For all of the benefits of working in the growing and dynamic contact center industry, it can be challenging and exhausting work. As a result, one of the main problems that contact centers suffer from today is low employee morale. Low morale is an insidious problem because it affects every other aspect of the job, from interpersonal interactions and employee relationships to overall job performance. This is why there is a need to boost contact center employee morale in contact centers.
In the worst cases, it can contribute to a high rate of turnover, which means fewer experienced employees, fewer experienced, effective supervisors, and more precious time and resources spent hiring and training new workers.
Below are the three main ways that experts in the contact center industry have found to help boost morale among employees, a task that is particularly important given the strenuous circumstances that many of us find ourselves under during the COVID-19 crisis. Keep reading to learn why each of these elements is important, and how to do it right.
1. Recognizing good work to boost contact center employee morale
One of the simplest and easiest ways to improve morale among employees is to publicly recognize their hard work. Employees who are recognized when they do a great job not only have a better idea of what is expected of them but feel more inclined to go above and beyond expectations in order to continue receiving recognition. This has the converse result of also letting other employees know where they are falling short or how they could do better.
Here are some common ways that you can recognize employees who do excellent work:
Shout outs and thank yous
Nothing says thank you like simply saying thank you! Being congratulated on great work by supervisors or even upper management can help employees feel that they are valued by the company. Doing this publicly (or via mass email) is a great way to encourage peers to congratulate their co-workers as well.
Take employees out to lunch
This is a classic move, but for a reason. People bond over food, and taking employees out to lunch is a great way to say thank you and develop your professional relationship at the same time.
Give stronger employees more freedom
Employees who tend to do well without too much direction should be encouraged to do just that. In fact, the less overbearing you are, the more employees feel trusted and valued. To the extent that hard-working employees are able to do their job effectively without interference, you should let them do things their own way.
Give employees a chance to develop skills
If one of your workers seems to have a knack for doing outstanding work in one area, help them develop that skill by attending workshops or professional development seminars. This is a great way to train, support, and recognize employees for good work all at once.
Give out non-cash rewards
Money is, of course, a great way to say thanks. However, it can also be a complex issue to deal with. A simpler solution is to reward your best employees with non-cash items. Things like gift cards or tickets to a sports game can be a better alternative.
2. Rewarding outstanding performance to boost contact center employee morale
When it comes to rewarding employees who do exceptionally well, you have a few options. For the best of the best, the token gestures mentioned above are good places to start, but possibly not enough. Of course, the two most common ways to reward employees who show strong natural abilities and great efforts are salary increases or promotions. Below are the pros and cons of each type of reward:
This is a powerful tool because it speaks most directly to the needs and wants of employees. For a lot of employees, making a decent living is their main motivation for working—and that’s okay! Increasing your employees’ salaries or giving them bonuses shows them that you are in touch with their interests. It also shows that you are ready to respond to their needs when they put in the right effort.
The downside of this is that it can foster envy between workers who feel slighted when they aren’t picked for raises or bonuses. Some of the smaller gestures mentioned earlier may, in fact, be more effective in a highly competitive workplace. This is because they do not have the potential to create tension between peers.
Promotions are another great way to reward employees who work hard. It can be a practical tool as your company grows as well. Oftentimes, the employees who really give it their all are the ones looking to move up in the company.
The only potential downside to promotion as a reward system is that sometimes employees are best suited to the position they currently occupy. A live agent might be absolutely stellar at calls but struggle with the politics of frontline leadership in the workplace when promoted to supervisor.
3. Incentives boost contact center employee morale
Naturally, rewards and recognition do not always need to be a reaction to something that an employee took the initiative to do on their own. Proactively setting goals and preparing incentives for employees who meet those goals is a great way to get ahead of the game. It also proves to employees that your system for reward is fair and equitable. Rather than random or resulting from favoritism ethical incentives can boost morale.
Combining 3 Things that boost contact center employee morale
Once again, you may have to be wary of growing tension in an overly competitive workplace. However, competition can also foster growth and increased productivity among employees. As a leader, you decide what the best strategy moving forward will be for your contact center. These three things can cause a significant change in the performance of your contact center. Touchpoint One has a report that you can use to your advantage to figure out what would work best to boost your contact center’s employee morale.
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Jim Rembach is the Editor in Chief of the Customer Service Weekly and it’s Podcast host. He is President of CX Global Media and the creator of the Call Center Coach Virtual Leaders Academy. As the host of the Fast Leader Show Podcast, he has interviewed hundreds of experts, authors, academics, researchers, and practitioners on various angles, viewpoints, and perspectives for improving the customer experience. He has held positions in retail operations, contact centers, customer support, customer success, sales, and measured the customer experience. He is a certified Emotional Intelligence practitioner, Employee Retention Specialist, and recipient of numerous industry awards.