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In this Issuu: Word From Rob Duncan . . . . . . . . 2 A SYKES News. . . . . 3-12 Employee Corner. . . . . . . 13 SYKES Health & Safety. . . 14-15 SYKES In The Community. . . 16-17 Extra SYKED!. . . 18-19

CONGRATULATIONS Scholarship Winners! Read the full story on pg 18.


SYKES North America Tea


On my own life journey, I try every day to be a better fath er, husband, co-worker, and It’s easy to get bogged dow leader. n with responsibilities and lose track of the joy in day-to-day regardless of how many res life. But, ponsibilities I have, or how stressed I get, I come back fulf illment in serving others to this: I find . I don’t serve breakfast to SYK ES teams on Fridays simply because I love pancakes. I breakfast on Fridays becaus serve e I find joy in serving the peo ple who are the backbone of our company. I am extremely gra teful for the service you pro vide to customers who call and a small token of my gra every day, titude is serving breakfast to SYK ES teams—in whichever SYK location I happen to be on ES Fridays. In fact, earlier this month I was in our new Boi Then, I was in Las Vegas, wh se, ID site . ere we spread the pancake service routine. Every pay period, I serve SYK ES employees a different way …by donating through pay deduction to the Employee roll Relief Fund. It’s the easiest form of service possible. The Employee Relief Fund allows us to donate to a cau se that directly benefits our members. Donations are ma own team de to a nonprofit foundation (The Denver Foundation) tha all of the money and review t collects s the applications so fundin g is distributed anonymous SYKES employees who hav ly to those e had a catastrophic life-ch anging event in one of four cat ego ries. This past July marks the one year anniversary since we est ablished the SYKES Emplo Relief Fund. Together we hav yee e helped 145 SYKES emplo yees and their families in tim need, and have raised clos es of great e to $190,000. What an acc omplishment! But there is mo re to do. There will never be a point in which we are ‘done’—there wil l alw ays be those who need sup These individuals are not jus port. t strangers without a face; these are the people we coll on a daily basis. These are aborate with the people who make up our SYKES family. Imagine what we could do if each person donated wh atever they could out of eac We could raise enough to hel h paycheck. p each one of our team ma tes who are dealing with a traumatic life event. sudden, People Serving People is our culture. It’s who we are. Of course, the choice of how mu is up to you. Every little bit ch to give helps, and the more we can giv e, the more SYKES people can serve with our donatio in need we ns. I hope you’ll join me in find


ing joy through service and

donate to the Employee Rel

Best Regards,

ief Fund.


SYKES Named Best Place to Work


lap your hands together - SYKES is a great place to work! SYKES was recently named a Best Place to Work in Polk County, Florida. CareerSource Polk presented the award on August 20th at their annual meeting and awards ceremony. Along with four other companies, SYKES received the award in the large businesses category. Businesses that were awarded were successful in motivating and retaining workers, implementing training and development initiatives and fostering a healthy work-life balance. Local companies were evaluated through employee surveys and by a panel of judges after submitting applications. SYKES operates two sites in Lakeland, Florida employing 1,000 workers. “You are indeed a very positive reflection of what Polk County has to offer,” said Stacey CampbellDomineck, president and CEO of CareerSource Polk to the winners.

Sean Hawthorne, recruiter at the Lakeland II site, was on hand to accept the award in person. Alex Algarin, recruiter at Lakeland I, and other proud SYKES leaders were also in attendance at the awards ceremony and celebration at the Lakeland Center. Congratulations to our teams in Lakeland on this well-deserved honor!

Sean Hawthorne receiving the Best Place to Work award from Stacy Campbell-Domineck of CareerSource Polk

Kudos from Clients


very month, we will be sharing kudos from our clients directed either to an entire team or an individual employee. This month’s quote comes from Park University Enterprises, one of SYKES Home clients. Congratulations to Nathanael Robbins and his team for doing what it takes to earn these words of praise!

“The coaches are great at rolling out projects and ensuring the team follows instructions and generally rolls out script changes quickly, especially on our inbound program.”

Tessa Singer, Park University Enterprises



Transforming Scheduling with Honor


orkforce Management: It’s a computer run by Satan.

