Enterprise Services Outlook Logo

The Dirty Secrets of the Clean Desk Policy

By Stacy J Spradling, VP of Human Resources, Pole To Win International

content-image

Stacy J Spradling, VP of Human Resources, Pole To Win International

One of the toughest policy changes that I have had to make during my 11 years in the BPO, Contact Center business surrounds Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliance. Condensed, PCI compliance came into view when several major credit card brands formed a group called the PCI Security Standards Council that established guidelines and best practices designed to protect their cardholders’ information. Contact Center organizations who wish to attract transactional work, that includes taking payments, achieve either PCI certification or compliance to be more attractive to potential suitors. Almost all of the Contact Center organizations that I have worked for have focused on achieving PCI compliance or certification.

There are numerous policies designed to address PCI compliance. As a Human Resources (HR) practitioner, the one that stands out is the clean desk policy. As the name implies, this policy typically requires employees working directly with customers to maintain a “clean desk”. Seems harmless, until you further examine the policy. Most clean desk policies include prohibiting cell phones, jump drives, writing implements, paper, and items that could serve as a recording device at the workstation. These restrictions create the perfect storm for employee dissatisfaction, especially if they have been allowed in the past.

Employers often fail to educate employees concerning the reasons that a clean desk policy is being introduced. For instance, the reason cell phones are prohibited is primarily because of their ability to take photos and record information. A quick photo of a computer monitor and all of a customer’s protected and private information is available to the employee.

Employers often fail to provide al­ternatives when changing policies. A cell phone may be the life line to a sin­gle parent who is the only emergen­cy contact for their children. Telling them that they have to leave their cell phone in a locker or in their car may cause them to feel helpless and afraid of what could happen if their children need them and they are not reachable. Alternatives include providing an of­fice phone number that can be used in emergencies and advising employees of when and how they will be notified if a call for them comes via the emer­gency line. Just having an emergen­cy line is not enough. Provide more details about the company’s commit­ment to ensure its employees get ac­curate information, in a timely manner to assuage their concerns.

Although not near as important as an alternative to the cell phone, some employees really like paper! They want to jot down information as the customer is talking. If you take away their ability to do that, average handle time and errors will likely increase and again, employee dissatisfaction is sure to follow. Providing a note pad via the computer desktop will serve the same purpose to the employee, but be compliant with the new policy. The information stays secure and the employee has a policy compliant alternative to paper.

When establishing and communi­cating new policies, employers must not overlook how the policy changes will impact its employees. Although it is impossible to satisfy every employ­ee during every change, the majority will be open to adhering to the policy if they are told why the policy exists and how to continue to be effective in their day to day tasks while adhering to the policy.

Pole To Win (PTW) is a global services provider in key software and technology-focused markets including games, interactive entertainment media, e-commerce, internet of things and e-learning. Headquartered in California, USA, the company has over 30 studios and over 4000 dedicated employees worldwide.