“USE THE POWER OF THE FREE
MARKET FOR GOOD NOT EVIL”

-Mike Dershowitz, Founder & CEO

ARTICLE

Medium, Aug 14, 2019

De-Risk Your Agent’s Life Through Impact Programs
 

Minimizing the risks in your agent’s lives doesn’t just entail keeping a safe work environment and promoting a healthy lifestyle. It also involves investing in impact programs that cushion them from financial shocks.

ARTICLE

Contact Center Pipeline, Aug 7, 2019

Moral Leadership in the Contact Center
 

After a year of getting warmed up, now it’s time to talk about that least safe of topics—morality and moral leadership in the contact center. If I asked you if there was a sense of right and wrong—morality—in your call center, what would you say? If I asked your agents, what would they say?

ARTICLE

Medium, Aug 2, 2019

How Micro-Lending Programs Make a Huge Difference to Your Agents
 

A high-paying job in the BPO sector makes a huge difference in pulling agents and their families out of poverty. But is that enough?

REPORT

Medium, Jul 31, 2019

Rethink’s 4th Impact Report: We Continue to See Progress in Our Work
 

We’re getting better at measuring income, and what it means in our Agents’ lives. As we’ve learned this quarter, income is only one half of the poverty equation; the other half is consumption.

ARTICLE

Medium, July 9, 2019

When people are your business, behavior is your product.
 

Your business needs people. But people are more than cogs in a machine. Like it or not, a person’s history and current situation drives behavior more than you realize. Do you understand why?

REBLOG

The Good Men Project, Jul 14, 2019

When People Are Your Business, Behavior Is Your Product.
 

Your business needs people. But people are more than cogs in a machine. Like it or not, a person’s history and current situation drives behavior more than you realize. Do you understand why?

ARTICLE

Medium, July 9, 2019

When people are your business, behavior is your product.
 

Your business needs people. But people are more than cogs in a machine. Like it or not, a person’s history and current situation drives behavior more than you realize. Do you understand why?

ARTICLE

Medium, June 25, 2019

Nurturing a Culture of Justice in the Workplace
 

We all have to live our lives with the cards we’re dealt with. Life is not fair and bad things can happen to good people, but that doesn’t mean we can’t try to make it less awful than it already is.

ARTICLE

Medium, June 20, 2019

The Minimum Wage Must Have Minimum Hours
 

It seems you can’t read headlines today without hearing about a city or state proposal somewhere for a $15/hour minimum wage. We need that conversation, because a federal minimum wage of $7.25/hour is below the single-person poverty threshold in a large part of the country, and so our minimum wage is really a “poverty wage.”

ARTICLE

Medium, June 12, 2019

An Introduction to What Makes RTS Different
 

In the beginning of February, I finished the last article in a series of 10 about the Agent Bill of Rights (ABOR) at Rethink Staffing (RTS). In that series, I explore the individual agent stories that inspired the rights of the founding document of RTS — the rights upon which we built our own little society within our company. This society is where we have created the world as we think it should be, instead of the world as it exists outside of the walls of our facilities.

ARTICLE

Medium, June 11, 2019

RTS Compensation Policy: Pulling Agents Out of Poverty and Into the Middle Class

At Rethink, salary increases are not automatic but based on individual merit. In fact, we have made tenure raises obsolete in our compensation policies. It’s a bold move. It may appear, at first glance, like we’re very selective in who gets a raise or that we’re trying to be cheap and keep more money for ourselves…

ARTICLE

Medium, May 28, 2019

Want to reduce poverty? Use a BPO job to “pull” people out.
 

New data from the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS), the pre-eminent economic research think-tank in the Philippines (even though it’s funded by the government), does a great job of defining the middle-class in a developing world society like the Philippines…

REBLOG

Contact Center Pipeline, May 2, 2019

High Absenteeism? Consider Your Agents’ Breaking Point”
 

For frontline agents, the lack of economic resources often makes being absent the only option.