That’s how Travis Piegat (pronounced \P – gat\), the vice president of workforce management (WFM), imagines what agents at SYKES think of the people behind scheduling. Although Piegat’s chin is adorned with a traditional devil’s goatee, he doesn’t have horns. His glasses aren’t even horn-rimmed. And when Piegat speaks, his talk is sprinkled with words like “honor,” “respect” and “caring” for people. This is not the vocabulary of some dark lord bent on destroying lives by imposing soul-crushing schedules. His is the voice of a passionate executive – who happens to have a background as a pastor – with a vision for transforming scheduling into a people first process built on honor. Piegat is proposing a radical idea: Give agents a voice in determining their own schedules. Instead of Satan using his computer to dictate who works when without regard to what is happening in people’s lives, Piaget wants to let agents themselves drive the process. It sounds simple enough. Of course, the devil is in the details.

own golden rule: schedule unto others as you would schedule unto you.

“We’re all Jerks.” Scheduling today is handled in an analytic, impersonal manner that is common in the call center industry, according to Piegat. “Our systems today are designed to work like an assembly line. Schedules are built with no interaction with agents. Although people in workforce management do care about the people they schedule, the system doesn’t really allow for it. Agents don’t get to talk to anyone in scheduling and are thus dishonored. I’ve told my team that this means, to the people we schedule, that we’re all jerks.” Piegat says this isn’t true. WFM just needs to implement a system that will allow a caring and collaborative approach. Scheduling today is based on a “hub and spoke” model. Client projects have a need for a specific number of agents to handle call volume, and WFM creates schedules to meet those needs. The system is analytical, numbers-based and, in Piegat’s view, “cold.” “In effect, we say to the agents, ‘come in, here’s your schedule, I don’t care about you.’”

And while he wants to honor agents with a larger voice in building their own shifts, he cautions that doesn’t It’s this typical, topmean creating a “dream down approach, which schedule.” The former is “the model in every pastor sees a lot of conflict call center, everywhere,” inherent in his people first says Piegat, that he scheduling initiative, as came to SYKES to personal priorities inevitably Travis Piegat, vice president of workforce management change eight months collide. But, like a true ago. He was working visionary, Piegat sees beyond the pain of confrontation in workforce management in another company and to a place where agents feel honored and respected. contemplating leaving the field. He was won over Where agents are part of a process that teaches its to SYKES after listening to Rob Duncan, senior vice 4

Today’s Hub & Spoke Scheduling Model

system. Agents disengage. They feel no loyalty to the system. “If you think about someone’s schedule, it’s personal, it’s intimate. Think about what your schedule says about you. It shows what your priorities are. Your interests. Relationships. Your schedule is part of who you are. And by dictating people’s schedules we dishonor that.” Honoring People First Piegat has a different vision for how scheduling should work.

president of operations at SYKES North America, discuss the “People First” concept and the Employee Relief Fund. “How you treat people in need defines you. It defines you as a company. I felt compelled by what Rob was saying. I felt like this was an opportunity to lead significant change at SYKES.” Piegat characterizes the current scheduling system as one based on a system of “isolate, dictate and separate.” The focus on shift-bids, where topSmall performing agents can cherry-pick their own schedules, as well as billable utilization, tends to create attitudes and behaviors where everyone is thinking only of themselves. WFM then dictates the schedule to agents based on client needs and gaps created by absenteeism. The absenteeism is driven by a sense of emotional separation that results from an agent feeling isolated and dictated to by a remote and person-less scheduling

“It’s like a restaurant,” he says. “There you have 20 or so people working together each week to solve scheduling issues. They collaborate. They discuss. Scheduling is probably the biggest conversation you have each week with your fellow employees in a restaurant setting.” To capture that approach, Piegat has created the Small Group Scheduling Model. Employees are divided into groups of 20. Each group starts with client needs and each agent’s current schedule. They then work together.

