25 tips for motivating staff
We all know that motivated staff work better and harder. But how do we ensure our staff are always motivated? Here are a few tips.
1. Happy work force = happy customers
Provide a great environment to work in and look after your staff the way you expect them to look after your customers.
Why should they be nice to customers if they are getting a raw deal at work themselves? Keep them happy by providing what they need in terms of training (soft skills as well as technical knowledge) and genuine support with positive messages where appropriate and constructive feedback where development is needed.
2. Senior manager feedback
You don’t need to spend a lot of money to make your people feel motivated and valued. Quite often a telephone call from a senior manager congratulating a team member on a ‘good week’ is equally as effective as an offer of a training course or gift voucher. You can’t be seen to be withdrawing from investing in your people. Of course, you may have to make decisions to protect the profitability of your business that may not be popular so the messages you communicate are extremely important. We must continue to celebrate success, coach people on specific challenges and address any difficult issues they face.
3. A positive attitude
It is vital that recruitment team managers realign their expectations and take into consideration the economic climate when setting targets and objectives. Whilst I don’t believe it is all doom and gloom out there, it is definitely tougher to convert leads into sales and there are fewer opportunities. That said, team leaders must encourage their staff to raise their game and sell themselves out of the credit crunch.
4. The right tools and skills for the job
Regardless of whether you are operating during a credit crunch or not – staff motivation is influenced by the following factors: having the right person in the job who is capable of doing it; equipping them to do the job by giving them the right tools and support and finally setting realistic targets that they believe can be achieved. We have continued to invest in sales and marketing during these difficult times and have launched a number of new product lines. This shows our staff that we are responding to the challenges of the marketplace and supporting them in every way we can.
5. Using temporary workers
The benefit of having temporary workers is that the customers can flex up and down depending on their requirement. So unsurprisingly over the past few months we have seen a decrease in demand for temporary workers across a number of our customers. Naturally companies are also reticent to commit to permanent recruitment and are even subject to headcount freezes.
6. Don’t be tempted to carry anyone who is not up to the job
Leadership skills are ever more important during a credit crunch and you must lead from the front and inspire the team. Concentrate on motivating your best people and don’t be tempted to carry anyone who is not up to the job – this can be highly demotivating for the rest of the team.
7. Keep things fresh
As obvious as it may sound, the key to motivation is to keep things fresh. Any job, however much you enjoy it, can become monotonous. This is even more true for the call centre environment.
8. Small ‘quick fix’ prizes
Monthly bonuses and incentive schemes are always useful, but what will keep them motivated throughout the month is the small ‘quick fix’ stuff, the here and now, if you like. The little prizes they can take away with them as soon as they win them (or hit target).
9. Training is always good, it keeps people up to date and focused on the job
Regular, effective and relevant training is massively important and a great motivator. If you want them to perform properly and consistently then you have to give them the tools to do so. Training is always good, it keeps people up to date and focused on the job at hand, it keeps their skills at the forefront and it will show them that management are obviously concerned with how well they do their job, etc.
If they are given good quality training that covers the topics and issues they are faced with then they will respond and to a certain extent motivate themselves to stick with what they learn.
10. Offer a nice clean working environment
You need to make sure that the environment they are working in is conducive to good performance. Everyone likes to work somewhere nice, clean carpets, working computers and phones, a couple of nice plants.
Consider this, which team do you think would give the best performance, the one who works in a scruffy office where the equipment only works half of the time and the managers never offer any support, or the team that works in a clean, friendly office where everything works properly and managers spend their day patting you on the back?
I appreciate that I’ve given an extreme example but the fact remains that if your call centre is clean and welcoming then your team will want to be there and motivation is much easier to come by.
11. We all like to be rewarded or praised for doing it well
A good reward scheme is a great motivator, especially if your team are conducting outbound calls. Human nature dictates that no matter what job we do we all like to be rewarded or praised for doing it well. Sales people live by that, generally because the better they do the more money they get.What you have to do is have more than one programme running at any given time – immediate, daily, weekly, monthly – it doesn’t really matter what timescales are involved – the key is to run a programme that suits all members of the team. Basically, the thing that might motivate the top sales person won’t necessarily work with an average performer and vice versa. So if you have different options then you should be able to give all of them something to aim for.
12. Use both sides of the brain
We support people by using the NBI Brain Profile. Through listening to callers’ word patterns (usually borrowers) you can establish how best to deal with them, e.g. if a caller wants to tell you their story it probably means they are more of a right-brain thinker. This is important for them to know you understand their situation and if later in the call you want to obtain a commitment from them this will increase your probability of success.
13. Listening to your team
We have found that the simple yet very effective “secret” to motivating a call centre team effectively comes through how one views motivation. We run with the premise that it is impossible to impose motivation upon people, you need to create an environment within which they can (and will) motivate themselves.
