November 29, 2023
High-performing organizations spend time creating company values that link employee engagement to broader customer experience strategies and the company’s overall success. These values then become woven into every aspect of the organization and from all levels of management.
We surveyed over 6,000 employees across industries at business processing outsourcing (BPO) organizations and in-house contact centers, including work-at-home staff. Effective engagement strategies lead to improved performance, increased productivity, higher retention and bottom-line growth. However, many companies struggle to find new ways of engaging employees, especially in hybrid and remote work environments.
Leaders will reap the rewards of increased performance and retention by implementing holistic strategies that help employees navigate success and understand the importance of their contribution. Below we address specific ways to ensure your culture, strategy and behaviors link employee engagement to your organization’s overall success.
1) Communicate Transparently and Frequently
Communicating clearly, frequently and consistently helps foster an environment of trust. Ensure employees understand the company’s values and the behaviors that support those values. Give a precise explanation of the importance of the employee’s work, how it fits into the bigger picture and why their role matters.
To reinforce a sense of connection, consistently provide specific examples of how an employee’s performance contributes to the company’s success. Engaged employees want to feel part of something. Letting employees know about company challenges and including them in strategies allows them to be part of the solution.
Ineffective communication is one of the biggest drivers of a lack of trust. Developing a communication strategy from the top down may include company “town halls,” department strategy, performance updates and team meetings that ensure alignment and understanding.
One-on-one performance reviews are a perfect time for team leaders to listen to their staff and understand what is working or not working. Frequent reviews drive employee satisfaction and offer an opportunity to link the employee’s contribution to the organization’s achievements.
Employee satisfaction for those who do not receive performance reviews is 49%. On the contrary, satisfaction for employees who receive weekly one-on-ones is 73%.
2) Develop a Robust and Closed-Loop Employee Feedback System
An employee feedback system goes beyond a simple measurement of employee satisfaction. Equally important is actively seeking employee ideas and feedback, communicating results, implementing action plans and explaining the outcome of those plans.
It is worth noting that staff members who undergo performance reviews are more likely to have confidence in their team leaders’ technical abilities, fairness in dealing with team members and their ability to provide support.
3) Prioritize Employee Well-Being
At the end of the day, employees want to feel secure, supported, and confident they can perform to the best of their abilities. Contact center employees have experienced significant changes over the last several years, so it is no surprise that many may be feeling overwhelmed.
Feelings of isolation have also mounted given the ongoing work-at-home staffing models. Organizations should consistently evaluate internal and external support resources available to employees and encourage their use.
For example, increasing available resources related to mental health, financial advice, and fitness/wellness programs all play a vital role. Additionally, work-life balance has become a priority for many employees. Organizations can promote work-life balance and well-being by establishing “ground rules” for after-hours meetings, emails, and the like.
Since one-on-one sessions are a time for staff to talk about work and non-work issues, staff who get regular one-on-ones are more likely (Figure 2: 81% compared to just 49%) to believe their team leader cares about their well-being.)
4) Tie Performance Reviews and Recognition Programs to Company Values
By linking employee engagement strategies with company values, you can incorporate them into all aspects of performance management and recognition. For instance, you can seek 360 feedback from peers and other leaders that focuses on how employees demonstrate company values and are engaged company members. Or create special award programs that recognize employees who demonstrate specific company values, going above and beyond to be engaged internally and with customers.
The goal is to expand these programs beyond performance. It is essential to measure and recognize both quantifiable results and the characteristics and behaviors that demonstrate an employee’s level of engagement and commitment to company values. Individuals like to receive praise for a job well done and notice when they do not get the credit they feel they deserve.
5) Provide Growth and Development Opportunities
Growth and development go beyond standard new hire training, coaching or upskilling. All of those are important to an employee’s feeling of accomplishment, but engaged and loyal employees want real opportunities to grow and develop.
Employees want to be successful and feel the company is investing in them and their future. Employee success requires structured development programs governed by human resources, trained to all leaders and implemented at every level. Success begins by training every leader to be an effective coach who focuses on helping employees be the best they can be.
Structured training is a fundamental component of development, but organizations should empower managers to seek other opportunities and help employees develop skills in areas of interest. For example, managers may foster an employee’s development through structured mentor programs or by allowing them to attend external webinars. They might also bring in an outside (or internal) expert or provide the ability to shadow other departments.
Getting regular and structured reviews can have a significant impact on how frontline staff perceive their organization’s growth opportunities.
When employees receive consistent feedback on their performance and have a clear understanding of areas for improvement, they are more likely to feel invested in their personal development and growth within the company. This can lead to a boost in morale, job satisfaction, and ultimately, a more productive workforce.
For example, as seen in Figure 3, those who have structured reviews are 30 points more satisfied that their organization is making long-term investments in their future than those who don’t receive structured reviews.
6) Implement Adequate Tools
Tools play a critical role in an employee’s success. Of course, a great tool cannot fix a flawed process, but nothing is more frustrating to employees who want to do an excellent job than hindering their success with ineffective tools. Tools that support customers, such as knowledge management tools, CRMs and even AI-powered solutions to assist agents, are essential.
Collaboration, coaching and support tools are also critical, especially in the current environment, which consists of large work-from-home workforces. Simply put, employees need tools to support customers and to remain connected to peers and management.
Based on our research, 75% of frontline staff members agree they have the appropriate resources to perform their jobs effectively.
Now is the time to embrace employee engagement and weave it into the fabric of organizational culture. The facts are clear – engaged employees are more satisfied, stay with organizations longer and are more productive. Leaders who take the next steps to link employee engagement strategies with broader customer experience strategies will reap the rewards and stand out among competitors.
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