Group Scheduling Model


SYKES NEWS They collaborate, juggling schedules, negotiating with each other to fill gaps. They go through several iterations until they have a workable solution. “This approach says we’re not going to treat you like a five-year-old,” says Piegat. It says, ‘I believe you can solve it.’” Working out schedules at this level allows agents to come together to accommodate individual needs, like having time off for anniversaries or birthdays. “In the current system we have no way of tracking someone’s anniversary. If we decline a request for time off so someone can celebrate their anniversary, that’s a moral atrocity.” The small group model prevents the atrocity. Agents can work together to accommodate personal needs. At least in theory. In reality, there will be conflict. “Scheduling is a lightening rod. Working through conflicts and conflicting personal priorities is going to create controversy. And that’s okay – because I believe we can work through it and come together on the other side.” Navigating to the Other Side of Conflict Piegat explains with a hypothetical situation. “Suppose Bob is a huge Chicago Bears fan and he has tickets to the game on Sunday, during his normal shift. And Sunday is also Mary’s daughter’s first birthday. Mary is supposed to work too. Both would like the day off. Whose wish is granted?” This is where negotiation comes in. WFM’s role in the new model is to help the teams work through these conflicts. Piegat is careful to point out that WFM’s role isn’t to solve the problems for the groups, but to facilitate their problem solving. The WFM planner in the new model acts more like a counselor. “The future WFM counselor doesn’t dictate schedules but facilitates the process where agents work together to solve client needs and accommodate agents’ flexibility needs.” “In the old system the conflict is buried or forced off the table. Instead of dealing with issues up front, conflict is acted on through attrition or absenteeism,” said Piegat. “Or we isolate until it blows up.” In the 6

A New Aspect: WFM Brings Scheduling to Mobile Devices for Virtual Agents Travis Piegat isn’t just transforming the way WFM works with agents. Piegat and his team are improving scheduling through a new platform called Aspect. Scheduling Anytime, Anywhere With Aspect, agents will be able to conduct partial shift swaps, view team schedules, and request future time off all within a single, offsite platform. Before, virtual agents needed to be plugged into AIB to make these changes – a nearly impossible task when you’re facing an emergency or unexpected event. Anytime desktop access, and mobile access through the Aspect app will enable agents to make a schedule change, a request, or simply check up on the team from anywhere, anytime. “We’re moving out of the ‘90s,” Piegat laughed. “The ability to access and make partial changes to your schedule, from a mobile device, is huge. It will, hopefully, make our agents feel more taken care of.” Aspect will also allow agents to see and claim shifts as they are made available. Piegat and the WFM team hopes this kind of transparency will promote closer team relationships and enable team members to help each other out when they need it the most. “The idea behind the new platform is to collaborate together and solve what we need,” said Piegat. “This new tool is about building relationships and treating the agent like a customer.”

new model, conflict is something the groups have to work through together. “If people can learn how to do that, this will be huge. It’s a good skill to have in people’s lives. And it makes our culture warm and not cold and hard.” One principle behind the smaller groups is that people are more willing to bend or give more for others they

know well. They might not be as willing to adjust their personal priorities for a nameless stranger in WFM or even a business entity like SYKES.

with because I know they will work with me,” said one, about working with WFM in its new scheduling counselor role.

Using the example mentioned earlier, Piegat says, “Bob may not be willing to give up his tickets for the Bears for SYKES. But he might for Mary. Someone may not be willing to make up an extra shift to step up for SYKES, but they will for a fellow team member.”

“I used to say I have the best team leads at SYKES. I’m going to revise that. I have the best support team – team leads and WFM counselors – at SYKES. I feel so blessed.”

Working through these conflicts, giving agents a voice in managing their own schedules – essentially, their own lives – is what treating people with honor means to Piegat. “We’re not going to make everyone happy with this system,” he says. “No one group of 20 people is going to have everyone perfectly happy with the schedule. But making people happy isn’t the goal. The goal is to honor people.” Piloting the New Scheduling Model WFM has already begun using the new scheduling model. Earlier this year they began working with the at-home team to pilot the small group approach.

Piegat’s own team, while at first wary of the new approach – recall the team member who thought Piegat was full of “<bleep>” – has come around and sees the value. “This is so much harder,” one said. “But much more rewarding.” Rob Duncan, said “Creating an honor-based method of scheduling is what our ‘People First’ philosophy is all about. Through this change, WFM schedulers become champions for the internal customers – agents – they serve. WFM and its people are on the frontlines of People First.”

Conflict came almost instantly.

“There is no cookie-cutter way to do this. The process will be messy,” said Travis. “Let’s not sugar coat it. We have to discover the organic aspect of this and we have to learn. We have to let each site or team come up with solutions themselves. It’s not something we can force. We can only facilitate.”

“Travis [Piegat] is full of <bleep> and this is never gonna work!” said one frustrated staff member in week one. And that was someone on Piegat’s own team. The agents were less happy.

Human Innovation We’ve Never Tapped The end result is worth it. Although the pilot is in its infancy, there is lower agent attrition and absenteeism.

