Updated February 2020.
A contact center workforce thrives on motivation.
The workplace environment contributes to overall employee morale, which, in turn, impacts employee motivation.
According to BusinessDictionary.com, “Employee morale describes attitudes, emotions, and, overall outlook of employees during their time in a workplace environment.”
Workers with a positive outlook are more productive than those with a negative outlook, and they are likely to stay longer.
The working environment of a call or contact center is significantly different from a traditional office environment.
Employees sit in isolated cubicles for hours at a time.
Call center workers have a stringent break and lunch schedule, and it is essential to keep the agents motivated and to help them manage the stress of their job effectively.
Low morale contributes to a negative working environment, low productivity, and high employee turnover.
Employee turnover can account for more than one-fifth of a company’s payroll expenditures and thus constitutes a significant area for improving the overall cost of doing business.
High workplace morale contributes to a positive working environment, enhanced productivity, and low employee turnover.
In short, workplace morale impacts your company’s bottom line and needs to be a priority in decisions and daily operations.
Although motivation can come from good working practices and operational efficiencies, it is best to use effective motivational techniques to raise morale and improve employee performance.
Here are four proven strategies to help you motivate your contact center employees.
1. Create Teams
Creating teams in a call center environment can alleviate the sense of isolation that the cubicle represents; being a member of a group reduces this alienating aspect of call-center workplaces.
Support for the teams needs to be integrated into workplace policy and management to reduce the “silo effect,” the feeling that “we have to do this all on our own.”
Building teams allows management to create a good working relationship with their team members and thus fosters a pleasant and friendlier environment in the company.
Working as a team can help in promoting trust, respect, and harmony that can lower absenteeism and thus increase productivity.
Team-building allows management to connect diverse employees into a unified group.
Teams should be limited to 5-6 members for optimal effectiveness.
Team-building activities play a crucial role; some key strategies to promote cooperation include:
- Improv Workshop – groups of 5-6 get together and improvise various call center work scenarios and play around with different responses to generate different outcomes.
- Two truths and a lie – a simple party game and a great ice-breaker.
- Concentration (Marketing Edition) – a remake of an old television game show customized to your specific call center’s needs and goals.
- Jigsaw Race — provide each team with the same jigsaw puzzle; the first team to complete the puzzle wins a prize.
- Scavenger Hunt – can be within the call center or arranged outside of the workplace.
- What’s my name – another simple party game that can be customized to your specific workplace needs or used as an icebreaker.
- Board Game Tournament – an out of the office activity.
- Office Trivia – can be played in teams or individually.
As you can see, there are a variety of strategies available to promote teamwork in your call center.
Teambuilding is an effective way to boost workplace morale.
Strict schedules and the confined atmosphere of call center cubicles can take a toll on employee morale.
Working in teams provides a sense of belonging and reduces the stress associated with feelings of isolation.
Effective teams are more than the sum of the group members, and people with different strengths should be selected to make the most of the teamwork advantage.
Different perspectives and experiences unlock problem-solving abilities and enhance workplace creativity.
Collective decision-making and strategizing enhance worker commitment to action.
The diverse perspectives of each team member can be a valuable tool to enhance workplace performance.
To add an element of fun, allow members to create team names.
Teamwork can reduce workplace stress and boost employee morale.
Effective team building requires reliable information that enhances coaching and support efforts.
Introducing a level of competition is another strategy for improving morale in a call center environment.
2. Create Friendly Competition
Creating teams in a call center can stimulate healthy competition; teamwork motivates groups of workers to surpass sales targets and outperform other teams.
One proven method for measuring and enhancing employee morale is called “gamification.”
Gamification involves applying the essential elements that make games fun and applying these elements to activities outside of leisure time, such as the workplace.
These elements can include cooperating as a team, creativity, role-play, and competition.
Customized competitions based on your specific call center’s objectives and employee outcomes can promote employee engagement, boost employee morale, and stimulate increased productivity.
To implement successful gamification in a call center, be sure to:
- Draw on games and activities that are popular in the call center’s location.
- Emphasize cooperation and friendly competition; co-operating as a team requires strong group cohesion.
- Communicate clear goals.
- Ensure that team scores and results are readily available in real-time.
- Display scores in a shared area such as a breakroom.
- Use creativity; for example, icons can serve as team mascots.
There are potential pitfalls to gamification efforts such as creating an overly-competitive environment, failing to provide ongoing feedback, and neglecting the importance of rewards and recognition.
Employees are more likely to encourage their teammates if there is an attractive reward or recognition for exceptional performance.
3. Appreciate and Reward
Rewarding or recognizing the efforts of agents is critically important in a contact center environment; it is what keeps your workforce going to achieve higher goals and stay loyal to the success of your company.
A useful call center reporting software is one that allows you to reward improved performance indicators and promptly identify areas for improvement.