 

I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty frustrated by clients, prospects and some contact center managers who think that the only reason agents are absent from work is because they are lazy. Not only is this conclusion frequently detached from the facts of what’s causing the absenteeism, but it also abrogates a level of responsibility on the part of management.

REPORT

Medium, May 2, 2019

Expanding our Social & Economic Impact on RTS Employees
 

This Third Impact Report makes us feel we’re starting to hit our stride in how we impact people’s lives in our Philippine delivery center. We’re making progress in the way we measure our social impact as well the quality of impact work we’ve been doing.

ARTICLE

Medium, May 29, 2019

6 Ways to Make More Money Today at Rethink Staffing
 

I’m finishing up my quarterly visit here in our « home base » delivery center of Iloilo, Philippines. As Rethink Staffing begins its expansion in earnest here in 2019, where we’re in the process of doubling the size of our center, I’ve come to call this Philippines center first, our « proof of concept » and now our prototype center. I’m happy with our progress — we’re doing a lot of things right here in Iloilo to make a BPO delivery center an anti-poverty weapon.

VIDEO

H+G Philly, March 24, 2019

H+G #5 Video Recap
 

Mike’s a heavyweight when it comes to fast growth and customer acquisition. With a measly $3,500 cash investment in 2011, Mike has since skyrocketed ModSolar to 230% year-over-year growth. Mike reveals all about the sales strategies that worked for him and his team, and those that didn’t.

REBLOG

Avcomm Solutions, March 19, 2019

Will Video Conferencing make you regret referring to your contact center as ‘multi-channel’? Consider these issues.
 

A guest post by Mike Dershowitz, the CEO of Rethink Staffing, a Fair Trade Outsourcing Company, and its sister facility, RTS Philly Outsourcing Center. He believes that when companies focus on their employees’ social and economic progress, it motivates them to perform better at work and produce outperforming results…

ARTICLE

Medium, March 13, 2019

Abandon Tenure Raises and Pay a COLA Instead
 

The erosion of economic power has been the driving force behind much of the social unrest that has gripped various societies over the last few centuries. Many of the great economists, including Piketty, Keynes, and Robinson, have rightly observed that societies in which economic power is significantly imbalanced have had or will have social unrest.

ARTICLE

Medium, March 6, 2019

Is Sexual Tourism Inevitable in the BPO industry?
 

For almost a year after starting Rethink Staffing in the BPO industry, I felt an immense guilt about how I was making my living. I would read news reports about the horrible conditions in offshore call centers. When friends asked what I was doing, I stumbled about, responding confusedly and obscuring the truth, in order to avoid the inevitable stigmas of working in the developing world.

ARTICLE

Medium, February 7, 2019

ABOR #10: Neither management nor you shall violate these rights.
 

Over the course of this series, in explaining nine of the 10 Agent Bill of Rights, I thought it was best to help explain what Agents live through by giving you, dear reader, their stories…

REBLOG

Contact Center Pipeline, February 6, 2019

It All Begins with Good Health
 

If you’re reading this article on the Contact Center Pipeline blog, chances are you are in management or an executive and that sufficient health care has never been an issue for you or your family. That may be presumptuous, but it highlights the divisions by economic class Americans face today, something we hear about more and more.

PODCAST

Spotify, February 1, 2019

Mike Dershowitz, CEO of Rethink Staffing, on Fair Trade Outsourcing
 

“The outsourcing industry is the way to create middle class jobs.” Mike Dershowitz, CEO of Rethink Staffing, joins Dollars and Change hosts Nick Ashburn and Sandi Hunt to discuss fair trade outsourcing and how it can create measurable social impact.

REPORT

Medium, January 22, 2019

Announcing the Second RTS Impact Report
 

Nearly a year ago now, we rededicated Rethink Staffing to the social and economic welfare of our Agents, not just as the right thing to do, but as a whole new way of doing business in the Outsourcing/BPO industry. Today, I’m pleased to report our results for our second quarterly Impact Report.

