To ensure that every employee is engaged 100% of the time is challenging, particularly in the contact centre space where the stress and pressure is high – we drive results, customers are often negative and angry and agents’ remuneration is driven mostly by commission. The importance of employee engagement forms an integral part of any Human Capital strategy, but practically how do we get it right?
It is not surprising that larger contact centres often experience agents that become disengaged. For an agent to be successful they need to be tough negotiators, sympathetic listeners, problem solvers and experts at using the telephony and operations systems, all while sharing an open office space with hundreds of colleagues, each one trying to outperform the next.
Much has been written about ways to measure and improve employee engagement, ranging from reward and recognition, favourable incentive strategies, flexibility, positive relationships with management and peers, leadership and real-time feedback to name but a few. It is however, the area of learning and development that seems to be the most thought-provoking.
As with any organisation with a large number of people, each person comes from a unique background and has their own learning style. Agents need to be kept up to date with changing regulations, updates on product knowledge, new system functionality and they need to be coached on soft skills all while targets and focus areas are changing constantly.
At Nimble, technology like voice analytics on call recordings helps ensure that 100% of calls are monitored and analysed quickly. Team Managers can get feedback virtually immediately and coach agents before that challenging call becomes a distant memory. In addition, it also allows for real-time agent recognition of a well handled difficult call, while at the same time using that call as a training opportunity for the rest of the agents.
We have developed an agent specific real time performance tracker which measures each individual agent’s performance against the rest of their team using various sources of information, including voice analytics. Each individual criteria that is measured, can be coached by their team manager while it will also highlight areas where the agent is doing better than the rest of their team.
We also create micro learning opportunities through regular stand up meetings where we can quickly share small chunks of information as well as getting real life feedback from agents on both successes and fails. This is particularly useful when rolling out new processes or technology.
Learning and development, combined with clear learner pathways is just one aspect any organisation needs to get right if it wants to have any chance to have positive employee engagement. On its own this is an area that needs continuous focus and reinvention, not to mention the difficulties on all other aspects of employee engagement.
Engaged employees create great organisations!
Written by Nico Nel – Human Capital Executive