Call Center

Updated On: Apr 4, 2024

Understanding and Mitigating High Agent Turnover Rates

Reading-Time 14 Min

Agent Turnover Rate

Did you know the average agent turnover rate is significantly higher than the average across other sectors? This problem not only disrupts routine operations but also costs companies a lot of money.  

A bright new hire, full of energy and commitment, enters an organization. But soon after, that enthusiasm wanes, and the worker chooses to part ways. This story is all too familiar for many organizations suffering from the negative consequences of high agent turnover rates. But why do agents decide to leave? 

In this blog, we will discuss agent turnover rates and how to reduce them in your call centers.   

What is Agent Turnover? 

Agent turnover rate is the percentage of contact center employees leaving an organization in a year. 

According to a survey by the Ascent Group, the contact center industry experiences an average annual agent turnover rate of approximately 30 45%.  

The fact that contact center personnel frequently operate in demanding environments with high stress levels and high call volumes is one of the causes of high employee turnover. This figure emphasizes the enormity of the problem. 

Impact of a High Agent Turnover Rate 

A high agent turnover rate (ATR) in a call center metric negatively impacts your business. It can lead to increased recruiting and training costs, which affect profitability, and a decline in customer satisfaction due to inconsistent service. Let’s look at how ATR impacts your business.  

1. Cost Implications 

The hiring, training, and onboarding new staff members are significant expenses associated with agent turnover. These expenses may put a heavy financial strain on businesses and harm their budgetary plans.  

Retaining talent and cutting operational costs are both essential aspects of minimizing agent turnover rates. 

2. Impact on Customer Service Quality 

A high agent turnover rate reduces the quality of customer service. This happens because it takes time for a new agent to become proficient in their responsibilities. Levels of consumer satisfaction may suffer as a result. 

3. Knowledge and Expertise Loss 

When agents leave, they take valuable institutional knowledge and customer insights with them. This loss of expertise may impair the contact center’s effectiveness and capacity to respond to consumer inquiries in a way that is both efficient and tailored to them. 

4. Negative Organizational Culture 

A high agent turnover rate can fuel a negative culture within the company, which lowers motivation and morale among current employees. Building a cohesive team might be difficult in an uncertain work environment caused by a rotating door of individuals. 

5. Increased Workload on Remaining Agents 

As a result of having to pick up the slack while recruits are being onboarded and trained, a continuous inflow of new agents may result in an increased workload for current employees. This additional strain may exacerbate burnout and raise the agent turnover rate even more.


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Common Factors Causing High Agent Turnover Rate 

Various factors can influence high turnover, and it’s often a complex interplay of elements within the work environment. Here are some common factors that can contribute to high turnover: 

1. Inadequate Training  

When contact center agents feel like they don’t have the skills, knowledge, and support they need to do their job, it can lead to frustration, disengagement, and, ultimately, high agent turnover rates. Agents may feel overburdened and abandoned due to errors and subpar client encounters brought on by inadequate training.  

2. Low Compensation 

When agents feel their pay does not reflect their experience or hard work, they may look for other job opportunities that offer better compensation. Demotivation and disinterest in one’s work can also result from low pay. This may result in decreased output, subpar customer support, and higher turnover rates. 

3. Ineffective Leadership 

Agents may experience a lack of support, undervaluation, and appreciation when their leaders are ineffective. This may result in a lack of enthusiasm for their work, low morale, and eventually higher agent turnover rates. Lack of support, unclear direction, or poor communication are a few ways poor leadership can show up.  

4. Inflexible Policies 

Rigid policies and schedules can exacerbate burnout and job unhappiness. Frustration and demotivation can result when agents struggle to manage their personal and professional obligations successfully. Rigid policies can also make it difficult for agents to properly manage their workload, which can raise stress levels and cause burnout.  

5. Insufficient Opportunities for Growth and Advancement 

Contact center agents may become frustrated if they are not given opportunities to grow and advance within the company. They may feel stagnated and ready to move on to other chances if they have few opportunities for progress.  

6. Negative Work Environment 

High stress levels, low morale, or ongoing conflict are examples of bad workplace cultures that can lead to agent burnout and adverse effects from their work environment. Agents who work in toxic environments may feel unsupported and unmotivated and eventually begin to explore alternative employment possibilities. 