Travis told his team – and the agents – to hold on. “People may cry and curse, but we have to work through that and get to the other side of conflict.” Piegat and his counselors were careful to steer the groups through “constructive” conflict, not just conflict for conflict’s sake. “Conflict has to happen and we have to have the capacity to move through that. And at some point, people will soften. The nonnegotiable becomes negotiable.”

Piegat says that honoring agents through this scheduling process will create more engagement. In the new model, the old pattern of “isolate, dictate, separate,” is replaced with “collaborate, negotiate, engage,” he says.

By week three things had turned around. Piegat was not surprised. “Collaboration brings people together in a way that is just striking.” The agents agreed. “This is changing the tone of scheduling from a nameless, faceless email to a person that I look forward to discussing my needs

“Employees will want to engage with their jobs. And not just with their heads…but with their hearts.” Piegat’s dream approach to scheduling is the ultimate “People First” plan in action. “If we take people into account and treat them with honor,” he says, “we can open up a whole new aspect of human innovation we’ve never tapped. I think this will get us to a much better place.” S



Ingredients for Your Recipe for Success


ore of our SYKES A+ Agents have shared great advice on things that make them successful at their job. Think about implementing these into your routine if you’re not doing them already!

... Enjoy the work you’re doing. if you don’t, it will reflect in the service you give our customers. ~ Rich Sanders

Happy tone = Happy customer ~ Twila Knowles Do YOU consistently meet or exceed your metrics? If so, we want to hear from you! This section of the newsletter is devoted to SYKES A+ Agents -- a forum for employees to share and learn what other agents do routinely in order to perform at a consistently high level! Please email the key ingredient of your recipe for success to


Getting to Know A Few Of Our New Site Directors


YKES has recently opened three new brick and mortar sites in the United States; let’s get to know each of the new site directors as they introduce themselves via these short video clips. More to come in next month’s issue!

Jae Scott, Site Director at new site in Montgomery, AL


Chris Beykirch, Site Director at new site in Las Vegas, NV

Christina Wood, Site Director at new site in Morristown, TN




ouston, we DON’T have a problem. Not with Alan Fleer on the case!

Alan is a mid-westerner, born and raised in Illinois, who now calls Houston home. Alan spent some time in the Air Force observing and forecasting weather for the Air Force and Army bases where he was assigned. It was here that Alan learned computer and programming skills, while working on the initial computerized weather communications network. He married a good farmer’s daughter from Nebraska, and while serving in the Air Force had two children, a daughter born at Fort Knox, Kentucky, and a son born in Tokyo, Japan. After the Air Force, Alan then began a career with NASA. Here, he was a part of the Apollo moon mission, where he aided in establishing and maintaining the real-time communications, as well as downloading links of mission data. How cool is that?!? After the Apollo and Skylab missions ended, Alan went in to the commercial programming fields until his retirement.

Alan enjoys fishing, old movies, reading and volunteering with his children’s sports teams, where he relished his role as equipment manager and score keeper. On the other hand, he is not a fan of poorly tested software and documentation, cooking and housekeeping! Alan’s Team Lead, Eva Miles, glows when talking about Alan, “He is one amazing CCP to work with; he is one of our pillars and is here every day with a smile in his tone and a lending hand for anything that needs done. Customers thoroughly enjoy talking with him. He brings so much joy to our Lowe’s team, and we enjoy his sweet presence every day.” Thank you for your ten years of service to Alpine Access/SYKES, Alan. We are lucky to have you as part of our team! S

After retirement, Alan found himself languishing around the house and getting in his wife’s way. She finally told him that he should find some activity that he could do from home to keep his mind active. Hello Alpine Access! Alan was initially hired on to the GE team (and he remains on this team today), and along the way “spent 10 years wearing a headset, putting a notch in his skull, and getting an education in Marketing.” Alan appreciates all of these new skills that he has gained while being employed with Alpine Access and now SYKES. Alan celebrated his ten year anniversary earlier this summer and has had the pleasure of working with a lot of CCPs over the years. He has found that his colleagues are very intelligent and caring people and has enjoyed his association with them. He would like to thank all of those that he has worked with in the past. His co-workers have helped him with many things, including the loss of his wife and his own medical problems. Alan says, “My family has had some tough times, and the support I found here has been a big help. I look forward to the coming years.”



Ben Nelson and Corbi Copeland: SYKES Success Through Learning


orbi Copeland and Ben Nelson live by Henry Ford’s adage that learning is a life skill that brings on bigger and better opportunities.

