Want to learn how to increase employee engagement in your contact center? We interviewed Jeff Doran, Founder and President of CCEOC Inc. about the secret to increased employee engagement. His company establishes Employer of Choice® (Best Workplace) recognition and certification programs for specific market sectors, including the contact center industry.
Jeff, what are the business benefits of better employee engagement (from a contact center leader’s perspective)?
Developing an engaged contact center workforce improves customer satisfaction. More engaged employees are more productive, produce better quality work and have higher sales numbers than under-engaged employees.
As an example, Albridge Solutions (an affiliate of Bank of New York, Pershing LLC), is a leading provider of enterprise solutions, custom technology and business consulting services to institutional/retail financial organizations and independent registered investment advisors. We do ongoing work with them to improve employee engagement and certify them as a Contact Center Employer of Choice.
As a result, the following improvements occurred:
- Employee Satisfaction scores improved annually from 47% to 67% to 87%
- Employee engagement scores climbed each year as well from 64% to 69% to 87%
- Customer Satisfaction scores improved annually from 82% to 84% to 85%
Another key benefit is reduced turnover. One client tracked their employee attrition rates over a two year period and experienced zero turnover. They attribute this primarily to their focus on engagement which included a strong commitment to career development.
What are the most successful strategies used to increase contact center employee engagement?
Start by focusing on culture. What type of culture do you have (or want) at your organization? Is it “service”, “collaboration”, “innovation”, “risk and reward”, “employee first”, “community/charity”, “employer of choice”, or maybe something completely different? Typically, it is a combination of values important to your company.
Once you have a clear understanding of culture, set engagement objectives and strategies to meet those objectives.
From our studies, successful strategies focus on:
- Building trust and respect
- Reducing stress
- Improving communication
- Involving employees in improvement initiatives
- Give employees a voice
Gain employee buy-in for a greater chance of success. Initiatives will be more successful and sustainable if employees have a chance to provide input, feel ownership over the process, have authority to make decisions and are held accountable for the result.
As indicated on this list, trust and respect are important cornerstones for building an effective engagement culture. Look for ways to continuously build trust and respect amongst peers and subordinates. That makes your engagement strategies easier to implement and produce better results.
Defining culture, setting objectives, developing strategies and implementing initiatives – are all pretty involved, time consuming work. But, do not forget about small things to help employees become more engaged at work.
Here is a great example of how little things can make a big difference.
We surveyed a client and determined “convenience amenities” were lacking in the contact center. This was the lowest scoring item on the survey. Specifically, employees did not like walking to the other end of the building to get hot water for tea, soup etc. So, management replaced the water cooler with a Hot/Cold water dispenser. Employees were grateful. They no longer had to use their break time to get a cup of hot water. This did a number of things: it reduced stress; increased productivity; and let the employees know management listened to their concerns. This improved management/employee relations.
What are the most common errors to AVOID when trying to improve employee engagement?
The definition of madness is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome. Too many organizations recycle old programs and tweak old strategies that did not work in the first place.
Other pitfalls include:
- It will take care of itself – “Time heals all wounds”
- Our leaders know it all – “That’s why we hired them”
- One size fits all – “That’s why we hired robots”
- Top down decisions and solution development – “Management knows best”
- Big things are important – “Oops, forgot about the little things”
The best way to avoid errors is to ensure you use current, relevant and accurate data. Conducting an employee engagement survey will go a long way in providing the information you need to make sound decisions.
Jeff, any final thoughts on contact center employee engagement?
As you can see, developing an engaged, supportive workplace culture can significantly impact your ability to meet and surpass your performance objectives. And in the process, you might just create one of the best places to work!
Jeff, thank you for sharing your employee engagement tips with our readers! We appreciate your ideas, since employee and customer satisfaction are huge issues for contact centers.