How to Motivate Staff in 25 Ways


Finding ways to increase staff motivation will boost the work rate and productivity of your employees.

Here are a few tips on how to motivate staff in the contact centre.

1.  Happy Workforce = 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 employees 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.

Learn more about keeping advisors happy in the article: Top customer service strategies – No. 2 Happy Staff = Happy Customers

2.  Senior Manager Feedback

feedback-thumbs-upYou don’t need to spend a lot of money to make your staff 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.

Follow the link for: Five Ways to Share Good Customer Feedback with the Rest of the Team

3.  A Positive Attitude

It is vital that 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
  • 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.  Don’t Be Tempted to Carry Anyone Who Is Not up to the Job

Leadership skills are ever more important during difficult times and you must lead from the front and inspire the team.

Concentrate on how to motivate your best staff 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.

fresh-lime-6.  Keep Things Fresh

As obvious as it may sound, the key to motivating your staff 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.

So, refresh your old incentives, awards and motivational games to keep the contact centre lively.

7.  Rewarding With ‘Quick Fix’ Prizes and Experiences

Monthly bonuses and incentive schemes are always useful, but what will keep staff 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).

Whilst this works well to provide quick boosts to motivation, for your bigger prizes it could be a good idea to reward with experiences. AO do this so that winning advisors create positive memories that can be associated with the workplace, thus adding passion to the job. An example of this was rewarding a winning advisor with tickets to the Manchester City vs Barcelona Champions League Tie, as the employee was a Manchester City fan.

For more tips from AO’s contact centre, read our piece: 17 Things You Can Learn from the AO Contact Centre

Also, follow the link for more ideas of:  Staff Incentive Schemes That Work

8.  Use Training to Keep People up to Date and Focused on the Job

Regular, effective and relevant training is massively important and a great motivator. If you want staff 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, their skills at the forefront and shows them that management are obviously concerned with how well they do their job.

If advisors are given good-quality training, which 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.

Discover more on this topic by reading our article: 50 Call Centre Training Tips

9.  Offer a Nice Clean Working Environment

You need to make sure that the environment that staff are working in is conducive to good performance. Everyone likes to work somewhere nice, with clean carpets, working computers and phones, a couple of nice plants, etc.

work-environmentConsider 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 them 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 will be much easier to come by.

Find out how you can improve the contact centre environment in our article: Six Clever Ways to Design your Call Centre

10.  We all Like to Be Rewarded or Praised for Doing It Well

A good reward scheme is a great way to motivate staff, 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.

Here are our: Top 10 Ways to Show Agents They’re Appreciated

11. Publicise Career Progression Opportunities

As the average age of advisors in contact centres is low, providing employees with a visible route of progression from their current position can be a great source of motivation.

Promoting these future opportunities where advisors can earn more money, hold a position of leadership and acquire new responsibilities, helps advisors to maintain enthusiasm in their current role.

PhotoBox do this by publicising job openings that advisors may have the right skill set for throughout the company. The company do this by sending staff members job adverts via email, as illustrated below.

To find out more from PhotoBox, read our article: 18 Things You Can Learn from the PhotoBox Contact Centre

12. Introduce Shift Swaps

The rigidness of the working schedule in many contact centres can cause a significant drop in motivation, as advisors often struggle to get the required time off for a fast-approaching christening, funeral etc.

If such an incident occurs, the job satisfaction for the affected advisor can be severely dented. One way around this is to introduce flexible shift swaps.

Whilst doing this could have negative effects in terms of workplace dynamics, service quality and supervisor–advisor rapport, it could very well bring a major surge of enthusiasm into the contact centre.

To introduce a flexible shift pattern as seamlessly as possible, read our piece: Top Tips on Flexible Shift Patterns

13.  Listen 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.

Find out how to harness the voice of your contact centre by visiting our page: Top Customer Service Strategies – No.5 Listen to Your Customers and Staff

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 them.

A good way to do this is to set advisors performance-based goals during quality monitoring sessions which change every week/month. These goals could be to boost certain metric results or quality scores, use empathy statements and so on.

For more on the topic of quality monitoring, visit or page: 30 Tips to Improve Your Call Quality Monitoring

15.  Positive Immediate Consequences

Rewards that come at the end of the period are too late to produce ongoing change and a “well done” at the end of the week can only have a short-term impact.

Sustained change in behaviour comes when agents are told right through their shift, every minute of the day. Let advisors know precisely how they are performing and being rewarded for that performance.

When they see the positive and immediate consequences of what they do, they do it better, faster, more often.

16.  A Team Huddle at the Start of the Shift

team-huddleA bit of fun can go a long way towards motivating staff and helps to energise the contact centre.