Corbi Copeland

Ben Nelson

“A big perk of working for SYKES is learning a ton about different industries through helping to solve customer service problems,” Ben says, thinking back to when he started as an agent at the SYKES site in Milton-Freewater, Oregon. “When I was training for my first SYKES job as an agent on a major financial service account, I learned enough for it to have a huge advantage in my personal life. I learned about finance and banking and it helped me make decisions about handling my money.” Ben did not come from a financial background when he started at SYKES, but he learned it so quickly, he soon became a financial Subject Matter Expert (SME). Ben’s ability to soak up financial knowledge then led him into training; first helping in the training classroom at Milton-Freewater and then as a full time trainer for the work-at-home program.

“I came to Sykes for a job and a paycheck, but it turned into a school, and then a family, as I’ve worked here and advanced.”

~ Ben Nelson

Ben’s path is not unique. Corbi, who also began her career at SYKES as an agent at Milton-Freewater, grabbed every opportunity to learn…to become more knowledgeable about her client’s business. “Anytime I wasn’t on a call or on hold,” Corbi says, “I sifted through the knowledge base and read any articles about changes or updates. I used my spare time to go through the materials. Soon I could help 10

other people if they encountered a situation they had not seen before. I had a lot of information in my head that would help my teammates on difficult calls.” With her newfound expertise, Corbi was soon earning top customer satisfaction scores. Like Ben, the knowledge she had gained resulted in her earning SME status. Like Ben, Corbi pursued a training role where she teaches others her knack for relating complex topics in a way that anyone can grasp. “With the 18 or 19-year-old calling to apply for a car loan for the first time, you can’t use complicated terms or jargon. You have to talk like you are speaking to your best friend,” said Corbi. “You use plain English. You have to explain clearly the finer points, like interest, and what happens if you don’t make a payment on time. It’s easy to learn a process, but SYKES agents have to figure out how to relate to the customers themselves.” Corbi, like Ben, also left a brick and mortar call center to be a trainer for a work-at-home account. Corbi trained virtual agents for one of SYKES’ major retail accounts during a

pre-holiday ramp-up. While both Ben and Corbi have enjoyed taking on different roles in their SYKES career, they have found their niche in training. “I’m passionate about training,” says Ben. “I get to watch people learn and that’s a big deal for me. When I’m teaching others I get to live in their success.” Corbi agrees. “Training is not just about giving information, it’s about serving. When we bring on new team members, it’s our opportunity to start teaching long-term skills and habits to help them make it on the floor. I really love being part of helping people learn to be the best agent they can be.”

“There is a wealth of knowledge here at SYKES. Take it. It will grow your career in ways you never imagined.”

~ Corbi Copeland

What Ben and Corbi learned in the virtual world has helped them become better trainers now that they’ve returned to their brick and mortar roots. Both have been promoted to the training department back at the Milton-Freewater center in Oregon.

training. Some final advice they share on maximizing SYKES learning opportunities: “One of the best ways to advance is to volunteer for everything,” Ben advises. “Take a chance and throw your hat in the ring for a higher position. Even if you don’t get it, going through the interview process will teach you that skill set. Don’t hesitate to put yourself forward.” Corbi adds, “The best thing you can do is ask questions. Reach out. Communicate what you want and focus on being the best you can. Ask questions to get better at your job and then ask for what you want.” S

“It’s hard learning to talk to a complete stranger on the phone,” says Ben. “You have to slowly build new agents up, step by step, showing them that they can succeed. I think that’s the thing I love most. I always have one or two people in each class who think they’re not going to make it. But they always seem to become the best agents. I think when you learn more slowly it means you understand things much more deeply. I love that. I’m passionate to see advancement. I get to watch people learn and that’s a big deal for me.” Learning was the key for Corbi and Ben’s success at SYKES. First by learning everything they could for their jobs as agents. Then by helping others learn through



Microsoft Xbox team Hosts Fundraiser to Benefit ERF


believe it’s important to give back,” explains Microsoft Xbox Senior Team Lead, Julia Mease. Julia is inspiring her team to give back through the purchase of candles. Julia became a PartyLite sales consultant in order to donate back the host benefits from product sales to the SYKES Employee Relief Fund. 20% of all of the purchases made on her PartyLite website, which sells candles, home décor and flameless fragrance, will be donated back to the SYKES Employee Relief Fund.

some of your holiday shopping done early! If you have questions about placing an order, Julia is happy to answer them at

So far, Xbox team members have made direct donations to ERF and purchased over $1,000 worth of product, raising over $330. Additionally, some employees have also signed up for payroll deductions. Julia is going to continue the PartyLite fundraiser through September and is opening it up to any employee that would like to participate. Check out her website at, and under Placing An Order for a Party? use Relief Fund as the host name. PartyLite is offering an additional 40% off any order over $50, so take advantage and get

Two Xbox employees eagerly shared their testimonials helping to drive sales and awareness.

