The relationship between job characteristics, work wellness and work-related flow of call centre agents in an insurance company
The technological era in which modern day organisations function, attempting to make every aspect of service more efficient and customer friendly, has cultivated a need within organisations to invent new ways of service. Call centres are one way in which organisations are trying to improve their customer service. For this reason, telephone call centres are one of the fastest growing segments of the service sector. The growth in call centres is attributable to the benefits that they offer organisations. Call centres can improve service and retain customers, increase sales and/or revenue and reduce costs and/or improve efficiency. For this reason, organisations are placing an increasing emphasis on the role of call centres regarding the competitiveness of the company and increased pressure on call centre agents. Research indicated that there are certain stressors in the call centre industry. This is emphasised by the high turnover rate and by high absenteeism levels in call centres. Although some studies seem to suggest that working in call centres can be interesting, overall it seems that working in call centres is a stressful experience. The objective of this research was to investigate the relationship between job characteristics, work wellness and work-related flow of call centre agents in an insurance company. A cross-sectional design was used with an availability sample (N = 176). A self-constructed instrument (JDRS) was used to measure the unique job demands and job resources in the insurance industry. Along with the JDRS, the Oldenburg Burnout Inventory, the Utrecht Work Engagement Scale and the Work-Related Flow Scale were used as measuring instruments. Results showed that the unique job demands in a call centre are pressure, working conditions, workload, and job security. The unique job resources are supervision, resources availability, task freedom, pay and benefits, opportunity for growth, and support. Work wellness was found to comprise burnout, work engagement and work-related flow. Multiple regression analysis showed that 6% of the variance in Mental Distance was predicted by Job Demands, with Working Conditions being the only significant predictor. Within Exhaustion, 11% of the variance explained was predicted by Job Demands, with Job Security and Working Conditions being the only significant predictors. No statistically significant predictions were obtained for Work Engagement and Work-Related Flow (i.e. Absorption and Flow). Recommendations were made for future research.