PODCAST

Ivoox, January 2, 2019

Mike Dershowitz, CEO of Rethink Staffing, on Fair Trade Outsourcing
 

“The outsourcing industry is the way to create middle class jobs.” Mike Dershowitz, CEO of Rethink Staffing, joins Dollars and Change hosts Nick Ashburn and Sandi Hunt to discuss fair trade outsourcing and how it can create measurable social impact.

PODCAST

Business Radio, January 1, 2019

Mike Dershowitz on Dollars and Change
 

Mike Dershowitz, CEO of Rethink Staffing, joins Nick Ashburn and Sandi Hunt on Dollars and Change.

ARTICLE

Medium, December 28, 2018

ABOR #9: You should be working with friends.
 

“You’re an idiot.” JP’s supervisor said to him, reviewing his error. “I’m going to issue you a sanction for this — you should have known better. We have to hit our stats, and this mistake will hurt us in the quality SLA (Service Level Agreement) that we need to hit.” JP was just 20 years old, and four weeks prior, he just started his first job in a BPO company.

ARTICLE

Medium, December 12, 2018

ABOR #8: Healthcare is a human right.
 

Elma Mae “Mimi” Pinto used to work at Avatar Technologies before she got hired at Rethink Staffing. She was already a QA Specialist at that time, being promoted from a phones Agent. She usually went to work at around 12 midnight. She was riding her scooter to work one night when she got into a vehicular accident.

ARTICLE

Medium, Nov 30, 2018

ABOR#7: You don’t have to hide who or where you are.
 

By this point, Jenny was sick of what happened every time she said the lie. It was so predictable but was undoubtedly responsible for a lot of the misery she felt whenever she came to work. Why did she have to lie every time she took a call?

ARTICLE

Contact Center Pipeline, Nov 27, 2018

Create Safety or You’ll Never Get Performance
 

In his excellent 2018 book, “The Culture Code,” Daniel Coyle writes extensively about the concept of “safety” in company cultures. Coyle bifurcates all company cultures into two types—“creating” and “servicing”—and argues that the key similarity between successful cultures in these two types of businesses is in their ability to create safe environments for employees.

ARTICLE

Medium, Nov 22, 2018

ABOR#6: You will never be subject to racism.
 

The client had always been challenging since day one. Maybe, it was because they were a New Yorker. Perhaps, it was because they were under a lot of pressure to make their small business successful. Whatever it was, the client had quickly developed a reputation for expecting a lot and not being clear about what that was. Since it was a small team, I was very hands on initially to get the account up and running…

ARTICLE

The Philadelphia Citizen, Nov 14, 2018

BUSINESS FOR GOOD: RETHINK STAFFING
 

“You have to look at the economics of where people are living and help them have a good living within those conditions,” -M.Dershowitz

REBLOG

Avcomm Solutions, Nov 8, 2018

A Few Words of Inspiration for My Sales Team
 

A guest post by Mike Dershowitz, the CEO of Rethink Staffing, a Fair Trade Outsourcing Company, and its sister facility, RTS Philly Outsourcing Center. He believes that when companies focus on their employees’ social and economic progress, it motivates them to perform better at work and produce outperforming results…

ARTICLE

Medium, Oct 29, 2018

ABOR #5: Your managers must listen to you and treat you fairly.
 

Ailes couldn’t believe this guy was going to do this to him. It wasn’t just that he was going to lose his job. It was the way in which it was going to happen, especially after Ailes had taken a chance on a new, small company, after having been employed at one of the biggest call centers in town.

VIDEO

Youtube Video, Oct 25, 2018

Mike Dershowitz Talks about Creating Social and Economic Impact in Business
 

Mike Dershowitz Talks to Jim DeLorenzo about Fair Trade Entrepreneurship and Creating Social and Economic Impact in Business.

ARTICLE

Medium, Oct 24, 2018

ABOR#4: You will never feel threatened at work.
 