Calculating appropriate rewards requires an understanding of employee motivation.
There are two basic types of motivation: intrinsic and extrinsic.
Intrinsic motivation refers to the internal satisfaction a person gets from achieving something; it is internal to the person.
Extrinsic motivation refers to the satisfaction that comes from rewards such as money and praise; it is external to the person.
Recognition and acknowledgment satisfy both internally and externally driven motivation.
It follows that one of the best ways to boost agent morale is by sending them a note to acknowledge their work.
You can also have on-site parties to acknowledge achievements or those who met monthly goals to show your employees that their efforts are valued.
Prizes and trophies awarded for “winning” workplace competitions can boost morale.
As in many games, it is vital to recognize effort and improvement as well as top performers and winning teams.
Recognition and rewards must be timely, too much delay can offset the positive gains in morale that these practices have the potential to promote.
A team is only as strong as its weakest member.
Effective call center reporting software helps to identify individual areas for improvement in real-time.
Gamification can be used to motivate teams and can also be used to stimulate individual improvement.
4. Create a Positive Working Environment
The best way to boost employee morale is by creating a self-motivating environment that promotes a positive attitude and effective teamwork for maximum success.
Gamification can be used to tap into employees’ intrinsic motivation by allowing them to set individual goals and track their success through each step.
One of the critical motivating tactics could be ongoing training and employee development programs to facilitate the personal and professional growth of employees.
Points keep track of individual employees’ participation in employee development programs.
Points earned by each member can contribute to their team’s overall score for the specified time (e.g., week, month, or quarter).
Call center reporting software that supervisors can customize to match the desired timeframes is optimal.
To maximize the benefits of gamification, team leaders and call center supervisors can offer one-on-one coaching to resolve issues that employees may encounter.
Positive reinforcement encourages employees to continue engaging in the activities and behaviors that result in rewards.
Badges or other rewards mark progress and thereby tap into extrinsic motivation factors.
Effective reward systems are an invaluable component of successful gamification.
CXService 360 offers thirty ideas to get you on the right track, and we have selected a dozen:
- Gift cards – gift cards redeemable at local businesses are a simple way to reward accomplishments and motivate workers.
- Meal vouchers – treat employees to a new restaurant in the area.
- Lunch with the CEO – bolsters the sense of being a valued member of a larger entity.
- Cash bonuses – cash is a powerful extrinsic benefit.
- Employee photographs – appeal to the intrinsic motivation of being recognized for your efforts.
- Award plaques – can be hung in the worker’s cubicle and serve as a daily reminder of recognition.
- Sponsored education and training – knowledge to enhance workplace performance can take place outside of the workplace.
- Movie tickets – provide relaxation and entertainment outside of the workplace.
- Create a “wall of fame” – another place to mount employee photographs or plaques of recognition is a wall in a common area such as the break room; this also provides a sense of belonging and engagement.
- Supervisor for a day – top performers can be rewarded with a day where their talents and strengths impact and motivate the rest of the team.
- Cubicle decoration – enhancements to the confined space of a cubicle can go a long way toward enhancing morale; the employee must have input into the design decisions.
- Promotion – possibly the ultimate motivation is the knowledge that successful job performance will have a long-term positive benefit.
Call center reporting software that provides concrete and measurable employee performance data can help users identify those employees who deserve rewards and help to determine which level of award is appropriate.
In addition to a reward system managers can use a selection of proven employee engagement techniques such as
- Certificates of Achievement – these can be placed in an employee’s cubicle or hung in a common area, such as the “wall of fame” mentioned above.
- Theme contests – customized to your specific operational needs as identified by your call center reporting software.
- Casual dress days – allow employees to express their personalities and to dress in comfortable clothing.
- Time-off programs – sometimes, the best workplace reward can be the promise of a bit of extra time away to decompress and reset.
- Employee Wellness Programs – contact center work involves a great deal of emotional labor, which can have long-term and detrimental health effects; wellness programs ensure healthier and happy employees and are vital to improving workplace morale.
- Employee Surveys – asking employees for their feedback AND acting on their input helps to ensure that workers feel valued and provides valuable information on employee morale.
Call center reporting software can play a pivotal role in your efforts to boost employee morale.
A positive workplace environment stimulates worker engagement and productivity and can reduce employee turnover rates.
Employee morale has a proven impact on your company’s bottom line.
Contact center employees work in unique and stressful environments, are subject to long periods of isolation in small cubicles, and engage in emotional labor.
Customizable reports that are easy to understand are essential.
Call center reports can empower managers and supervisors.
The Reporting Engine call center software offers features that are designed to meet the goals and needs of call center work environments.
If you are running a contact center business and are looking for an efficient business intelligence system for your company, check out the services at The Reporting Engine and request a free demo today!