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Step Away from the Whiteboard: True Employee Engagement is Grounded in Values

I have seen those that want to improve engagement immediately go to the whiteboard, eagerly ready to start writing down a list of action items.  After all, as leaders are we not action-oriented?  Resist the temptation to do so for your own improvement effort, for you have some ‘plumbing’ work to do first.  Engagement is all about capturing hearts, about driving to a better emotional state for your employees and the organization.  Unless your engagement improvement effort is grounded in values, it will likely be perceived by your employees as just another program to ‘fix me’, that I as employee of the organization am responsible for poor engagement.

Value statements are typically developed and communicated at a company-wide level.  If your call center is your company, then your Value statements should be directly applicable and understandable, from the very top to the very bottom of the organization.  If your call center is just one small part of your company, then even though there may be Values at the company level, they are typically at too high of a level to be directly applicable to the call center employees, especially those at the bottom.

The senior leadership in your call center should develop its own Values.  Keep them simple, but at least incorporate these key components into your statement of Values:

Employees - speak to how the organization values its employees, such as "employee are our number one asset."  In a call center, they are!

Customers - speak to how the organization values its customers, such as "customer satisfaction is at the heart of everything we do", and it certainly should be!

Continuous Improvement - how the organization fosters a continuous improvement culture.

Once developed, communicate your Values whenever possible.  And, as leaders, you must constantly live the Values, otherwise the employees are likely to become cynical, eroding engagement.  You might also want to include words projecting honesty, openness and integrity if they are not already in your company Values.
Develop a set of Values that have emotional energy and you will have a great start with your engagement initiative. 

This is the first step in a 7-step process to improve engagement in your call center.  Visit brianjflagg.wordpress.com to view the other steps.  May you have outstanding results from your engagement initiative!

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