.


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