The chief executive officer of a Jenkins call center that parted ways with 22 workers on November 6 says the terminations were not “layoffs.”
“We did not lay off any employees from our Jenkins call center,” said Healthcare National Marketing CEO Sherri Paules. “Healthcare National Marketing is a national insurance agency, which means we are a production based organization. Last Friday (November 6), we terminated folks that were not meeting our production goals and/or had attendance issues. It’s part of the business.”
Paules and National Healthcare Marketing Inc. are based in New Port Richey, Florida. News that 22 workers were dismissed from their jobs became public last week after two former employees contacted The Mountain Eagle and Jenkins City Manager Benny McCall said he had discussed the situation with Paules.
“They are strict,” McCall told The Eagle last week after speaking with Paules. “Punctuality is a huge thing with them.”
The two employees who spoke with The Eagle said they were told they were being let go because “production wasn’t meeting payroll.” The former employees also said they had just recently been praised for the work they were doing in helping sell dental insurance policies for Delta Dental and Careington, and that hourly pay at the call center was cut from $12 an hour to $9 an hour.
“A call center environment is not for everyone,” Paules told The Eagle this week in response to the claims of the ex-workers. “We will be hiring again to give more folks an opportunity to see if this type of work is for them and successfully meet our production goals. As far as the pay goes, you were told correctly. From the first day our Jenkins call center opened, our goal (has been) to help as many people succeed in our organization as possible.
“During these first two months we offered a straight hourly pay of $11 per hour as everyone received training and learned more about our organization. Now that we have a solid team of producing phone agents we want to give them an opportunity to make more money for their hard work. So, we lowered the rate of pay to $9 per hour and added commission. This pay structure will allow our Jenkins employees an opportunity to make more money. We are still pressing on toward the same goal we started this business expansion project, to bring hope through much needed job creation.
“I hope this clarifies what took place last week,” Paules concluded. “We all want this call center to be successful in Jenkins and to create jobs for years and years to come. Sometimes tough decisions have to be made for success to be achieved.”