When I see someone present a "best practice, best of breed, blue ribbon panel endorsed" template for Contact Center staffing structures I can feel that right eyebrow of mine begin to rise. What I find most troubling is the ratio of frontline agents to supervisors - the "one size fits all" approach just doesn't fit. The unintended consequences of an ill-conceived ratio can be as troublesome as wearing stilettos while walking on cobblestones.
Some supervisory tasks are reasonably consistent across contact center organizations - coaching, monitoring, developing the agents, and building the team. Aside from those types of tasks, there is another group to supervisor duties - the insidious and dreaded "other duties as assigned." This is where myriad "other work," hidden in an exempt position, can get piled on the supervisors. It can deter supervisors from spending time with their agents and, by extension, weaken that relationship.
Overloading supervisors is tantamount to transforming a practical garment into a couture gown by adding 100 yards of fabric forcing the wearer's shoulders to hunch under the weight and structure - ouch! The "designer" aka senior leader may get kudos for the illusion it creates, but it will be torturous for the "model" aka supervisor.
I have seen examples of this piling on layer after layer of work to supervisors in various industries. Each bit is not, in itself, a problem. It is the cumulative effect of many extra bits that causes the problem. Coco Chanel's cautionary quote about over accessorizing translates flawlessly to handling an overload of duties on exempt positions:
Ask yourself what form, fit, and function will you expect and require from your supervisors? Then follow these simple steps to clean out and organize the supervisory task closet.
Note: The size of your organization will help determine if supervisors will need to do training, reporting, quality assurance, etc. or if those functions can be completed by dedicated support staff.
It is well worth the effort to help protect the supervisors from:
Now iron your shirt, shine your shoes, and straighten up your supervisory responsibilities. The supervisors will feel better, and their results will look better.
Know this - cultivating culture never goes out of style!
Debra earned her doctorate degree in Business Administration. She has spent
most of her career in Contact Centers, the past 20 years building and
leading Workforce Management teams, and worked in a variety of industries.
Her leadership style balances empowerment, accountability, results, and
fun. When not at work, Debra occupies her free time as a member of the DNF
(Did Not Finish) team at the Antioch, California dirt track – push starting
Sprint cars and supporting raceway safety. She lives by these words: "Work
and play, laugh loud and often, be safe and strong, and live on your own
terms". Learn more about and connect with Debra on social media at:
and on Twitter @theccdoctor
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