Performance is a central component of an effective long term strategy for every call center. While technological advances have helped to streamline some processes in the training and day-to-day operations of contact center agents. This has not lessened the need for intensive development and guidance from supervisors. In fact, in order to access the full potential of new technologies and practices, the amount of analysis and hands-on management from supervisors has increased in some cases.
Devising a strategy for training and performance management that integrates technological advances with revised management practices and a human touch is the only viable way forward for many in the contact center industry. However, in order to know which elements of performance are most in need of review, it is vital that frontline supervisors take a front and center role. Aside from knowing intuitively the strengths and weaknesses of their team. They are also capable of implementing necessary changes most effectively, because they have practical knowledge of the resources with which they are working.
The Importance of Performance Management for Call Center Supervisors
As with all new technologies, frontline supervisors are finding out that new systems of performance analysis and management have both unique strengths and weaknesses. The main point that many focus on is the human element of work and management. When new technologies are introduced and implemented it allows effective communication. This helps boost morale and productivity. Technology helps employees to also grow as individuals. Alternatively, performance management technology can be harmful to morale if it makes employees feel as though they are being monitored. This can be particularly harmful if the technology is being used to enable micromanaging.
Ultimately, most contact center supervisors emphasize that performance management is a useful tool that can have a positive effect throughout the workplace, if it is done right. When used correctly, the true mission of a performance management system is to identify, address and solve problems related to performance.
Methods for Implementing Effective Performance Management
So we have established that performance management can be a huge plus for supervisors in the contact center industry. But we still have not quite touched on the specifics of how such a system should be implemented. Here are a few broad guidelines to help your workplace grapple with the complex overall strategy.
1. Concentrate on culture for performance management
Supervisor employee interactions don’t happen in a vacuum. From small, everyday actions to company-wide discourse and policies. Every workplace has a unique culture that determines how elements like performance management are perceived. Of course, one-on-one interactions and training between supervisors and employees are vital to growth. The way that that input is received along the chain of command is inevitably influenced by the social environment that individuals find themselves in. More specifically, a workplace that encourages communication and constructive criticism. Even from the bottom up, is much more likely to take full advantage of the resources at hand.
2. Building up morale as part of performance management
Morale is a complicated topic, but it is central to any discussion that centers around management. Once again: the way that employees receive praise or criticism from supervisors is entirely dependent on the overall context of the workplace. Thus, in order to build up necessary morale in order to successfully implement performance management, it should be clear to employees that they are valued by the company, by their peers, and most importantly by their supervisors. Compensation is one defining factor in how valued an employee feels. Supervisors generally have little to no control over this aspect, it is up to them to find other ways to express gratitude and value. We will return to this topic later on.
3. Empathetic communication in performance management
When it comes to the two points addressed above, culture and morale, their true power is nearly impossible to harness without empathy. With the progression of technology and the depersonalization of much of the work done in the contact center industry. A strong personal connection with other people is something that workers rarely find but desperately need. Letting others on the job know that they are seen and heard whether they are excelling or falling behind is the best thing a supervisor can do to cultivate the social terrain of their workplace.
Recognition and Performance
So what is recognition all about? Furthermore, what role does it have to play in terms of performance? The answer: recognition is a key tool that supervisors can use to take full advantage of employee performance and accentuate the usefulness of techniques and technologies related to performance management. Frontline workers need the validation that comes with recognition in order to grow from training, rather than becoming discouraged.
- What Contact Center Supervisors Think of Performance Management? Click to Tweet
- What is performance management? Click to Tweet
- How contact center supervisors view of performance management. Click to tweet
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.