Who ya gonna call? Grand Junction StarTek site growing source for services

Chris Higgins, site director at the StarTek facility in Grand Junction, and Norma Roberts, human resources manager, oversee a growing operation and staff that provides a range of outsourced business services. Higgins and Roberts say flexible hours and benefits help to recruit employees — as do such frequent celebrations in the workplace as Hawaiian shirt day. (Business Times photo by Phil Castle)
Chris Higgins, site director at the StarTek facility in Grand Junction, and Norma Roberts, human resources manager, oversee a growing operation and staff that provides a range of outsourced business services. Higgins and Roberts say flexible hours and benefits help to recruit employees — as do such frequent celebrations in the workplace as Hawaiian shirt day. (Business Times photo by Phil Castle)

Phil Castle, The Business Times

     Chris Higgins plays a chess game of sorts in deploying staff at the StarTek facility in Grand Junction to match demand for the services provided there.

It’s getting more complicated for Higgins, the site director, because StarTek offers more services and there are more employees — a lot more.

StarTek hired 130 people in June and Higgins expects to bring on another 115 in July. Counting management, the staff has grown to about 700.

That makes the facility one of the largest operated by StarTek and among the largest private employers in the Grand Valley.

Higgins attributes the increase in staffing to an increase in demand in turn prompted by the performance of the staff. “We’re doing what we need to do to be successful, and it’s showing.”

StarTek, a publicly traded corporation headquartered in Colorado, provides sales and technical support for clients in the education, health care, retail and telecommunications sectors. StarTek operates three facilities in Colorado as well as elsewhere in the United States as well as in the Honduras, Jamaica and the Philippines.

In Grand Junction, StarTek handles enrollment for clients in the health care and home schooling businesses as well as customer service and technical support for a telecommunications company.

In addition to providing services over the telephone, StarTek provides services on mobile devices and online chats.

“We’ve expanded what we do for each client. That is made possible by the performance,” says Norma Roberts, human resources manager at the StarTek site in Grand Junction.

Higgins says some clients have requested specifically that the Grand Junction site handle their services.

The prospect for additional growth is good, Higgins says, as more businesses focus on core products and services and outsource other tasks and processes to companies like StarTek. Moreover, there’s a growing preference among consumers to deal with call centers located in the United States.

With about 55,000 square feet of space at its facility in Grand Junction, there’s room to grow, Higgins says. As operations continue to grow, so will the staff, he says.

Roberts says StarTek uses a variety of channels to recruit employees. The company offers benefits that include dental, medical and vision plans as well as a retirement plan. StarTek also offers an employee assistance program.

Flexible scheduling is another attraction, particularly for members of the so-called millenial generation born between 1980 and 2000, Roberts says. “They want flexibility. That’s the name of the game.”

Higgins says he hopes to offer even more flexibility in launching a program in which employees will be able to change their schedules with as little as two days of notice. At the same time, though, employees still will be responsible for showing up when they’re scheduled and will be rewarded for conscientiously doing so, he says.

The idea, he says, is to maintain more efficient staffing levels to accommodate changing demands over the course of a day.

Higgins says he expects the added flexibility will be popular with parents who have to adjust their schedules for doctors appointments or other events with their children as well as college students who have classes during the middle of the day.

StarTek also strives to promote an enjoyable culture with contests, company events and such celebrations as Hawaiian shirt and wacky hat days, Higgins says. “We’re getting more fun back in the workplace.”

The Grand Junction site includes a lounge for employees as well as a newly opened cantina where they can purchase food.

The company also gives back, Higgins says, in collecting clothes for what’s billed as a community closet and contributing money to local nonprofit organizations.

Roberts says the expanding service and staff at StarTek make it more complicated to oversee operations, but also more rewarding. “There’s excitement around here.”