Julia is pleased with the response so far and is excited that the fundraiser has helped to make ERF more visible. She says, “The fundraiser has introduced people to what the Fund does that might not have realized before.”

Julia hopes to continue to fundraise for ERF with her team throughout the year, stating “It goes along with the People First culture.” Thank you, Julia and Xbox, for your support of the SYKES Employee Relief Fund. Are you interested in starting a fundraiser for ERF with your team? Contact Fran at for ideas and more information. S

“ Last September, I broke both my hands and six fingers and had to have surgery. Well, since you all know how important our hands and fingers are in this company, I was out of work for over three months and had many of those past due notices in my mailbox. I reluctantly reached out to the SYKES Employee Relief Fund not expecting much at all, but they helped my family incredibly with many of those bills! Since that time, I make sure every paycheck automatically gives back $10.00 bi weekly to the Fund. It may not be much, but it is a way that I can say thank you and “Pay it Forward” to the next person who needs help from the Fund! It is incredible how one cannot know just how important a program is until you need it! Moral of the story is, please check out the fundraiser and keep this program alive so it will always be there if you need it. Because you just never know may end up wrestling the air conditioner like I did.”


~ Anonymous

SYKES Online Store to Donate Portion of Sales to Employee Relief Fund


e are thrilled to announce a new and updated SYKES store with a variety of branded apparel and accessories. And what’s most exciting about this store is that 12% of the proceeds will go back to the SYKES Employee Relief Fund! Individuals can place orders to be shipped to their homes or the brick and mortar sites can place

bulk orders. Shipping starts at just $4.95. The store is currently available only to U.S. employees, but a similar store will be launched for employees in Canada in the next few months. Stay tuned! If you have any questions about the SYKES online store, please reach out to Fran Fennell at S

“ On April 28th, my life was forever changed. My son and I rushed my husband to the emergency room because his right foot went from perfectly pink and healthy to black and garbage smelling in the course of one shift. He was admitted immediately, and then we heard the news; he had a type of flesh eating disease, several other infections and a blood sugar of 400+. The following day, they did an amputation of the right big toe, as I woke up to my air conditioner being broken. I live in Florida in a mobile home. Even my dog was screaming “fix this”. The left foot began to do the same in the following days. Three more debridement surgeries later and over 17 different antibiotic IV’s and 3 oral antibiotics, they finally sent him to rehab in June. He was there one week when he had to go back into the hospital as the wounds were worsening. After two days in the hospital and many, many tests, it was determined he had no choice. He had to get below the knee on his right and ¾ foot on the left amputated. All while this is going on, I have to get the air conditioner replaced, which was $3600. My son and I are ripping up the floors, as we don’t know where my husband got the disease; he’s home 24-7 like me, and I tested negative for anything. We are also in the process of making everything handicap accessible for him once he gets home. I went on a leave of absence, as I’m the sole caretaker of my husband, and he was unable to make any decisions at the time. I am also a full time student and was working full time. Now I work in between everything that is going on. When we saw that this was not going to be a small bump in the road, my Leads, Summer Barnes and Christina Blount suggested I apply for assistance through the SYKES Employee Relief Fund. As we are “gap” people, I’m 50 this year and my husband is under 65, we don’t apply for a lot of medical/federal benefits. It took maybe 30 minutes once I gathered up all the information that was needed to apply, which was all done online. The wait time is minimal for an answer and the payout time is quick. They have been very kind and even sent me encouragement that things will get better. They have helped with lot rent, my power bill that was $500 due to the broken AC, helped pay for the AC and some of the repair costs of making my home accessible. By having the Employee Relief Fund pay those few bills, it allowed me to not have to worry about what I would do - work or be with my husband. Because of the financial assistance, I could be with him when he needed me the most. I thank everyone that contributes to this Fund as without it, I honestly don’t know what I would have done.” 