This environment comes through really listening to your team, and understanding the call centre from their perspective. You do not need to agree with everything they are thinking but you do need to understand why they feel this way. Understand what problems/worries they are encountering, what opportunities they see, what is important to them.
14. What does success look like?
One area (often overlooked) is providing absolute clarity in “what success looks like” – all employees must be able to understand their goals and determine whether or not they are achieving these goals.
15. Positive immediate consequences
Rewards that come at the end of the period are too late to produce ongoing change. “Well done” at the end of the week has a short-term impact. Sustained change in behaviour comes when agents are told right through their shift … every minute of the day … precisely how they are performing and being rewarded for that performance.
When they see the positive and immediate consequences of what they do, the do it better; faster; more often.
16. A team huddle at the start of the shift
A bit of fun can go a long way towards motivating staff and helps to energise. At the start of shifts a quick ‘huddle’, not only to pass on bits of key information but to also share a topical joke or ‘vote’ on a true/false, can really wake people up! Far more effective than email bulletins that are rarely read!
17. Be careful promoting people into management roles
One of the most common mistakes, one which I have never understood, is moving consistent, well-performing call centre staff into management roles and away from the front line of customer service. Often when these top performers are promoted to managing others, they are replaced by less talented individuals. But many good call centre staff are wilfully independent workers, so can find management roles stressful and demotivating. Ultimately, the result is the business loses out on two fronts.
18. Get the systems right
The best way to motivate contact centre staff is to ask for their direct input. A key area for consultation is the re-evaluation of the area where agents spend all of their time: the desktop.
Agents frequently cite dissatisfaction with systems as being a major source of low morale.
19. Sort out the headaches
Having to navigate accurately across multiple desktop applications while trying to deal effectively with impatient customers can be incredibly unproductive and stressful for agents. The sheer volume of copying and pasting across different systems requires intense concentration and can lead to headaches and repetitive strain injuries.
Ironically, deploying integration and automation technology to tackle these issues can genuinely humanise highly repetitive, manual and error-prone processes for call centre agents.
20. Rewards to share with the family
Motivation and reward schemes need to have a high satisfaction level and appeal.
We are finding more and more that staff want rewards that they can share with their family and that give them a sense of well-being.
21. Find out what makes staff ‘tick’
Find out what motivates each employee, and make each individual feel that they have a part to play in the overallsuccess of the business. An annual employee satisfaction survey won’t even scratch the surface.
To find out what makes staff ‘tick’ on an ongoing basis you need to measure employee attitude at ‘key moments of truth’ for each employee.
The best way to do this is to use employee feedback software which can provide a regular opportunity for employees to ‘air their thoughts’ in a non-confrontational way. And to provide that information to team leaders so that they always have an up-to-date picture about how an employee feels.
22. Reward good work
When someone does a good job it’s important to recognise their achievements. Offering commission on sales targets or promotions based on performance gives staff something to strive for and also shows you will commend good work.
23. Regular review sessions
In every role people want to develop their skills to help them progress. All members of the team should have regular review sessions which help staff and employers to identify both areas of strength and skills gaps. At the end of each of these sessions, targets are set for the employee to work towards, helping them develop in their career.
24. Encourage staff to dress smartly
Even though customers rarely come face to face with call centre staff, it is important for them to act and look professional at all times. All our staff must dress smartly. Putting on smart clothes for work puts you in a professional mindset which can also boost your business confidence and motivation.
25. Introduce colour in the work space
Inspire your staff to work hard and strive for success. Call centres can be bland, so you can create a more vibrant atmosphere by introducing colour in the work space, using motivational images and pictures to brighten the area. These little, low-cost improvements can make a significant impact on your workforce.
You know your staff better than anyone else; if you have new motivational ideas for your call centre workforce don’t be afraid to try them. Sometimes the simplest of changes can make a significant impact on employees’ working culture and attitude.
Tricia Jephcott, Consultant at Pelican People (www.pelicanpeople.co.uk)
Melissa Carslake, Managing Director (South) at right4staff (www.right4staff.com)
Stuart Pearce, Director, PRG Solutions (www.prgsolutions.co.uk)
Neil France, Owner, Genesis Business Services (www.genesis4training.co.uk)
Stephen Ferrey, Director at MoCo Development Ltd (www.go-moco.co.uk)
David Brown, CEO Europe at Agent00 Limited (www.agent00.co.uk)
Carolyn Blunt, MD/Training Consultant at Real Results Training Ltd (www.real-results.co.uk)
Harry Eastman, Operations Director, Easynet Connect (http://www.easynetconnect.net/)
David Davies, VP Product Strategy and Marketing at Corizon (www.corizon.com)
Francis Carden, Founder and Chief Evangelist OpenSpan (www.openspan.com)
David Butler, Marketing Manager of National Garden Gift Vouchers (www.nggv.co.uk)
Gary Schwartz, Senior Vice President of Marketing at Confirmit (www.confirmit.com)
Chris Earle, Operations Director, Unicom (www.switchingon.com)
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