By MELINDA J. OVERSTREET
Glasgow Daily Times
When Sitel first opened in Glasgow, its staff members numbered around 40, and the company had an eye toward eventual expansion to 550, said Tim Miller, site director.
“We’ve exploded with growth the last three years,” he said.
The total number of employees is now approximately 675, with many of those coming from surrounding counties, Miller said, but he did not have specific numbers immediately available.
He pointed out Sitel corporation is a 58,000-employee global enterprise. It specializes in business process outsourcing, and the Glasgow facility handles inbound customer service calls for Best Buy, “a major electronics retailer when its customers need assistance with the products they have purchased.”
The final lease payment made earlier this year to the Glasgow-Barren County Industrial Economic Development Authority, which owned the Sitel property on Hilltopper Way, marked the end of a five-year agreement that resulted in the deed being transferred to Sitel.
“It’s an absolute pleasure to have an organization as outstanding as Sitel in our community,” said Dan Iacconi, executive director of IDEA. “It brings diversification to our community, which, in the long term, brings stability.”
Steve Newberry, who was the director of IDEA when the company came, said the CEO at the time, Dave Garner, was living in Louisville and commuting to the corporate headquarters in Nashville. He envisioned a showcase facility in southern Kentucky. The project hit some roadblocks, but with the commitment of community leaders and legislators, the center came to be, Newberry said.
“They were determined they were going to find a high-quality partner and not just put jobs in there, because they were really committed to the viability of that facility long term,” Newberry said of Sitel and its search for just the right client to serve from the facility.
Miller said owning the property doesn’t change the high level of commitment Sitel has had to the community.
“We’ve felt tremendous support from the community, from the leaders and everyone involved in making Sitel part of the Glasgow community. The transferral of the building itself is really just a milestone in that relationship, but it really does bring a certain sense of permanence. A certain sense of accomplishment,” Miller said. “It’s a good opportunity to reflect on what we’ve been able to accomplish in a short period of time and celebrate. We have grown the site .... We have developed a strong leadership team here at the site [and] built a strong client relationship, and we feel very good about our partnership and support of the Glasgow-Barren County Boys & Girls Club and being able to help them.”
Mayor Rhonda Riherd Trautman said Glasgow is fortunate to have the company here, and she looks forward to its continued growth.
“Sitel is one of the largest employers in town, and we are witnessing a very positive impact on our local economy as a result of these new jobs.”
Newberry, who is co-chairman of a large-gift fundraising campaign for the Boys & Girls Club, said Sitel’s financial contribution to the club may have been the largest corporate philanthropic gift in Glasgow’s history.
Because of their prior relationship, Garner was one of the first people Newberry contacted when the campaign started and he “found him to be very responsive.” He emphasized that it’s not only the corporate entity doing the supporting, but the associates who work at the facility.
The company has not disclosed its level of giving to the Boys & Girls Club, Miller said, “but we have committed to long-term financial support for them as well as real-time manpower support, when they need volunteers or help. … We recognized the need there. We feel this is a great cause for Sitel to rally behind in a big way.”
Miller’s next personnel goal is to hire 50 more people in the next month, and said the company has plans in place to make that happen, he said.
The largest source of marketing to potential new employees is existing staff members, and the company offers incentives to them as needed for bringing in referrals. For example, in March, a staff member can get his or her name in a drawing for a trip by referring an applicant. Beyond that, the company uses billboards, word of mouth and other advertising media as necessary, he said.
One thing used to attract applicants is the opportunity to earn more money quickly, Miller said. With perfect attendance for the first 30 days, an employee’s pay gets bumped from the standard starting wage of $8 to $8.50, and evaluations are performed at 90 days, six months, one year and two years.
Sitel also firmly believes in growing and developing people, encouraging them to take on more responsibilities and promoting from within, Miller said.
Miller estimated 95 percent of the call agents’ coaches started at entry level positions in Glasgow, and a couple of next-level managers did as well. Although at a different facility, he started “on the floor” himself – “headset on, taking calls from clients” – and in his 16 years with the company, he’s had the opportunity to take on multiple roles in multiple locations, including becoming the site director in Glasgow three years ago.
“We have outperformed what we expected the [staffing] market to be able to deliver, but there is more potential. So there comes a point when we have to be more creative and have more support from the community to find the quality of talent that we would need to expand beyond where we are today,” Miller said. “We’ve reached out to leaders in the community for some creative solutions and support to ensure we maximize the number of qualified candidates that we get.”
Some ideas are being considered, but none are concrete enough for him to discuss, he said.
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