At the start of shifts, a quick ‘huddle’, not only to pass on bits of key information, but also to share a topical joke or ‘vote’ on a true/false, can really wake people up! This is far more effective than email bulletins that are rarely read!

Forming a huddle also helps to transmit a sense of community and team spirit, as advisors realise that they each share a common goal in optimising the performance of the contact centre.

Here are: 12 Great Tips to Improve Call Centre Performance

17. Be Careful When Promoting People into Management Roles

One of the most common mistakes, and one I have never understood, is moving consistent, well-performing call centre staff into management roles and away from the frontline 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 advisors spend all of their time: the desktop.

Advisors frequently cite dissatisfaction with systems as being a major source of low morale.

So, it’s important to have smooth-running systems that minimise advisor frustration and sustain enthusiasm.

Find out how to do so in our guide: Slow Computer Systems – It’s Not Rocket Science, Is It?

19. Use Motivational Games

Whilst many of the tips this article “dangle a carrot” in the hope of spurring advisors on, motivational games can also help to break up the repetitive routine of the advisor role.

These games help to revitalise an advisor’s day, offer healthy competition between staff and, especially if paired with an attractive incentive, can spur on advisors to boost performance.

For some examples of motivational games to play, such as contact centre dodgeball, cell wars and survivor island, visit our page: Motivational Games for Employees

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.

After all, if you are considered to be looking after the family of your employees, and not just the advisor, staff will feel greater security and you may earn greater levels of respect.

For more reward-based ideas, read our piece: Fifteen Great Ways to Improve Your Incentive Programmes

21.  Find out What Makes Staff ‘Tick’

lots-of-presentsFind out what motivates each employee, and make each individual feel that they have a part to play in the overall success 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.

This method also provides 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.

Even just a simple thank you can improve motivation, as feeling recognised and appreciated is important for any staff member, in any profession.

Remember, you don’t always need a large budget to acknowledge good work, as we discovered in our article: How to Motivate Employees for Less than £50 Per Week

23.  Hold 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.

Remember the old cliché: if you look good, you feel good.

Follow the link to find out more about: Call Centre Dress Codes

25.  Introduce Colour in the Workspace

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 workspace, 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.

Siniat’s contact centre do this by involving advisors in the creation of artistic wordclouds, which are then displayed next to the workstations of those members of the contact centre team.

For more tips from Siniat, read our article: 11 Things You Can Learn from the Siniat Contact Centre

Thanks to the following for sending in the pieces of advice that have been used in this article:

Tricia Jephcott, Melissa Carslake, Stuart Pearce, Neil France, Stephen Ferrey, David Brown, Carolyn Blunt, Harry Eastman, David Davies, Francis Carden, David Butler, Gary Schwartz and Chris Earle.

Originally published in June 2012. Recently updated.

Published On: 25th Apr 2017 - Last modified: 20th Jul 2017
Read more about - Call Centre Management , , , ,


33 Comments
  1. These are great motivational tips! Thank you for posting them. I really like how you positioned training as motivation, because so many times people think of training as just a job requirement, when it really can be motivational to help enhance skill sets.

    As a training professional, this speaks volumes to me.

    Great blog!

    MCastillo 10 Jun at 6:18 am
  2. it is realy good ideas but we need to know what is the realation between staff motivation & budget,.

    Hatim Asim 10 Jun at 12:51 pm
  3. No. 17 is all very well but if you don’t promote call centre staff into management positions they are likely to seek opportunities elsewhere so you’ve lost them anyway. However much they may enjoy their job and however good they are if their career aspirations are not met they will become more UNhappy. And I speak from personal experience on this issue.

    David Gorton 10 Jun at 6:38 pm
  4. these are very good ideas/tips, bu i would like you, if it is possible that is, to send me how to motivate senior level staff. otherwise thank you for posting the tips.

    Aaron Mukhongo 19 Jun at 8:39 am
  5. Really good tips and I have already passed these to my team. The only one that really doesn’t make sense is point 17 I’m not sure why this person has come with such a pointless comment and to call this a tip is a complete joke. You should always promote your best workers to keep them motivated otherwise another company will snap them up.

    Sam Well 22 Jun at 1:47 pm
  6. Hey!

    Realy helpfull this site.

    I need some small role plays motivating role plays for staff. which make them enjoy and with a moral too.

    Regards,
    Gaurav

    gaurav purohit 22 Jul at 4:52 am
  7. Thats a job well done. thank you so much for these tips, am sure this will go a long way for any call centre. staffs motivation is very important, it encourages csr and makes them go the extra mile.

    phartymar 20 Aug at 5:21 pm
  8. David Gorton’s comment on tip no.17…..
    He needs to do a little more reading and work on his business awareness somewhat.

