Recruiter’s interview : Carla Richards, associate recruiter Startek call centre

“We are flexible to allow our employees to balance the various aspects of their life. We give priority to those who need to look after their children, pursue their studies or take care of a sick family member. “

Carla Richards, associate recruiter
Startek call centre, Regina, Saskatchewan

CAN YOU TELL US WHAT STARTEK DOES?

We are an outsourced call centre that only gets inbound calls. We handle customer service, for example. We’re located in Saskatchewan, but the head office is in Denver, Colorado. Regina has many call centres, so the local labour force is particularly well suited for the work.

WHAT PROPORTION OF YOUR EMPLOYEES ARE PART TIME?

I would say that about a quarter of our employees work part time.

These employees are usually students or young parents. The latter are often single parents, but there are also homemakers from so-called traditional families who work part time. They like the convenience of a job that only takes up part of the day. That way, they can be at home when the kids get home from school.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF WORKING PART TIME FOR EMPLOYEES?

They can choose their work periods. We make the necessary changes in the schedule to allow them to meet their other obligations. Once a routine is established, however, the schedule is generally maintained, because it takes time to consider and organize any modifications. While changes are allowed, we try to avoid making them too often. We try to find common ground and reach a mutually acceptable agreement.

A full-time employee works at least 40 hours a week, versus a minimum of 20 hours for part time. Twenty hours is the minimum required to take advantage of our medical benefits, which are mandatory for all employees. The possibility of doing overtime is also a real advantage. It’s done on a volunteer basis, so it lets students make a lot more money during vacation, for example.

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE DISADVANTAGES FOR THE COMPANY OF USING PART-TIMERS?

As a rule, we prefer full-time workers. The nature of our services means that we are paid according to the number of people we have on the phone. Part-time workers can sometimes make it more difficult for us in terms of production targets—we need to hire two people part time for every single full-time position.

WHAT IS THE COMPANY DOING TO HELP EMPLOYEES BALANCE WORK AND FAMILY LIFE?

We are flexible to allow our employees to balance the various aspects of their life. We give priority to those who need to look after their children, pursue their studies or take care of a sick family member. We will not grant a request for time off to look for a second job, for the simple reason that we can always guarantee someone a 40-hour work week!

WHAT ARE YOUR HIRING OBJECTIVES?

We will probably continue to use part-time workers in certain well-defined cases. But I don’t think that we will continue to actively seek this type of profile in the future. Full-time work will continue to be our priority.

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