Published: May 11, 2017 | Comments
How well is your call center performing? I’ll bet you can tell me the year-to-date metrics and your best performing agent in a heartbeat. You’ve got dozens of key performance metrics that you monitor carefully daily.
How well is your call center operating? By "operating," I mean the quality of relationships between people, between and among leaders and team members.
That’s a different question entirely. Most leaders struggle to provide specific measures they monitor to ensure that people are treated with trust, respect, and dignity in their culture, their call center's work environment.
Effective leaders pay attention to BOTH results AND values - how people treat each other - in the workplace, every day.
Most leaders focus exclusively on results and profits and spend very little time and energy on the quality of workplace culture - even though culture drives everything that happens in their organization, good or bad.
The good news is that leaders are paying greater attention to workplace culture. According to Deloitte’s 2016 Global Human Capital Trends report, “few factors contribute more to business success than culture.” Deloitte's research indicates that 87 percent of business leaders believe that culture is important. 54 percent believe culture is very important – nine percentage points higher than their 2015 study.
Why don’t leaders make culture a priority? They don’t know how. They’ve never been asked to manage culture. Deloitte’s study found that only 28 percent of respondents believe they understand their current culture well. Only 19 percent believe they have the “right” culture!
Our organizations aren’t great places to hang out in. Gallup’s daily engagement dashboard shows only 34% of US employees are actively engaged. TinyPulse’s 2014 engagement and culture report found only 21% of employees feel strongly valued at work (!).
What leaders need is a proven, practical approach to managing the quality of their work culture. They need a way to make values as measurable as performance.
They need an organizational constitution.
An organizational constitution is a formal statement of your call center's servant purpose - it’s “reason for being” besides making widgets or making money. Making money is certainly a good thing for your organization. However, making money isn’t typically a big motivator for 99% of your employees. It doesn’t affect them, day to day.
When you define your servant purpose in terms of how your business improves the quality of life of your customers, one person, one family, one day at a time, that provides all employees a meaningful reason for treating customers kindly and investing time in community service.
Next, your organizational constitution outlines your desired company values along with specific, observable behaviors that indicate how that value is to be demonstrated in daily interactions.
Finally, your organizational constitution formalizes your performance expectations in the form of strategies and goals.
Most call centers have formalized strategies and goals. Very few have formalized values and aligned behaviors. Why are formalized values and behaviors so critically important?
Because you can observe and measure how frequently leaders and team members are modeling your desired valued behaviors. Here’s an example from a client in the service industry. One of their values is integrity, which they defined as “acting with virtue, sincerity, and truthfulness.” That’s a strong definition of integrity - but you can’t stop with just the definition. You must outline exactly how you want everyone - leaders and team members - to model that value.
This client specified three behaviors for their integrity value, which include:
- I align my actions to our values.
- I am honest and do what I say I will do.
- I take responsibility for my actions and I learn from my mistakes.
Those behaviors make their integrity value observable, tangible, and measurable. There is no question how people are supposed to interact!
Crafting an organizational constitution takes a lot of work. Once it’s drafted, leaders may be tempted to “announce” the constitution - and hope that everyone aligns to it.
That “managing by announcements” approach never works. To build credibility for your organizational constitution, leaders must live the servant purpose and values and behaviors in every interaction.
Only when leaders model desired values and behaviors will team members consider embracing them.
Don’t leave your call center culture to chance. Be intentional with an organizational constitution.