    My dear fellow, have you not observed or heard of the ‘Peter Syndrome’ where as often the case in government departments, people are promoted to their level of incompetance.
    A devestating outcome for productivity and individual!

    Catch up David.

    Rubbleco Pty Ltd 29 Sep at 1:29 pm
  9. the way to motivate your staff just smile on thier faces and let them feel that they are a part of you

    ABDI 20 Dec at 3:01 pm
  10. I would like to give comment on what Rubbleco said to David.. What is the significance of peter syndrome to his comment to tip # 17??.. It seems that you have to do the some better reading by yourself..

    Carl 23 Jan at 10:30 pm
  11. Thank you all coming from someone who works on a call centre Sam.

    Samantha 12 Apr at 10:51 pm
  12. Incentive bonus may be a good result on staff motivation, isn’t it?

    Msr Mukul 13 Jul at 12:40 am
  13. Due to the intense emotional demand, I think an extra break would motivate call center employees better. From a call center employee.

    Bren 17 Mar at 4:09 pm
  14. Hey Guys..Good Ideas…Will implement it in my team and let you know the improvement.

    DD 30 Mar at 3:44 pm
  15. thank lot, nice work but is necessary for staff member to dress similar clothes

    kayinga fadhil 23 Apr at 6:32 pm
  16. The part I like the most about a new job is that I’m always very motivated to do good work, but it definitely gets harder over time. I bet you could come up with some simple training programs that incorporated motivational tools such as the ones you mentioned above. I love the idea of adding color in the workplace! What colors would you say are good for a workplace without being too much?

    Janey 1 May at 4:00 pm
  17. I love the guidance. Good stuff discussed. Thank you.

    Siraje Kamugisha 9 Jul at 6:24 am
  18. Excellent ideas and a really positive step has been taken by my team in accessing customers and retaining business through energetic staff. Thanks

    Chris 29 Jul at 3:58 pm
  19. This is awesome thank you. one always need coaching themselves especially in management by becoming good Managers, therefore learning new ideas and implementing them will definately make a healthy productive working environment.

    thank you

    Sandra.

    Sandra Govender 21 Nov at 7:30 am
  20. regards for a step forward. am much obliged

    ngumo 17 Jan at 2:21 pm
  21. wonderful

    simon ngumo 17 Jan at 2:22 pm
  22. 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

    wadwqd 17 Jan at 4:24 pm
  23. Great tips, i, ll try them my new role.

    saghir 11 Apr at 8:39 pm
  24. Thanks, everyone wants a great day at work and this all helps!

    graham 13 Jul at 3:32 am
  25. #17 can work but needs a great deal of coaching from Sr. Management. I have seen this succeed and fail. Usually, unfortunately, it falls on the other managers to pick up the slack.

    LH 3 Nov at 12:22 pm
  26. Most great tips here.

    A few bad ones though

    Richard V 4 Dec at 3:17 pm
  27. They are so great tips! as a manager i almost knew them but it’s good to read them more and more and remind them.Thank you

    Hamidreza.A 11 Dec at 10:38 am
  28. How to motivate team if company not give salary on time and vouchers also against travelling to attend sites for company works

    Anonymous 20 Apr at 3:54 am
  29. 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 The part I like the most about a new job is that I’m always very motivated to do good work, but it definitely gets harder over time. I bet you could come up with some simple training programs that incorporated motivational tools such as the ones you mentioned above. I love the idea of adding color in the workplace! What colors would you say are good for a workplace without being too much?

    Reader23 22 Sep at 1:03 pm
  30. No1. Resist the corporate tide of sycophantic cowardice. Bravely but respectfully push for improvement from those above.
    No2. Never be a jerk.
    No3. Treat all people with respect. Always,

    Push issues/escalations up rather than down. Be honest with your staff and push hard and transparently to get inefficient processes and systems FIXED. FAST.

    Never fixate on individuals. Address the team instead. Always bring up matters relating to an individual in private with the individual.

    Callcentre worker 6 May at 3:59 am
  31. 11. We all like to be rewarded or praised for doing it well – This is a big statement and a fact! A recent report by magazineHR said that the most common complaint towards employers is that they do not get recognised enough for their work.

    LMC 24 May at 3:21 pm
  32. Insightful article!”Wow! This is really cool!”

    John James 23 Feb at 1:28 pm
  33. These just makes us realize that not all people are into monetary motivations. Far beyond that (because money always seems to be the easiest incentive for motivation), bring in the ‘human’ side of the agents. Their hunger for feedback and praise (if worthy), vacations or leaves, the freedom of their hours (like shift swap), etc. Trainings are also good but companies should learn that some trainings take some time and an investment that would take quite a while before they can see its ROI.

    Brooke Harper 1 May at 4:12 am
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