Amy (name changed) had been working at her job for 6 months at one of the largest and oldest call centers in Iloilo when it happened.

 

Because of her odd shift schedule, which started at 3 AM local time and coupled with the last jeepney arriving at her office at midnight, she was always at work at least 3 hours early. Sometimes, she would read or watch videos on YouTube during the three hours before her shift. But sometimes, she would go into the “quiet room” to sleep before her shift…

REBLOG

PACE Article, Oct 22, 2018

Don’t Ignore Reality: Employee Engagement Begins In Agent’s Pockets
 

A guest post by Mike Dershowitz, the CEO of Rethink Staffing, a Fair Trade Outsourcing Company, and its sister facility, RTS Philly Outsourcing Center. He believes that when companies focus on their employees’ social and economic progress, it motivates them to perform better at work and produce outperforming results…

ARTICLE

Medium, Oct 22, 2018

ABOR#3: We will never deny you job movement or advancement.
 

In the Philippines, when you work hard in school, graduate well, and apply that same hard work to your early career, opportunity abounds. In particular, Filipinos have the ability to work abroad as “Balikbayans” or “OFWs” (Overseas Filipino Workers). For the last two decades, money that OFWs sent back to their families was the single largest source of revenue for the Philippines.

REBLOG

SOCAP International, Oct 20, 2018

Will Video Conferencing make you regret referring to your contact center as ‘multi-channel’? Consider these issues.
 

As much as the contact center world is deploying AI and bots, like any other business, to optimize its operations with existing humans, or someday replace them, there has been a parallel, growing body of practice known as “Video consumer Service” that is quietly changing our industry as well.

REBLOG

Contact Center Pipeline, Oct 17, 2018

Don’t Ignore the Economics of Your Contact Center
 

How does your agents’ pay relate to the local economy in which they live? Fair warning: Reading this article could be painful for you. Not dentist-root-canal painful, more like exercising-again-after-taking-a-longer-break-than-you-should-have painful. But it may also give you a punch in the stomach, because I’m going to say things to you that may make you feel foolish for not seeing them before now…

ARTICLE

Medium, Oct 17, 2018

ABOR#2 — You will have access to programs that will fuel your success.
 

Albert (not his real name) grew up on a subsistence farm in a rural area in the Philippines. His parents were palay (rice) farmers, working as tenant farmers for most of Albert’s life. They made less than $1,000/year, and Albert’s father sold ice cream at the local town on the weekends to supplement their income.

ARTICLE

Medium, Oct 15, 2018

ABOR#1 — As long as we have business, you have a job.
 

“It’s going to be another hot day,” Mark (not his real name) thinks to himself, as he begins his three-part journey from his family’s home in their Barangay, 10 km from the center of the town. Mark wishes he can afford to stay at a boarding house closer to work, but the $40/month that will cost — that money is needed for his father’s heart medication. So it’s trike, jeepney, and another jeepney for Mark today, and most days.

ARTICLE

Medium, Oct 5, 2018

On the Agent Bill of Rights
 

From 1784 to 1788, in the years after the end of the Revolutionary War in America, leaders of the revolution, with only state governments to live by at this point, began to feel that the dream of liberty may never be fully grown on the land of America without forming “A more perfect union.” Throughout 1788 until 1789, they drafted, debated, conferenced, and ultimately agreed on a representative republican model of governance. Of course, that agreement they created and ultimately gifted to us was the U.S. Constitution, an imperfect yet durable model of governance that has been copied the world over.

REPORT

Medium, Oct 1, 2018

The First Rethink Staffing Social Impact Report
 

When I started this Medium page (You can’t really call it a blog), I made a pact that it would be a forum for the explanation, exploration, and promotion of the ideas about which I’m so passionate. This included everything from how good economics can alleviate poverty, to solutions for the call center industry, to ideas on how to be a fair trade entrepreneur…

ARTICLE

Medium, Sept 3, 2018

The First Rethink Staffing Social Impact Report
 

As much as the contact center world is deploying AI and bots, like any other business, to optimize its operations with existing humans, or someday replace them, there has been a parallel, growing body of practice known as “Video consumer Service” that is quietly changing our industry as well.