Recognizing Signs of Disengagement in Agents 

A multifaceted strategy that includes leadership development, transparent communication, recognition initiatives, and a dedication to fostering a positive workplace culture is needed to address employee disengagement.  

Signs of Agent Disengagement 

  1. Decreased productivity: Disengaged workers may see a drop in output due to a lack of drive and enthusiasm for their jobs. 
  1. Increased absenteeism: Employee disengagement might result in higher absence rates as they seek ways to avoid working. 
  1. Negative attitude: Disengaged employees frequently display a pessimistic outlook and express discontent and cynicism. 
  1. Insufficient initiative: Disengaged workers could quit exhibiting initiative or making creative suggestions. 
  1. Social withdrawal: Disengaged employees may withdraw from team activities and their coworkers. 
  1. High turnover conversations: Disgruntled workers might discuss employment prospects outside the company. 

Ways to Increase Agent Engagement

  1. Invest in agent training: Invest in leadership training, encourage candid communication, and take swift action to resolve any leadership concerns. 
  1. Implement call center workload management: Watch workloads, promote a positive work-life balance, and offer help with stress reduction. 
  1. Encourage teamwork and collaboration: Encourage cooperation and teamwork, deal with harmful behaviors, and foster a healthy, inclusive culture. 
  1. Ensure work roles complement individual talents: Evaluate employee skills and offer training opportunities when required. 
  1. Foster positive work culture: A positive company culture that supports teamwork, collaboration, and mutual support can help agents feel engaged and connected to their work. 
  1. Offer flexible schedules: Offering flexible schedules or remote work options can help agents manage their work-life balance effectively, reducing burnout and disengagement. 

Tips to Reduce Agent Turnover Rate

1. Hire the Right People 

Implement a comprehensive and focused hiring procedure that evaluates candidates based on their cultural fit, alignment with the organization’s values, and technical skills.

Use skill evaluations and behavioral interviews to find applicants who meet the requirements and show sincere enthusiasm for the company’s goals and objectives. Foster a positive candidate experience to attract top talent, showcasing the organization as an employer of choice. 

2. Provide Opportunities for Clear Advancement 

Create a transparent career path framework that provides agents with a clear roadmap for professional advancement. To increase motivation and commitment, facilitate regular conversations about each person’s career goals and aspirations and match them with possibilities for progress.  

Invest in training and development programs that empower employees with the skills and knowledge needed to take on more challenging roles within the company. 

3. Track Performance and Progress 

To keep your agents motivated and aware of their efforts, implement a robust performance management system incorporating goal setting, frequent feedback, and favorable evaluations.

Promote open communication between agents and managers to address issues, offer assistance, and modify performance standards. Use key performance indicators (KPIs) to objectively measure and communicate individual and team accomplishments, giving a tangible sense of accomplishment. 

4. Recognize and Reward Top Performers 

Establish a formal recognition program that acknowledges and celebrates outstanding contributions through monetary rewards, public acknowledgment, or other meaningful incentives.

Ensure that recognition is timely and specific, highlighting the connection between exceptional performance and its impact on the individual and the organization. 


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5. Build Great Leadership 

Invest in leadership development programs to give managers the tools to lead, motivate, and assist their staff effectively. Promote an environment of open communication and trust among leaders to ensure they are approachable and sensitive to the requirements of their teams. 

6. Promote Work-Life Balance 

Advocate for a healthy work-life balance by implementing policies that support flexible working arrangements, telecommuting options, and reasonable working hours. Address workload concerns promptly, redistributing tasks or providing additional resources when necessary to prevent burnout and enhance overall job satisfaction. 


In conclusion, mitigating agent turnover rate requires a holistic approach that begins with strategic hiring, progresses through clear career paths and recognition, and extends to fostering a positive work environment.  

Organizations should create an atmosphere that values employees and actively works towards professional growth and satisfaction by prioritizing work-life balance, soliciting regular feedback, and investing in leadership development. These steps, grounded in research and proven practices, lay the foundation for reducing turnover rates and cultivating a resilient, committed workforce. 

Pratik Salia


Pratik is a customer experience professional who has worked with startups & conglomerates across various industries & markets for 10 years. He shares latest trends in the areas of CX and Digital Transformation for Customer Service & Contact Center.

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