Most of the new employees will work in customer service taking calls, but the company also will hire for new management positions, such as account manager, team manager and trainer.

LAKELAND — Sykes Enterprises Inc. has new jobs for several hundred people with pleasant personalities who know how to handle a phone.

Tampa-based Sykes will be hiring for those positions at its Lakeland call center through the end of the year, according to Kate Thurgood, senior site director supervising the local office.

Sykes initiated the hiring boom after adding two new accounts to the Lakeland call center in addition to three accounts serviced previously, she said.

“The growth means we will be increasing substantially now through the end of the year,” Thurgood said.

Most of the new employees will work in customer service taking calls, she said, but the company also will hire for new management positions, such as account manager, team manager and trainer.

Thurgood declined to offer a specific number of new jobs created, but she said the 92,231-square-foot center will reach its capacity of 950 workers by the end of the year. It employed 500 to 600 people in April, when she joined the company, moving from Colorado.

Sykes doesn't identify its clients, but the company website states they include the 2,000 largest global companies involved primarily in the communications, financial services, health care, technology, transportation and retail industries.

One of the new accounts is a health care company, Thurgood said, and the Sykes customer service representatives would handle areas such as technical support, insurance questions, billing and enrollment.

The other new client is a well known software company, she said.

“We're really looking for an analytical candidate for this account,” she said. “We're looking for someone who can walk the customer through the different products and services available.”

Sykes also has made a significant, unspecified investment in remodeling the Lakeland center, Thurgood said.

In addition to new paint and flooring, the center has a new gaming area for employees in the refurbished café space, she said.

“We've taken a fresh look at the layout, furniture and overall design to ensure our space resembles our vision and is a welcoming, vibrant place that our employees can be proud of,” Thurgood said in a company statement announcing the hirings.

Thurgood declined to discuss wage information other than to say Sykes' employees get a competitive pay above the minimum wage.

People interested in applying for a job can do so at the center at 1144 Griffin Road or through the company's website, https://jobs.sykes.com/en-US/page/fp-center.

“The Chamber welcomes the continued investment by Sykes in the growth and success of our Lakeland business community,” said Cory Skeates, president of the Lakeland Chamber of Commerce, in an email to The Ledger. “By placing a priority on overall employee satisfaction, Sykes will be serving as a leader on the Chamber's priority initiative of recruitment and retention.”

Kevin Bouffard can be reached at kevin.bouffard@theledger.com or at 863-802-7591.