One of the greatest challenges facing the contact centre industry continues to be the sourcing and retention of high quality staff. Although we’ve made great strides towards improving employee engagement over the past two decades, with staff turnover rates as high as 40% reported in Australia during the past five years, it’s clear that there’s still plenty of room for improvement.
I’ve written in a previous post about the importance of maintaining a workforce that’s motivated, engaged and enthusiastic about their work, but sometimes – particularly in the contact centre industry – this is easier said than done. It’s a high-pressure, highly scrutinised environment where the work can be repetitive and the customers unresponsive and at times downright abusive.
So what can we do to offset these undesirable elements and create a workplace that fosters better employee engagement and job satisfaction?
Create Opportunities for Career Advancement. While a flat organisational structure certainly has its advantages, creating a hierarchy that rewards loyalty and commitment can provide compelling incentives for staff to stick around. In fact, lack of opportunity for career advancement is frequently cited as the number one reason for staff attrition, even beating out inadequate salary for the top spot! Give your team something to strive for besides the bottom line and you might be surprised how well they respond.
Provide a Healthy Work Environment. It may seem elementary but providing your team with a comfortable, well lit, well-ventilated workplace and a dedicated breakout space where they can step away from their desks and relax will go a long way to keeping morale up and stress levels down. Furthermore, creating a hub where staff can share their experiences or simply blow off steam will remind them that they’re part of a team with common goals and challenges, and give them a chance to form meaningful connections with their colleagues.
Listen, Adapt, Be Flexible. An open door policy is one thing but if you’re not actioning the feedback you get from your staff, they’ll figure it out pretty quickly and move on to an employer who does. Listen closely to what you are being told and learn to appreciate feedback – negative and positive – for the valuable tool it is. No one understands the reality of your operations better than the people you’re putting on the frontline, so be prepared to heed advice from your team – provided its based on sound reasoning and logic.
Respect Your Team. This should really be at the top of the list since it won’t matter what else you do to retain staff, if you don’t respect them and the contribution they make to your business, they will not stick around.