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I wanted to write about employee engagement at work. This follows from working with a client in the emergency services who place employee engagement high on their agenda. They are now getting some strong results from the initiatives that are coming through.

The topic of employee engagement also came up through a question I received at a recent meeting. A potential client asked about factors in ‘best of class’ organisations that trigger strong customer service. There was some discussion about the use of technology but it was only when we talked about the benefits of employee engagement that the conversation really got interesting.

I suppose the majority of contact centres treat employees in similar ways. Agents on the telephone are driven strongly to make call answering targets and there seldom seems time to carry out one-to-one meetings or team meetings, let alone more focussed employee engagement activities.

The sad thing is that the results achieved by these contact centres are invariably similar when it comes to staff satisfaction. Staff feel poorly communicated to, particularly about things that impact on their direct workplace or the work they do. They feel they have little influence on what goes on in the office and that they are not listened to. I am convinced that a lack of employee engagement can lead to lower levels of customer service as well as more direct costs to the contact centre; including higher staff absence and attrition.

It’s a great shame – as staff at the frontline will always have accurate views of what customers think about products and services and the way they are being delivered. Moreover, there is a greater chance of success with projects impacting the frontline if staff are involved in their development.

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