~ Connie Turner



Why You Really Want to Wash Your Hands (and maybe your paper clips)


repare to be grossed out. A single gram of human feces (poop) – about the weight of a paper clip – contains one trillion germs. That’s according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the federal agency in charge of, among other things, figuring out how many poop germs can fit onto a paper clip. These germs, E. coli, Salmonella, Norovirus, as well as germs from colds and other illnesses, are spread easily and can contaminate the professional environment faster than rumors of an illicit office romance. According to a study by the University of Arizona, contamination of a single doorknob or tabletop in an office building results in a virus being then spread and “detected on 40 to 60 percent of workers and visitors in the facilities and commonly touched objects.” All within just four to six hours. That’s a lot of paperclips. Germs are also in your home right now, so those who work from home aren’t immune to the problem. In optimal conditions, certain bacteria can divide every 20 minutes, spreading rapidly where they dwell. According to, one of the germiest places in your home is the home office. On average,


an office desk has 400 times more bacteria than a toilet seat. It’s not surprising; the toilet is cleaned regularly. And remote controls, computer keyboards, phones, and iPods get touched way more than the toilet. They are also shared by multiple family members and guests, yet they are cleaned less often. The good news is that simple hand washing – done correctly – can prevent much of the contamination. Proper hand washing, according to the CDC, will reduce: • respiratory illnesses, like colds, in the general population by 16-21 percent • the number of people who get sick with diarrhea by 31 percent Healthy habits can protect everyone from getting germs or spreading germs at home, work, or school. Here are some common tips for washing your hands and general good hygiene to help protect you, your family, your colleagues and your paper clips from proliferating germs: Wash your hands thoroughly • Wash hands frequently and scrub with warm water and soap • Wash hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds

•A  lways wash hands when leaving the rest room •C  lean your hands before and after you eat, drink, or smoke •W  ash before and after handling items such as countertops, refrigerator doors, microwave oven handles and community dishes •U  se a disposable towel or an air dryer after washing Cover your nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing (preferably by sneezing or coughing into your inner elbow and not into your hands)  tay home if you are sick, so that you do not S spread infection  void touching door handles or other areas A that are frequently used Use single-use tissues for wiping your nose and dispose them immediately Do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth – germs can transfer into the body Use alcohol based hand sanitizers

Do not handle papers or equipment used by someone who may have a cold  lean your workstation frequently and C thoroughly Do not share cups, glasses, dishes, or cutlery Do not use someone else’s workstation or headset without cleaning it first Avoid shaking hands or touching someone that may have a cold or the flu For even extra protection, wipe down common surfaces with a disinfecting wipe containing quaternary ammonium compounds (found in most common disinfectant products used by consumers). The use of these wipes, coupled with proper hand hygiene, can reduce the spread of virus by 80 to 99 percent, according to the same University of Arizona study mentioned above. So while the germs can be spread easily, they can be stopped easily too. Remember these tips to go mano a mano against the germs and think about them the next time you use a paperclip. S



SYKES Gives Back to Local Schools


ummer is over, and it’s back to school time around North America. From binders and backpacks to calculators and USB drives, back-toschool supply lists are growing and pinching low income families’ budgets.

communities. They collected notebooks, backpacks, pens, pencils, crayons, paper, folders, scissors, markers and more. Thank you for making back-toschool better for so many children in your area! S

“When it comes to things like school supplies, those are the things that can make or break your budget,” said Robyn Eastwood, assistant director of development and external affairs at Project Hope, a Boston-based organization that helps low-income mothers. “The cost of everything keeps going up ... then it makes everything else a struggle.” Having school supplies they need to succeed helps keep kids focused and learning at school. Not having the necessary supplies for classwork and homework has a dramatic effect on student learning and contributes to the achievement gap.

