With an average of 25% of employees leaving their call centre job within 6 months, how can you expect to deliver a great customer experience without first addressing the motivational needs of your frontline employees?
With a largely transient and youthful frontline staff (the average age of UK call centre employees being 26), often backed by a management of older and long serving employees, creating an environment in which employees have mutual respect is essential to delivering quality customer service and hitting sales targets.
There are many myths around younger employees that can affect how they are perceived in the workplace, such as a lack of a strong work ethic and being motivated only by high pay and flashy staff rewards. In reality, the vast majority of younger workers are eager, energetic and ready to take on new challenges and are as motivated by emotional factors such as feeling appreciated by their employer, as the rest of the working population.
Higher pay, incentives and razzmatazz are not the answer
A common misconception is that pay rises, quick fire incentives and glitzy call centre dressing and excitement are the main routes to motivate disengaged contact centre staff. Whilst these certainly have their place, the reality is that pay and rewards can quickly become absorbed into daily living costs, can be unachievable for 80% of your audience and continual ‘excitement’ can feel like showmanship rather than concern. Meaning the positive result is short lived. In fact, often it’s the seemingly smaller gestures demonstrating more heartfelt appreciation that provide a longer lasting impact.
Recognition is so simple, yet so effective, and managers who help their staff to value one another and live their company values, will reap the benefits of this.
Studies indicate that:
- 40% of employees who do not feel recognised will not go beyond their formal responsibilities to get the job done.
- Yet 85% of employees who do feel meaningfully recognised will go that extra mile for the company.
- A simple ‘thank you’ can increase a persons’ willingness to help again by 100%.
Recognition, linked to company values is a more powerful motivator than reward alone. A well thought through recognition strategy can cater for employee’s different personalities, their different performance levels and the Company’s needs. For example:
- Peer to peer recognition – employees, particularly in large teams, place great value on the appreciation of co-workers.
- Manager to employee recognition – often missed within hectic contact centres, this formalises praise and enables more recognition as peers can view different recognition stories.
- Nominations for higher awards – provide greater praise, kudos and the ability to incorporate reward or other benefits.
- Format and communication – digital, paper or both? Public or private praise?
- Loyalty – long service awards are too long awaited in a high turnover environment. Managers need to recognise service after 6 months and annually thereafter, rather than at the more typical 5 / 10 year benchmark. But it can be quirky, not costly!
Six steps to getting started
- Set clear, realistic and measurable objectives, such as improving sales or customer feedback.
- Think about programme structure and design. What recognition levels? How often, how will recognition be communicated and how will you keep people interested?
- Provide the right level of reward. What type/value reward should be included for your target audience? Get employees involved in the structure, criteria and reward on offer by all means but do prioritise recognition over high value rewards.
- Promote your scheme. Talk to your audience in their language and use a medium appropriate to your culture.
- Continually analyse programme effectiveness. Consider employee feedback, being prepared to adapt any scheme to changing needs.
- Share your success. Sharing success stories around the company will drive participation.
Be inclusive of all employees, recognise achievements little and often and link those achievements to company values or desired behaviours and you will reap the benefits of a culture of appreciation, with an engaged, motivated and productive team.