Published: May 06, 2019 | Comments
Employee engagement is a hot topic in contact centers and all other
industries, with leaders struggling to motivate and sometimes retain top
talent. Far too often though when the results of the once-a-year survey are
bad, people feel the urge to reinvent the wheel and over-engineer solutions
to try and drive engagement. Unfortunately, the more complicated the action
items, the less likely one would be successful. The problem with engagement
surveys is that they don’t get to the root cause either.
In this article, we’ll focus on simplifying employee engagement, providing
you with practical tips to build and enhance your team and the
organization’s culture, getting to that elusive root cause.
Why Focus on the Employee Experience?
Engagement should always be top of mind for all leaders. Unfortunately,
though, many leaders are trapped in the day-to-day world of getting stuff
done or in an endless schedule of meetings leading them to feel too “busy.”
As a result, all the other items that need addressing often end up trumping
employee experience. If one’s mindset were to shift to placing the employee
experience as the #1 priority, leaders would feel more productive instead
of just being busy. Ultimately, providing an engaging culture and role for
your team helps to ensure that employees will take better care of their
6 Ways to Improve Employee Experience & Engagement
Provide the basics.
- Fair compensation, a culture of respect and leadership support are table
stake items for establishing a great employee experience. These are
foundational items that are integral to helping ensure that someone is
engaged in the role.
Know your people.
- To improve engagement, a leader must know their people and what they care
about most. Holding regular one on ones with the team is vital to not only
build rapport and trust but to ensure people have a venue to discuss any
- As a leader, you should know the answers to several essential questions
about each of your employees. Knowing the answers to the following
questions will help improve your understanding of what factors are most
important to the employee experience of your team:
o What keeps you here?
o What do you like best about being here?
o What would make you leave?
Have a strategy instead of waiting for the engagement survey results.
- A mistake that many leaders make is talking about engagement only after
they get their results. To be more proactive, doing your yearly planning,
make sure you start with a strategy for how you intend to address
engagement. At a minimum, on a quarterly cadence, you should have
something planned connected to improving the employee experience.
- Aim to always to have engagement included as part of every team meeting,
without outright calling it a discussion on employee engagement. Hold
regular focus groups with your team throughout the year, centered around
collecting feedback. To know what is going well, what isn’t and what people
would like to see changed, call these focus groups Start, Stop and Continue sessions. Use these sessions to
listen, share and collectively build action items to improve engagement and
the employee experience.
- Employees know what is working and what isn’t at organizations. By using
employee feedback effectively to drive new initiatives, you enhance
engagement and help make sure employees feel appreciated and heard. Allow
members of the team to drive the changes proposed, using both data and
examples from customer feedback to help solidify business cases for
continuous improvement. Allowing team members to represent the voice of
customers, positions them for success in building bridges across the
business that result in win/win scenarios for all.
- Below is an example of how you might be able to structure a year-view in
terms of keeping the employee experience top-of-mind as part of your
Focus on development and offer project work.
- Everyone wants to be part of a winning team. To do so, it’s important to
coach and lead the team to focus on helping everyone operate in their zones
of strength. The more that team members feel like there is a strong focus
on development, the more likely success is multiplied. Everyone wants to
win, so focus on helping everyone get better each day. Remember, it’s all
about progress. Getting 1% better each day means that you could see a 365%
increase at the end of a year.
- Enrich the roles of team members too. Regularly review job descriptions,
tasks and responsibilities, looking for ways to make them more exciting,
and most importantly, more value-added to the business. Using the insights
gained from regularly meeting with team members during one on ones (Step
#2) and Start, Stop and Continue sessions (Step #3), build a list of
initiatives or projects that some of the team might be able to lead or
tackle. While these projects may pull team members away from queue-based
interactions, they will allow for development opportunities, while helping
to improve engagement. If the plans are genuinely adding value to the
business, enhancing either the customer or employee experience, then team
members will feel like they are making a difference improving their
connection to the role, team, and organization while elevating their
satisfaction and engagement.
Recognize and thank others for their contributions.
- Acknowledgment is vital as a form of recognition. Take the time to
recognize the contributions of team members. In the contact center, it can
be quite challenging (and exhausting) taking interaction after interaction.
So, whenever leaders and peers can spread the love by recognizing team
members, the more positive the environment will become. Sometimes the most
important way to acknowledge is simply saying “Thank You!”
- Take the time to catch people doing things right, thanking them for what
they do. To keep it top of mind, schedule recognition in your calendar,
making it a goal to recognize and thank “x” number of people during that
chunk of time. Before you know it, others will start to do the same,
creating a culture of appreciation. You can even use video to help spread
the positivity and shout outs, especially for remote team members.
- If budget allows, holding regular team fun events that are unique and
different is a great way to bring people together. If there isn’t budget,
you might be able to have informal fun ambassadors on the team try to
coordinate social events and activities that those interested could attend.
Remember, for any occasion, think about your remote team members as well.
If you can bring everyone together for formal events with the option or
invite for informal events too, it can make a world of difference.
- Find ways to make sure people have fun, either during or after work. Hold
competitions and contests that reward team members who excel at doing their
jobs. Seek to balance out individual competitions with team ones where
everyone can come together, unified and aligned around achieving an
objective. As leaders, you shouldn’t be afraid to potentially make fun of
yourself as well in the process, gaining you both greater respect and
appreciation from the team. I can’t count how many times I have been hit in
the face with a pie. The best was dressing up as the 16-time World
Heavyweight Champion professional wrestler, Ric Flair, after my team won a
CSAT competition, setting a record too for customer satisfaction.
If leaders can focus on following these six practical and straightforward
ways to improve the employee experience and engagement, they will not only
see improved job satisfaction with employees but improved customer
satisfaction and reduced attrition rates. The formula for success shared
isn’t about tons of pizza lunches or about spending lots of money. It is
about leaders focusing their time on communicating, developing and
prioritizing the employee experience to help enhance employee engagement,
which ultimately leads to an improved customer experience. Focus on
improving the employee experience and engagement as your main priority.