Backpacks filled with school supplies collected at the Fort Smith site

When children don’t have paper and pencil to write down their assignments, “It can hurt them socially because they don’t have what the other kids have and they know it … and it hurts them in the classroom,” says Mariya Barone, a teacher at a low-income charter school in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Centers in Malvern, Fort Smith and Morrilton, Arkansas; Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania; and Lakeland, Florida took this need to heart, and each conducted back-to-school supply drives for students in their


SYKES bags stuffed with supplies donated by employees in Malvern

A sample of the school supplies collected at the Malvern site

Lakeland I employees with boxes of donated school supplies

Creative school bus collection box for the supply drive in Bloomsburg

Employees in Morrilton posing with boxes of school supplies collected at their site

 mployees at the E Lakeland I site posing with the donated school supplies



Earth and Sky: SYKES Student Scholarship Recipients Dream Big


ne looks to the heavens. The other to the Earth. Both have their eyes firmly fixed on the future. Thanks to their hard work, impressive achievements – and an assist from SYKES Student Scholarships – their futures look bright. Receiving $2,000 each for the 2015-2016 school year are Zach Kuloszewski, whose mother works for SYKES in the Amherst, New York site, and Ana Luong, whose mother is an at-home employee in the Puget Sound region of Washington state. Zach will apply his scholarship to his pursuit of a major in astrophysics; while Ana pursues a degree in environmental “I am proud of engineering.

credits through the AP program, and will start as a second semester sophomore when he begins his studies in astrophysics at Michigan State University this fall. Astrophysics is the study of the formation of the universe and the behavior and life cycles of stars, planets, and galaxies. As NASA enthusiastically summarizes it, “The science goals of astrophysics are breathtaking: we seek to understand the universe and our place in it.” Zach has long been interested in the cosmos. His eighth grade science project was on black holes, and

Ana and Zach’s accomplishments. Both are outstanding representatives of the scholastic achievement that so many in our extended SYKES family are accomplishing...”

The scholarships are available for dependent children of non-temporary SYKES employees working in the U.S. Eligible students must be high school seniors or graduates who have been accepted by a college or students who are already enrolled. Up to two students are selected annually by the independent Scholarship Management Services. Scholarship awards are based on students’ academic record, demonstrated leadership, participation in school and community activities, honors and more.

“I am proud of Ana and Zach’s accomplishments. Both are outstanding representatives of the scholastic achievement that so many in our extended SYKES family are accomplishing,” said Chuck Sykes, president and CEO. “They are daring to dream big dreams, attaining academic excellence and dedicating themselves to their communities. I offer them my congratulations, salute their achievements and view with confidence the bright futures they are building for themselves.” Success and honors are not new to either student. Zach was valedictorian in a class of 387, and he is an Eagle Scout. He earned 54 advanced placement 18

~ Chuck Sykes

science runs in his family – his father is a nuclear engineer. He plans on eventually pursuing a master’s degree and doctorate – perhaps from Stanford University -- and conducting research or teaching at the college level. Zach’s mother, Lisa Kuloszewski, who is a senior manager in account management for Healthcare Services, thinks Zach has the determination to prevail in the tough degree program. “One thing he learned from his cross country coach, when he ran in high school, was to persevere. His coach told him, ‘you’ll eat a lot of dirt before you die. But pick yourself up and keep going.’” Ana is also well-schooled in success. In high school she earned a place in the Honor Society and was a member of the Key Club. In her first year at the University of Washington she earned a 3.9 grade point average. As she prepares for the start of her sophomore year, she is transitioning from a degree in environmental studies to environmental engineering. Environmental

Ana Luong

Zach Kuloszewski

Ana Luong and Zach Kuloszewski, recipients of the 2015 SYKES Student Scholarships

engineering studies the principles of engineering, soil sciences, biology and chemistry to find solutions to environmental problems. Her switch comes from the inspiration she found during a volunteer internship she had with the University during her freshman year. In her work for the Campus Sustainable Fund, she benchmarked the University of Washington’s sustainability practices against those of other higher education institutions, creating a policy brief about what the school should be doing. Her move to this field is a natural outgrowth of her part-time work in high school with the Department of Parks and Recreation and her volunteer work cleaning and maintaining trails in her native Washington state. Ana’s mother, Lauri Luong, team leader on the Abercrombie and Fitch account, is “ecstatic” about her

daughter’s selection in the scholarship program. “Ana was in school when we got the letter from SYKES. I texted her an image of the letter. We were really excited together. “SYKES is showing that the company cares about their employees through the scholarship program,” says Lauri. “It’s amazing that the company is offering something like this.” Lisa agrees. “The scholarship program is a great way for SYKES to give back to families,” she says. “To me, as an employee, it says if your child puts forth the effort, we believe in you too. And as employees we help support that.” Both Zach and Ana will be eligible for up to three additional years on the scholarship, or until a bachelor’s degree is earned. S


Get SYKED September 2015