ICMI is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.


How to Boost Your Team’s Motivation During a Merit or Hiring Freeze

recognitionDo you have some team members that are demotivated because there is a hold on promotions this year? Do you feel a sense of frustration from your team because vacancies have not been filled due to a recruitment freeze? Do you notice an aura of discontent from your team leads or supervisors as a result of budget cuts?

While some companies in certain industries have experienced business growth during the pandemic, a lot of companies have seen a huge decline. To curtail this, many organizations have cut down on operational costs. This has been seen in a reduction in marketing spend and operational budgets, staff layoffs, salary reductions, hiring freezes, promotion freezes, and merit pay freezes.

In addition to this, statistics show that working remotely brings increased employee productivity. According to the Airtasker study, remote employees work 1.4 more days every month, or 16.8 more days every year than those who worked in an office.2 According to NordVPN, in the U.S., remote employees log three hours more per day working from home, while in France, Spain, and the U.K. they spend an additional two hours daily working from home than in the office.

As leaders we understand that while our team members appreciate the organizational measures taken to successfully navigate this pandemic, they may also struggle with a big sense of disappointment. They gave us dedicated and passionate hard work in 2019 and were anticipating promotions, merit pay increases, and bonuses. They are working harder and longer remotely, handling increased workloads from staff vacancies, and may be facing salary reductions.

This can leave your team demotivated, discontent, and frustrated. We need to step in to motivate our teams during this time. Below are three great ideas to boost motivation levels in your team:

Use Gamification

Games encourage agents to achieve set objectives and outpace others. They earn points and achievements by meeting these objectives. The accumulation of points and achievements can also be tied to rewards and prizes. The key is ensuring the objectives align with business and organizational goals.

If your contact center doesn’t currently use gamification now is the time to do so. Here are some stats to motivate you:

  • In 2019, 79% of employees claim they have gained motivation and purpose at the workplace because of gamified activities.
  • Also, 90% of employees feel more productive when using gamification.

The good news is that you don’t have to purchase a fancy gamification platform. Many contact center solutions have gamification features or are developing them; it may be as easy as activating and setting them up for your team. You can also build dashboards in-house or simply use Microsoft tools. An excel sheet can track individual performances while emails can be sent displaying achievements and scoreboards.

Increase Recognition Platforms and Initiatives

Simply put, recognition is showing appreciation. It goes a long way in increasing employee satisfaction and loyalty. Consider:

  • 69% of employees say they would work harder if they were better appreciated.
  • If organizations the number of employees who receive recognition for their work on a weekly basis, they will experience a 24% improvement in quality, a 27% reduction in absenteeism and a 10% reduction in shrinkage."
  • 90% of employees who received thanks or recognition from their boss report feeling high levels of trust in that individual.

Recognition platforms, programs or initiatives can range by team, department or organization. It can be as easy as sending an email or a handwritten message or become more complicated by using email communications and intricate dashboards. For instance, displaying the shout out or employee achievement on wallboards, dashboards, or organization wide platforms.

Recently I’ve seen a boost in employee satisfaction and loyalty levels with the use of non-internal recognition platforms. This is because the message is also viewed by their professional network. LinkedIn has a great recognition platform called LinkedIn Kudos; it allows individuals to send thank you messages and show appreciation to those in their professional circle.

Give Great Rewards and Unique Experiences

The secret to giving great rewards is to identify the items or activities that would create a unique experience. These items or activities don’t always come at a huge cost. Some non-monetary rewards are preferred shift scheduling, exemption from work in the office, a mentoring program with a member of top management, team lead/boss for a day, and a certificate signed by the board members.

There are also some unique items/activities that don’t have to be very pricey. In Nigeria, for example, a paid streaming or satellite service subscription would be a great reward for an entry-level contact center agent. Another idea is a shopping voucher just in time for a national holiday to take care of all the holiday preparation/celebration needs. The trick is to think about creating unique experiences for your team members.

These are just a few ways to help boost motivation levels in your team during a merit pay or hiring freeze. A lot of these suggestions can be low cost and focus on showing your team members that you truly appreciate them. Let’s deep dive and get creative in these times to craft truly unique experiences that put a smile in the hearts of our team members.