Convergys recruits the trendy and fashionable

by Kristine Servando, abs-cbnNEWS.com/Newsbreak

Posted at Oct 26 2009 07:36 PM | Updated as of Oct 28 2009 05:12 AM

Convergys employees from call centers nationwide model Bench clothing at the "Wear Your Dreams" fashion show.

MANILA - Outsourcing firm Convergys Philippines is hoping to attract more Filipino recruits to support their aggressive expansion by projecting call center life as "hip and trendy."

The firm recently launched the "Wear Your Dreams" campaign, in partnership with apparel line Bench, that aims to attract the young and unemployed to apply for a job at Convergys. 

As a bonus, hired recruits get a free Bench t-shirt. Their career at Convergys will also provide them with income to buy the latest Bench apparel, accessories, perfume, and cosmetics - allowing them to "work in style."

All 93 Bench branches nationwide will also become virtual campaign hubs for Convergys, by selling special edition Convergys t-shirts and featuring "Wear Your Dreams" posters on storefront windows.

"Our employees would tell us they want the high life. They want to be in style. So that's why we went into this kind of [recruitment] campaign," said Convergys country manager Marife Zamora in an interview. 

At the same time, the campaign promotes a seeming brand loyalty among Convergys's 17,500-strong employee base in the Philippines. The company plans to hike up this number to 20,000 by the end of the year.

Fashion show 

The campaign kicked off on October 22 with a one-of-a-kind fashion show featuring both professional models and Convergys employees clad in casual and preppy Bench wear.

The fashion event was held at the Glorietta 5 mall, where Convergys inaugurated their 12th and largest contact center facility to date, with a 3,500 seat capacity. Of this, about 2,041 seats have already been occupied.

It also featured the campaign's "Dream Ambassador" Enchong Dee. His roles as an actor, champion swimmer and student at La Salle makes him a good poster boy for the campaign, that is primarily geared towards achievers who can "outhink and outdo."

Dee said in an interview with abs-cbnNEWS.com/Newsbreak that he had once considered becoming a call center agent because it is one of the "best-paying jobs out there." 

Call centers usually pay a starting monthly salary of P15,000 including signing bonuses and incentives for good work performance. 

During the Bench-Convergys fashion show last week, two newly-hired employees at the Glorietta 5 branch - McCrae Tabing and Angela Boras - also won a Bench shopping spree. 

They were each given 150 seconds (or 2-and-a-half minutes) to grab everything they wanted from the Glorietta 5 Bench store. Both were able to take home free clothes and cosmetics. 

Synergy 

Scenes from the Bench-Convergys Fashion show at the Glorietta 5 in Makati City.

Zamora said the Bench-Convergys collaboration was "a good fit" because both are global brands, market leaders in their respective industries, and they cater to similar target markets.

"A majority of the source of talent of Convergys in the Philippines would be the university graduates. This would be the [18 to 28] age range. And that's where our manpower's and [Bench's market] would be in," she said.

Applicants need to have at least 2 years of college education, excellent English-language skills, and a strong affinity to American culture.

Sonny Divina, Convergys Project manager, said the fashion-centered recruitment campaign offers a "different perspective about working in a call center." 

"Convergys is promoting lifestyle. You work in style. That's basically what we're pushing and trying to sell into our market. Call center [work] is not an easy job, but it is fashionable, aspirational, and it's a decent job," he said.  

Call centers, while high-paying, have been known to have high attrition rates (or loss of personnel) and high turnover rates because of poor job quality.

Convergys contact centers, meanwhile, post attrition rates below the industry standard mainly because of early warning systems that detect the likelihood of an agent quitting.

According to a report by Clarence Pascual for Newsbreak, call center agents quit because of work-related stress, ill health, and workplace pressures, among others.

More hires 

Has the "Wear Your Dreams" campaign seen success in terms of recruitment? 

Divina said they have seen a 139% increase in hires at their Makati contact centers in October alone, ever since the campaign was launched this year.

He said they have also seen a "significant growth" in the number of applicants to the company.

Not all of those applicants have the required skills needed by the company, but Divina said at least they have a pool of talents to pick and choose from. 

"Labor is a finite resource, so you really need marketing strategies like this one (Convergys-Bench campaign). You don't get to hire everybody, but because of the significant increase in warm bodies because of the campaign, the number of hires can fully support the growth of Convergys," Divina said. 

The Philippines has the largest number of Convergys contact centers in Asia and in the world (outside of the United States).

According to a Convergys data sheet, Convergys agents handle approximately 1.7 million inbound calls every day for its clients from industries like finance, telecommunications, retail, pharmaceuticals, and e-Commerce. 

The country is a choice venue for contact centers because of the people's "good labor, good English-speaking skills and their U.S. affinity." Report and photos by Kristine Servando, abs-cbnNEWS.com/Newsbreak.