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Why Should Contact Centers Care About Employee Engagement?

Recently, we published a blog on customer-centricity, which refers to creating a culture that places the customer at the core of every business decision a company makes so that their experience at every touchpoint is amazing every time. But in order to ensure that this is so, every employee must also have an equally wonderful experience at work every day. So, in order to be truly customer-centric, you must first become employee-centric. Getting and keeping contact center employees engaged is foundational to accomplishing this objective. Gamification is an enabling technology that can help.

Like moving to customer-centricity, becoming an employee-centric organization often requires a top to bottom shift in culture. But, it is not necessary, nor advised, to boil the entire ocean at once. Let’s first take a look at why employee engagement is so critical to business success. Next we’ll look at how gamification, which uses game mechanics to encourage desired behaviors and provides a way to reward agents for meeting and exceeding expectations, can be used to start your contact center agent engagement effort. Then we’ll talk about how it can help shape your ongoing company-wide employee engagement program.

Disengaged Employees Cost Money. Engaged Employees Make Money.

Businesses simply must embrace employee engagement and build a strong program that motivates all employees in a way that feeds the company’s unique culture and is sustainable. The facts speak for themselves.

  • Employees who are engaged are 27% more likely to report “excellent” performance. (Gallup)
  • Companies with highly engaged employees have an average 3-year revenue growth 2.3 times greater than companies whose employees are only engaged at an average level. (UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School)
  • Companies with engaged employees outperform those without by 202% (Business 2 Community)
  • Customer retention rates are an average of 18% higher when employees are highly engaged (Cvent)
  • Companies with high employee engagement scores saw 65% greater share-price, 26% less turnover, 20% less absenteeism, 15% greater productivity and up to 30% higher CSAT levels (Source: Queens School of Business)
  • Teams with high employee engagement rates are 21% more productive than those with low engagement. (Gallup)
  • Increasing investments in employee engagement by 10% can increase profits by $2,400 per employee per year. (Talent Culture)
  • Companies that increase their talented managers and double their engaged employees achieve 147% higher earnings per share, on average, than their competitors. (Gallup)
Start Building the Core of Your Employee Engagement Plan with Gamification

While employee “satisfaction” refers to how happy an employee is with their job, employee engagement measures their emotional attachment to the job, the company and the vision. This directly correlates to the amount of effort they put in to their work each day.

When employees are engaged, particularly in the contact center, they are more motivated, more confident, and feel that their work makes a difference. This leads them to deliver exceptional customer experiences that boost customer satisfaction and loyalty.

But where should you start when building the core of your employee engagement program? Many companies turn to gamification to address the top drivers of employee engagement.

Noble Systems Image | Employee Engagement Diagram Part 1

Reinforce corporate vision, mission and brand
No one likes to just be a cog in the wheel. Contact center agents are no different. They want company leadership to communicate the corporate vision, mission and brand to all employees and need to be reminded of them on a regular basis from their supervisors as well. In addition, it is important that these messages be reinforced in scripts and that adherence be rewarded through gamification. This creates a sense of community and belonging, reflects an agent’s personal value to the company, and builds engagement and loyalty over time.

Provide ongoing training
Regular training in the contact center on soft skills, compliance, new products and services and best practices is essential to helping agents improve performance. Group training may be most appropriate for initial sessions. But gamification is ideal for ensuring and rewarding ongoing adherence on a consistent basis. When agents recognize that an investment and effort is being made in their development it makes them feel good about the company – which often carries over into their interactions with customers.

Present clear goals and expectations
Nothing is more demotivating than being unsure about what is expected of you or having the goal post moved all the time. Be sure that each employee is clear about their individual key performance indicators (KPIs) and the critical role they play in achieving the overall department and corporate goals. Gamification is an excellent solution for reinforcing individual KPIs by either triggering specific activities or notifications to boost performance, or giving kudos and recognition when goals are met.

Deliver consistent, personalized feedback
Gamification can be personalized for each agent based on the specific areas they need to work on and the progress they have already made. When supervisors meet with agents, coaching time can be more productive because all the performance data is at their fingertips.

Cultivate team spirit
Being part of a team can be a powerful motivator. It fosters collaboration, can build bonds beyond work, and encourages healthy competition. With gamification, employees can see their individual rankings, team rankings, and even department and location rankings. It’s a great way for them to feel part of a group and have some fun while learning new skills and becoming a top performer.

From the Contact Center to the Organization: A Full Employee Engagement Program

Once your contact center engagement program is in full swing and you’ve had ample time to solicit feedback from the agents and put their recommendations into play, you now have a strong core from which to build out an employee engagement program for your entire company.

Although some of drivers of employee engagement outside of the contact center may be the same, some may differ. The first step in developing a solid company-wide employee engagement program is to involve employees by seeking their input. Then to improve engagement, although it may seem like it is stating the obvious, you must take action based on this input. According to a study by the UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School, here are some other drivers of employee engagement:

  • Being involved in decision making
  • Being able to voice ideas and have their views and contributions valued
  • Having opportunities for professional development
  • Knowing the organization is concerned for their health and well-being
  • Feeling like there is truly an open avenue for two-way communication without repercussion

Noble Systems Image | Employee Engagement Diagram Part 2

Being involved in decision making, having views heard and contributions valued
As you begin to map out your employee engagement program, it’s a good idea to initiate check points and meet with small groups of employees to run through the progress you’ve made to date and solicit feedback. When employees are part of the process, and begin to see that their input really matters, this strengthens their commitment to corporate goals and company values.

Having opportunities for professional development
When employees are offered opportunities for personal and professional growth and a clear path for career development, they are far more likely to stay with the company for an extended period of time. These opportunities could come in several forms – from leadership and tech classes to full tuition reimbursement for college level coursework.

Concern for health and well-being
It’s important to take employee wellness into account when developing an employee engagement program. Whether you have a gym at work or offer to subsidize gym memberships, provide healthy snack options in the cafeteria or break room or reward employees who choose active commutes such as walking or biking, or paying marathon training and entry fees. There are many ways to invest in employees’ health and wellness and help them stay happier, and more engaged.

Open two-way communication
Great two-way communication drives strong employee engagement. A variety of channels should be provided for employees to access information and also for them to communicate their opinions without fear that it will affect their job.

Improved Business Performance: The End Goal of Engagement

Employee engagement. It’s critically important to your business, but it’s not the end goal. Improved business performance is the end goal. Those companies with highly engaged workforces simply perform better than those without. Significantly better. According to Gallup, those in the top quartile demonstrated a 17% improvement in productivity, a 20% improvement in sales, and a 21% improvement in profitability over those in the bottom quartile. What quartile is your company in today? Where do you want to be in the future? We can help you get there.

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