Published: January 19, 2023 | Comments
In any industry it is critical that our employees are engaged. Engaged employees are more productive and produce better results, which in turn impacts the bottom line and profitability.
Having a fully engaged team is not an easy task and takes intentional consistent effort. I have managed contact centers for over 25 years and have had consistent success with combatting low turnover, high employee survey results, and exceptional productivity. In the last couple of years, with the changes in the economy and increased work at home opportunities, I have had to rethink my strategy and get even more creative.
There are several foundational tasks toward engagement that are tried and true and proven over time - development, recognition, and creating a “work family” type of atmosphere. Here are some suggestions:
Celebrate birthdays on the actual day.
Do not let an employee come to work without some sort of acknowledgement about their special day.
Commit to department-wide team building activities once a quarter
I have everyone work a half day and then go offsite somewhere to do something fun like bowling or golf. This creates a sense of family and creates friendships and the opportunity to bond. People don’t generally like to leave a place where they work with good friends they enjoy.
Allow work from home options.
In our center, we have very few people who want to work from home full time. Many of our people enjoy a hybrid schedule and appreciate the flexibility. We have a smaller team, and when we have our once a month department meeting, we do require people to work in office that day to attend. This gives them the opportunity to bond. We dress casually, provide lunch, and try to make it a fun day.
Recognition is critical, as well.
We have a budget for food and gift cards and even have a spin-the-wheel full of various prizes. We like to celebrate good attendance, high customer satisfaction scores, and exceptional efficiency metrics such as handle time.
Work is hard enough, but it’s more bearable when you can throw some fun into the day. We dress causal, have themed days and potlucks, and create an atmosphere where people can be professional but relaxed and laugh.
Development opportunities are critical.
Make sure your team knows about the various benefits available to them. Educate them on how tuition reimbursement works, if they are in school they will need to stay longer to complete their degree. Share with them about the Employee Assistance Program, which gives them access to free resources to deal with life.
Development through consistent coaching.
Each month, the employee should always have a minimum of two coaching sessions where they spend time with their supervisor one on one. Make sure your supervisors know how to have meaningful non-punishing and specific conversations that include:
- What is going well?
- What are the opportunities and how can the Supervisor help?
- What are they interested in learning more about?
Avoid canceling coaching sessions whenever possible. Your people deserve to feel cared about and a priority.
Ensure the supervisors have a good tracking system and pride themselves with following up with their people.
Overall, it is no secret that people leave because of poor leadership and a lack of career opportunities. The management team must be well trained and in sync with how to engage with their people, and constantly look for ways to help them further develop their careers.
I always tell my people that I am here for them and want them to progress. I started on the phones many years ago and had many wonderful people over the years who coached me and pushed me to excel. My job is to help people get to where they want to be and not keep them at their current level. Be sincere and make it part of your job role to help people progress and have fun at work.