3 Surefire Ways to Increase Employee Engagement


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We live in a digitally connected universe, and technology has afforded us all a tremendous level of access to the companies we do business with on a daily basis. Customer expectations continue to rise. Consumers are more demanding than ever and more than 40 percent of US consumers indicate that a less than stellar customer experience would merit defection to a competitor.

Studies show that an organization with 50 percent employee engagement have an 80 percent customer retention rate. To stay ahead of the competition and retain and grow customer profitability, best-in-class organizations are tapping into their most strategic asset – their employees – to improve engagement and create world-class customer experiences.

What steps can a company take to improve employee engagement? And what drivers keep employees engaged? What causes employees to become disengaged? Here are three key considerations before you embark on an employee engagement initiative.

1) Leverage intelligence – not just data – to get visibility into the day-to-day activities.

As you begin to build an employee engagement plan, you must fully understand what is going on within the four walls of your contact center. While the contact center has long been an area of the business that is metrics-driven, much of the data that is collected and measured falls short in providing clear visibility into employee activity. Getting insight into how employees work – the tools and applications they use, the way they navigate systems, the processes they follow to respond to service inquiries – is difficult. Having a clear line of sight into how employees work is an essential part of formulating a plan to improve and motivate employees.

Using intelligence solutions that collect transaction and desktop activities can be a reliable source of data to interpret how employees are doing work – when they are focused and productive, or inactive on their desktops. Having access to this data can help you understand the true “day in the life” of your employees and their work environment.

2) Identify detractors of employee engagement.

While some employees are quite vocal when it comes to sharing their frustrations and pain points they encounter during their work shifts, most are hesitant to let management know that a certain process is overly complex or if they think there is a better way accomplish the task. Employee engagement encompasses many different elements of work life. If you’re working on improving engagement, you have to understand what leads to employee disengagement. What are the sources of frustration for your employee? Most companies report that their employees rank the following as top detractors:

– Lack of clear feedback and/or direction
– Unnecessary complexity
– Inadequate access to information

In the contact center, desktop and process complexity ranks as one of the top complaints. The applications and systems that employees use to service the customer can seem daunting. In fact, some contact center agents work in 12 to 15 different systems. Take into count the many processes that they must remember, screens to access, data fields to update… it can be extremely frustrating.

In addition to complex systems, many contact center employees still report they don’t have access to the right information they need to adequately service the customer. Knowledge bases and other resources can quickly become outdated due to ever changing business requirements. Not only does this frustrate the agent, it can be even more frustrating for the customer who is trying to resolve and issue or inquiry.

3) Improve the employee experience using incremental transformation.

Rome wasn’t built in a day. To improve employee engagement takes planning, testing and experimenting to find solutions that work. Once you have visibility into how employees work, and explore the parts of their work that impede them from doing their job to the best of their abilities, you can use automation to remove these barriers.

Automation solutions can tap into your legacy systems and automate many of the manual activities employees perform. Using this type of approach, you can start small with projects that improve 3-4 key activities. By removing the complex processes or workflows that employees encounter, you make it easier for them to provide exceptional service to the customer. Improving the way employees transact on the desktop can help your company earn huge dividends when it comes to creating engaged brand ambassadors for your company.

Remember that employee engagement is an ever evolving program. There is no one size fits all solution, and what is successful in one area of the business might not work in others. The key is to have the right data to make intelligent decisions. Keeping close watch on the pulse of your employees is critical, while also making small improvements to make it easier for them to engage with your customer.

Paul Sewell
Paul Sewell is the Senior Director of Communications and Intelligence for OpenSpan (www.openspan.com). A 14-year veteran of the customer service technology industry, Mr. Sewell is a respected evangelist and proponent of technology solutions that deliver world-class customer experiences. At OpenSpan, Paul's efforts are focused on marketing the company's activity intelligence and desktop automation solutions.


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