It’s clear on my regular visits to contact centres that one of the biggest issues is how to keep staff motivated. The nature of the work is often repetitive and stressful and poor staff motivation can lead to higher absence and attrition. There are also hidden costs in training new recruits and the impact on the morale of loyal staff who see others come and go.
Here are some things that need reviewing by managers when trying to improve staff motivation in their contact centres:
- Regular feedback from staff working in contact centres suggests that they really feel more comfortable if they work as part of a team. Staff like to know who they are working with and have some form of team targets or goals to go for. Many contact centres put staff into nominal teams reporting to the same team leader – but oddly the staff in the teams often work on different shifts and hardly ever see each other. By having staff in teams working together it becomes easier to arrange feedback sessions, team meetings and social events
- Staff like being consulted and involved in changes that impact on them. Good practice is to involve agents in project teams dealing with changes to their workplace, systems or processes. Some contact centres have staff ‘champions’ who represent their teams on such forums and this often works well
- Staff surveys are a good way to find out the issues that are impacting motivation. The key is to involve staff fully in the feedback process and involve them in working on the improvements identified
- Regular individual feedback and coaching is a good way to keep staff motivated. Motivation will go down if one-to-one meetings are arranged and then cancelled because something more pressing has come along. There aren’t many more important things to an individual at work than receiving feedback on performance, so it has to be carried out thoroughly
- Finally, remember that managers and team leaders set the tone in their contact centres. It’s no good asking agents to be customer focussed and enthusiastic if their superiors do not set the same example. Managers and team leaders are role models and actions speak louder than words.