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5 Proven Ways to Improve Your Contact Center Culture

How healthy is your contact center’s work culture?

If you’re like most leaders, you’ve never been asked to manage the quality of your culture proactively. It’s not part of your job description.

The reality is that your work culture drives everything that happens in your organization - for better or worse. Ignoring the quality of your work culture is likely costing you time, trust, respect, retention, productivity, and more.

When faced with the demand for proactive culture management, most leaders don’t know what to do to build a purposeful, positive, productive work culture.

5 ways to improve call center culture

This article presents five steps which are the foundation of my proven culture refinement process. They’ve helped organizations around the globe and in hundreds of industries boost engagement (by 40%), service (by 40%), and results and profits (35%), all within 18 months of engaging in this intentional process.

These five steps are not complicated - but they do demand leaders’ time, attention, modeling, coaching, and measurement to gain traction on your desired contact center culture.

The five steps include:

1. Assess It

You can’t formulate a plan to improve the health of your work culture until you stop and assess what’s working - and what’s not. Once the gaps are apparent, you can then map an approach to close those gaps over time.

The key: you must have a model to compare your work culture to. Casual discussion or observation will not lead to actionable insights.

Here are three models that can help you assess the quality of your work culture today. They’re presented in order of simple to more complex models.

The first is my Purposeful Culture Assessment. It is a quick 12-item survey - scored online within seconds - that will provide a snapshot of how healthy your work culture is. To get started, head to my web site ( https://www.drivingresultsthroughculture.com ) and click on the “get your free starter kit + assessment” button on the top right.

The second is my Culture Effectiveness Assessment, a 50-item survey built into my book, The Culture Engine. The CEA provides a more involved evaluation of your team or center work culture.

The third is a much more extensive assessment: Human Synergistics’ Organizational Culture Inventory (OCI). Organizational Culture Inventory - Measure organizational culture The OCI standard assessment describes the current operating culture in terms of behavioral norms. The OCI-Ideal version describes the behaviors that members believe will maximize the organization’s effectiveness. In addition, the Organizational Effectiveness Inventory can be added. The OEI examines the impact of causal factors including mission and philosophy, structures, systems, and skills.

The OCI, OCI-Ideal, and OEI are much more involved assessments to undertake, but they provide actionable insights on your organization’s culture and climate.

2. Define It

The define stage is where leaders must formalize their desired team or center culture in the form of an organizational constitution. Your constitution specifies your organization’s servant purpose (it’s service-oriented “reason for being” besides making money), your values and behaviors, and strategies and goals.

Once defined, these elements help everyone in the organization understand what a great team citizen looks like, acts like, and sounds like: how to treat others with respect in every interaction.

3. Align It

Defining your organizational constitution doesn’t mean everyone in your organization will embrace it! Leaders must align all plans, decisions, and actions to your desired culture - your organizational constitution - every day.

Leaders must build credibility for this process by holding themselves accountable for modeling your values and behaviors - then coaching others by praising aligned behavior and re-directing mis-aligned behavior. They can no longer tolerate disrespectful, self-serving, bullying approaches.

4. Measure It

To ensure that the alignment process is taking hold, leaders must create a means to measure agents and team members’ perceptions of their leaders. The best way to measure values alignment is to conduct a regular values survey - at least twice a year.

In this survey, agents and team members rate their bosses on the degree to which those bosses model the valued behaviors defined in your organizational constitution. By rating bosses on these behaviors, you can provide leaders with undeniable truth about how employees see them behaving in the workplace each day.

For example, if one of your values is integrity and one of that value’s behaviors is “I do what I say I will do,” agent and team members get to rate their direct boss on how well they model that valued behavior in daily interactions.

Leaders are then presented with a profile of agents’ and team members’ ratings. These are shared without attributing scores by individual employees but in a group format.

This approach will help you and all leaders understand exactly how their demonstration of your valued behaviors is perceived. Leaders who are seen as values-aligned will have team members’ ratings to prove it. And - leaders who are seen as not demonstrating your desired valued behaviors will have team members’ ratings to prove that.

A values survey will help you hold leaders accountable for both results AND respect. You will celebrate values-aligned leaders and re-direct mis-aligned leaders.

5. Refine It

Every year, you will refine your organizational constitution by updating strategies and goals. Every two years, you will refine your valued behaviors, as needed.

You will rarely need to revise your organization’s servant purpose, values, or definitions.

By embracing these five steps, you can shift your team or contact center’s work culture to purposeful, positive, and productive.

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