On Monday the 6th of December, Rachael Egerton informed business masters’ students about Health & Well-being in the QVC call center. Rachel is the Human Relations (HR) Director for QVC and her main role is to promote and implement human resource values through human resource programmes for QVC team members. Rachel however mentioned that from an HR perspective there is a variety of roles in QVC so they see themselves as a contact centre as opposed to a call centre. At QVC UK 57.4% workers are female and 42.6% staff are male.
She began by explaining a broad history of QVC. The company was established in the US and has expanded its business in the UK for over twenty years. Initially the company started off broadcasting products on live television, and as time moved on Racheel described how QVC has become a “Multimedia retailer”. The company is no longer solely focused on teleshopping she explained. Today the company has its own channels, online products, uses its own apps, and has a large social media presence to communicate and sell to consumers.
QVC operates in seven countries including France, Italy, Germany, Japan, and China. From 2014-15 QVC began to globalize its businesses more, as prior to that the companies were rarely communicating and learning from one another, but just operating independently. As a result, the HR department went through ‘organisation effectiveness’ where every function/market went through a process of change on a larger scale. Human Resource Management (HRM) Department at QVC now work in a ‘Matrix Environment’, which means that the UK business will have an HR leader who will manage every function.
At this point she then asked the students call centre related questions which revealed that: the average call centre employee works 6.5 days per week; terminally ill, mental illness and musculoskeletal are the main employee stress issues, while the number one well-being offering was access to a counselling service. She then spoke about QVC’s journey as a business dealing with health & well-being (HWB). In 2008 the organisation came up with a ‘picture of perfection people strategy’ with a clear goal to have “every team member to consider QVC as a great place to work”.
The first step to achieve this was to look at health & well-being in a different way from the employee’s perspective. She did mention that QVC already had processes in place for employee benefits and welfare offerings such as, employee systems programme, private health care, availability to join Medicash, and counselling services. However, the plan was to connect that to an overall purpose so they created an umbrella brand to communicate health & wellbeing to team members. Rachael informed the students that the organisation’s culture is about its people and customers and they mimic how they approach their customers and its staff.
Around 2013 QVC started to look at employee value proposition, in terms of attracting talent who fit the business culture. They achieved this through interviewing existing team members about what its like to work for the company. At the end of this process another company brand was formed named ‘Live Better’ which encompassed the overview of QVC’s approach to well-being in the workplace.
Rachel presented to the class a model theory, which depicts good well-being at work. The company used this model, which helped brainstorm ideas that would deal with health and wellbeing expectations for all team members in the workplace. This led to the company setting up: staff yoga and massage sessions; a chill out room’, a nail centre; a games room and different programmes such as leadership development, which encourages team leaders to get to know their team members better.
Rachael specified that health and safety plays a huge part, as it is essential to QVC having the basics in place before the company can progress and enhance its approaches on well-being. She then proceeded to show the class recent images of QVC’s work environment, and asked the class what they thought the company would consider. The answer was that working hours and staff autonomy is highly considered. Working hours at QVC take into account the situation of their employees and work around their life circumstances. For example less hours are given to a parent with responsibilities. An elected team member representative will communicate to HR about recommendations and suggest changes to the company. This is also demonstrated in an existent health & well-being approach, which was put in place after a team member suggested the activity as it helped them deal with stress.
At QVC training is also put in place to encourage staff the correct posture for working at a desk with the intention to avoid any long-term damages to their body. She also stated that QVC will tend to get employees to maneuver around even if they sit at a different desk. The company are also mindful of lighting and sound ensuring it is appropriate so workers don’t strain their voice whilst communicating, or strain their eyesight. On-site development teams liaise with staff to implement new improvement on their programmes. An example of this is eye tests being available for staff at QVC.
However, she admitted that with all these strategies, sickness absence is still an ongoing challenge for her department and needs more pro-active interventions. Rachel acknowledged that it is important to balance work objectives, meeting targets, and making profit as a business with staff Health and Wellbeing. QVC wishes to continue to enhance their approach to Health and Wellbeing in the future and aim to win the National Employee Status a second time in a row in 2017.