It’s important to recognise the hard work your agents put in. Here are ten ways to show them that they are appreciated.
1. Always praise your agents’ good work
If your staff are doing great work, tell them so. Leaders must be a positive presence for agents, and face-to-face praise is part of that. It is unbeatable in terms of cost/benefit and helps employees feel their efforts are recognised.
‘Employee of the month’ is a good way to structure praise. Many companies avoid singling out one employee and acknowledge a small group.
By keeping a record of the staff who have been celebrated, you can also get some at-a-glance information on your top performers.
2. Give over-achievers ‘pet projects’ to work on
An employee whose hard work stands out should be given every chance to prove themselves. The fact that an agent is going above and beyond is no accident; this is a career-driven individual.
Being asked to work on a project is a compliment, and a step towards promotion.
Make sure to let the agent know that they are being given assignments because of their excellent record. Otherwise they may feel that you are taking advantage of their strong work ethic.
3. Offer duvet days, banked hours and flexitime
Flexitime schemes exist in many contact centres and are used in several ways. Some companies use them to limit absence or increase responsiveness to peaks and troughs in call volume.
Another option is to offer half days, late starts and early finishes as perks. This can be a very economical reward system for your business and is highly prized by employees.
As with all incentive schemes, it is important to be careful about what behaviours are being incentivised. Giving prizes for lowest handling time may encourage staff to rush calls and damage overall call quality.
4. Be generous with food and drinks
Whether it’s a round of coffee, fruit or a packet of biscuits, keep your workforce fed.
Hunger is distracting and can negatively impact an agent’s work. Taking the food round yourself adds a personal touch and shows you are involved.
These treats can be spontaneous or something you do regularly, but remember individual health and diet considerations.
5. Scale your rewards to match achievements
The types of work that deserve recognition range from small personal achievements to dazzling long-term projects. How can you give recognition to the more humble successes without diminishing the larger ones?
One way to reward smaller achievements is to give out impromptu raffle tickets or bingo balls to staff. You can then do a Monday-morning draw for prizes. This is both a low-investment reward system and a morale booster for after-weekend blues.
6. Involve everyone in office games
Games that involve everyone have several benefits. Following their team’s progress and sharing a laugh are great for morale and help workers get to know one another.
Games also give you an opportunity to bring strong performers to the attention of their colleagues. Give them a ceremonial role like rolling the dice, or put their photograph on their team’s counter.
Small considerations like this encourage new starters, making them feel included by recognising milestones they have reached. Try to acknowledge successes early, even when they are more modest than those of your seasoned agents.
7. Hold ‘casual clothes’ days
Everybody likes to take the occasional break from formal office wear. Casual clothes days are often held to support charities, but they can also be prizes. Giving agents permission to dress down is a simple and highly visible reward for hard work.
Alternatively, you can spin this by holding a ‘best dressed’ day. Invite your staff to don their best evening wear and give prizes for the snappiest outfit.
8. Organise regular social events
An active social calendar can be a great way to thank your whole staff. This includes different departments or newer employees who have not had the chance to mingle. It is also an opportunity for front-line staff to socialise with management, which can be trickier to arrange.
If you have the budget, a small outlay can generate a lot of goodwill. “The first drink is on us” is a phrase which is sure to make you very popular.
Consider your opening hours when planning activities or you might have absent staff the next morning.
9. Discuss the prospects of promotion
If an agent regularly exceeds your expectations they are probably serious about their career. A promotion is the biggest reward you can offer an employee, so find out about their career plans. They might not be sure of the best path for them and will need your guidance.
Make sure that progress is highly visible; use every promotion to remind your workforce that there is a future for them.
10. Take top performers on a tour of the ‘factory floor’
It is always useful for employees to have a broad understanding of the business. Touring other sites or departments can develop that understanding and makes an interesting afternoon.
You can ask them to share their experience with colleagues afterwards to really spread the benefit.
More than anything else, positivity and enthusiasm from senior staff encourages agents. If you show your team that their work impresses you, they will want to maintain those high standards.
With thanks to Jack Barton, a regular writer for Call Centre Helper