An organisation introduced a performance management system in the contact centre. It was the first time that this had been tried and management, along with Human Resources, put a great deal of effort into the design of the system.
The performance management system meant that staff would receive a new individual report each week. The reports were designed to show performance against key measures seen as important to the roles in the contact centre. The idea was it would motivate staff members as they could now see their contribution to the team.
Although there was a lot of hard work put into the system, the initiative failed for a number of reasons:
- The performance management system and the purpose of the reports were poorly communicated
- Staff felt that the measures on the reports conflicted and were of varying degrees of importance to them – a number of measures were seen as outside their control
- The reports were too complicated
- Staff didn’t feel as though they had any input into the design of the reports
- The management information team failed to produce the reports on a weekly basis, even though this had been promised
- There were problems distributing the reports to staff
- Team Leaders and managers cancelled one-to-one meetings at short notice, even though part of the new system was a monthly meeting
- Overall, the performance management system was carried out inconsistently across the centre.
The reports ran for around 6-months before they came to a ‘natural end.’ The performance management system had already started to struggle and went back to being a ‘bit hit and miss.’
Around 3-months later two members of staff approached management to suggest they look to re-introduce the weekly reports and get the performance management system on a firmer footing. Fundamentally they missed having any information about their own contributions to the contact centre they worked in.
Here are some things that happened to make the performance management system a success the second time around:
- Staff volunteers (‘Champions’) were requested to work on the relaunch of the system. The Champions who volunteered were given time to carry out these duties, which was scheduled at the same time each week
- In addition bi-weekly meetings with the Champions and two members of the management team took place to plan the relaunch. Before the meetings, the Champions asked their colleagues in the contact centre for comments on the topics to be discussed
- The Champions were given the task of re-designing the weekly reports, in conjunction with the management information team, so that they were easier to read and contained relevant information. Although the senior manager needed to sign off the final report design, plenty of time was set aside for the Champions to work through each item with her to show why measures had been included or excluded
- Staff worked with the Corporate Communications team to create a whole new image for all material associated with the scheme. Communication aimed at staff and team leaders was produced by the Champions together with Power Point presentations for the wall boards in the contact centres
- The Champions were given time to brief each member of the contact centre individually about the new reports and the approach to performance management. They also attended a team leader offsite and senior manager meeting to complete the internal communication
- Following the launch of the new performance management system, the Champions continued to meet to identify how improvements could be made on an on-going basis.
The performance management system is now firmly part of the way of working in the contact centre.
The approach is now being used for other change management initiatives in the organisation.