ARTICLE

Medium, Aug 28, 2018

A Few Words of Inspiration for My Sales Team
 

I’ve been living in Berlin, Germany this summer. It has been an incredibly productive time for me and for Rethink Staffing as a whole, including finally building a real sales team that can deliver results. My favorite breakfast place is two blocks from where we’re renting a flat, called Anna Blume. It was introduced to me by a Berliner friend 3 years ago upon a visit for business, and situated in the old East Berlin neighborhood of Prenzlauer Berg. The coffee is good, and the bauernomelette (think of pickles, potatoes and eggs) is my favorite. When there alone, I find myself quite contemplative.

ARTICLE

Medium, Aug 20, 2018

Don’t Ignore Reality: Employee Engagement Begins in Agents’ Pockets
 

Depending on the pundits you read, we have a crisis in employee engagement in the American labor force. Gallup reports that only ⅓ of all workers in the American economy report feeling “engaged” at work. Within the call center industry, surveys like McKinsey’s show that it’s actually much worse. The same is true in the outsourcing industry, as revealed by this IAOP report.

ARTICLE

Medium, Aug 9, 2018

“La Lengua es la clave del Imperio.” English-only policies are missing the point.
 

The Kingdom of Spain in 1491 must have been an exciting time in the history of the world, full of promise, possibility and danger. One year before Columbus launched his historic journey, the promise of untold riches in the new world was all anyone in the royal court could speak of. Spain in 1491 is probably what the dawn of the industrial revolution, the automobile revolution, or the computer revolution must have felt like. Humanity believed it could conquer any frontier.

REBLOG

PACE, Aug 3, 2018

Worried About Employee Engagement?
 

We’re currently interviewing for a new sales executive here at Rethink Staffing. At first, I thought I wanted someone directly from the BPO industry, who worked for a competitor, figuring that experience and contacts would be a great place to start as we try and grow Rethink Staffing.

 

In talking to a few candidates, they kept saying something that, for whatever reason, really got under my skin. Every time we talked about their past successes, I kept hearing how many “seats” they sold here, or how many “seats” they were responsible for managing there, or how many total “seats” they had at their organization…

ARTICLE

Medium, Jul 26, 2018

The Economic Importance of the Scooter
 

American culture has long mythologized the open road, and the individual freedom that a vehicle brings to a person. In the post-war era in America, when incomes were rising and a new middle-class was being built, the car or motorcycle was simply another word for freedom within the American mind-set. You weren’t free unless you could get around on your own time, at your own pace, and in your own vehicle.

PODCAST

Castbox, July 19, 2018

Fair Trade Outsourcing: Sustainable, Ethical and Profitable
 

Join Bruce Belfiore and Mike Dershowitz, CEO and Managing Director of Rethink Staffing, as they discuss a novel approach to managing call centers for outperforming results and creating social and economic impact at the same time. Mike shares his philosophy behind fair trade outsourcing, and some real-world examples that illustrate its sustainability, ethicality, and profitability…

PODCAST

Benchmark Portal, July 18, 2018

Benchmark Portal, July 18, 2018
 

Mike Dershowitz is the CEO of Rethink Staffing, a social impact outsourcing company that aims to make a measurable impact on the lives of people in developing populations. His idea is to put as many people as possible into impact sourcing work, that pays people up to 3 times the poverty rate of the country they live in and provides them skills in a context that makes them more productive and happy. This will eventually help them become capital owners and contribute to the economic development of their respective communities.

ARTICLE

Medium, May 11, 2018

Hey BPO leaders! Stop talking “seats” — start talking “people”
 

We’re currently interviewing for a new sales exec here at Rethink Staffing. At first, I thought I wanted someone directly from the BPO industry, working for a competitor, figuring that experience and contacts would be a great place to start as we try and grow Rethink Staffing…

ARTICLE

Medium, May 2, 2018

The BPO industry helped reduce global poverty over the last 30 years— take pride in it!
 

