OCCU’s 4-Day Workweek Pilot Shows Benefits for Members and Team
July 28, 2023
Four months into a pilot program to test a four-day, 32-hour workweek in its member contact center, the Eugene, Oregon-based OCCU is already seeing results in the form of more satisfied members and happier employees.
“The program has already led to a marked improvement in the health and well-being among participating team members while keeping member service levels well above benchmarks,” said Ron Neumann, OCCU president and CEO. “While we’re still in the pilot phase of this program, these results have exceeded our expectations, and we look forward to seeing how the remaining months of the pilot perform.”
Neumann shared that the initial results are positive but not yet decisive and that the pilot will continue for at least six more months to ensure it is sustainable and effective for the long term.
Since the pilot began, surveys have shown that members’ satisfaction with their call experience is up, and complaints are down. Most surprisingly, the call abandonment rate — how often members hang up before receiving service — has plummeted during the pilot period to less than a quarter of 2022 averages, far surpassing expectations. At the same time, the call center has experienced an 18% jump in monthly call volume.
To further enhance the member experience, the pilot seeks to lower the turnover rate and reduce absenteeism in the call center, which can be a high-stress work environment. In the first 16 weeks of the pilot, turnover dropped to nearly zero, and the amount of unplanned time off per team member decreased by almost half. This high retention rate has led to a more stable department culture and more experienced staff who are better able to serve members.
During the pilot period, full-time team members are scheduled for four eight-hour days instead of five while receiving the same weekly pay. Measurements are in place to gauge changes in member satisfaction, time to answer each call, speed to assist members, overall productivity, absenteeism, unplanned time off and turnover.
“All three of what I would consider to be our most important metrics — unplanned time off, abandonment rate and service level — have improved dramatically during the pilot,” said Michael Hutchinson, Member Contact Center manager. “The numbers are encouraging.”
Feedback from those participating in the pilot has been positive as well, with one team member commenting, “The 32-hour workweek has led to greater job satisfaction and increased my energy levels for those four workdays. I feel a lot more energized and able to be fully present during my four days on shift.”
OCCU will use the remainder of the pilot period to gather a larger data set to determine whether the change and its positive effects are sustainable, and then review the data and metrics holistically as they consider whether to expand the program to other areas of the credit union.