I’m still reflecting on my time at the PACE conference last week. It was my first call center industry conference, and there were a lot of people there who had been in the industry much longer than I have. I came away a little sad at what I experienced from those leaders that had been in the industry for quite some time…

ARTICLE

Medium, Apr 24, 2018

The BPO industry can still deliver what the developing world needs — “factor” income, not just “percentage” gains
 

I have written about how the BPO industry should be proud of its poverty alleviation record, and how the industry has been good at producing positive outcomes for agents.

 

The fact is this: If the economics don’t work — “it” doesn’t work. What do we mean by “it”? It refers to most things in our lives. In the case I want to discuss today, the “it” is the BPO industry and its ability to radically and rapidly change an individual’s economic circumstances through delivering employment that pays someone a multiple of the income they could otherwise earn, instead of just a percentage gain.

ARTICLE

Medium, Apr 23, 2018

6 Great Reads for Aspiring Fair Trade Entrepreneurs
 

#WorldBookDay is a great reminder that we all need to read more! I truly enjoy reading, and I never find enough time to do it.

 

The following six books are not strictly about Fair Trade Entrepreneurship. I define Fair Trade Entrepreneurship as a framework by which you govern your business dealings. It’s really nothing more than just applying the golden rule to the way that you conduct business.

ARTICLE

Benchmark Portal, Apr 18, 2018

The BPO industry was effective long before “Impact Sourcing”
 

I’m here at the PACE annual conference outside of Atlanta. While getting ready for the conference, I started doing some research on some of the participants, and I saw a few organizations that seem to be speaking the same language we do at Rethink Staffing. Back in 2013 and 2014, the concept of “Impact Sourcing” got hot in the BPO industry. Basically, Impact Sourcing is selecting a BPO service provider based upon the impact the provider is having on the lives of its employees. In other words, Mr. Fortune 500 company, what impact is your sourcing having on the lives of the people in the developing world that you employ through your service provider?

ARTICLE

Medium, Mar 6, 2018

Fair Trade Entrepreneurship — Tool #1 — Structuring Incentives (Part 2 of 2)
 

I wasn’t always a good practitioner of fair trade. In fact, I only became engrossed in fair trade practices when I made a now-defunct investment in growing coffee in the Philippines, which I love. That investment fell through, but my passion for fair trade continued to flourish.

ARTICLE

Medium, Feb 27, 2018

Here’s why automation will never destroy the need for customer service labor…
 

I was in bed most of last week sick with that flu that’s been going around. One happy by-product of that downtime was that, when I wasn’t sleeping, I was binge re-watching Downton Abbey — that wonderful BBC series about country life and societal in Yorkshire England from 1912–1928.

ARTICLE

Medium, Feb 20, 2018

Fair Trade Entrepreneurship — Tool #1 — Structuring Incentives (Part 1 of 2)
 

I wasn’t always a good practitioner of fair trade. In fact, I only became engrossed in fair trade practices when I made an investment in coffee, which I love. That investment fell through, but my passion for fair trade continued to flourish. One of the first questions I asked myself back then was “can fair trade be applied to the outsourcing industry?” The thought excited me…

ARTICLE

Medium, Feb 6, 2018

How Fair Trade Entrepreneurship Became My Driving Philosophy in Business
 

I started Rethink Staffing in September of 2015 largely because I was personally going broke. For five years, I had another business, MODsolar, that had a great dream but was in a bad shape because of changes in the industry at that time.

ARTICLE

Medium, Feb 5, 2018

A New Philosophy for the BPO Industry
 

Two centuries ago, a man named Robert Owen owned a textile mill in Scotland at the height of the industrial revolution. Owen’s competitors ran mills that treated their workers despicably. Long hours, dangerous working conditions, and low pay. Child labor was common, drunkenness at work was expected. It was hell on earth.

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