Employee Engagement in Call Center Operations

Posted by Elena Haigh


In this age it isn’t difficult to find an answer to a question. Information is everywhere. It’s plentiful. Some might say ‘overwhelming’. Type in How to increase Employee Satis… and Google does the rest for you, with you watching as it finishes your sentence; it searches the web for studies and presents you with dozens of articles and opinion pieces. But our attention has its limits, and it is often the quick list-types of articles that are recommended to us the most.

When it comes to the area of Employee Engagement in call center operations (including Productivity, Happiness and Satisfaction) this is no different. Oversaturated as it is, reading them all tends to leave employers with a surplus of agreed-upon bullet points on what to try, but I feel that because the articles are so short, so very concise, that deeper questions are left unexplored. Chiefly how to implement these ideas, why this isn’t a simple fix, and most importantly does this advice apply directly to my business?

Let’s then, take some of the commonly applied advice given in these articles and qualify them. To explore some of the reality behind implementing these approaches in call center operations, or indeed in any work environment.

Employee Surveys

This is one I have seen very often. The idea behind it is a good one; to find out from the horse’s mouth what an employee is missing in their work-life balance. However, doling out questionnaires that are far too long, with only a 1-5 rating system and an obligatory (and empty) comments box at the bottom… Well, honestly, how would you feel about doing one? It’s a wholly informal way of approaching HR. Add in the difficulty of getting all of your employees to fill it out in a timely fashion, the pressure of rocking the boat with a deviant answer and the practical usefulness of a traditional survey loses its appeal.

Employee Communications

This leads me into my next point. As I mentioned, striving to interact more with employees is a noble one. How can it be done? Interact personally with your employees and offer oral surveys instead (And not by guilting them into it). Host meetings often, in both groups and on a one-to-one basis. All of this serves to help an employee feel that he belongs to a collective rather than isolated in their cubicle in large call center operations. That they do not work alone. And that they can rely, trust and lean on each other through hardships.

This seems quite obvious and probably something that is repeated a lot, but the qualifying factor here is that your communication should be honest, not a façade that exists only to serve the company.

Employee Health and Fitness Focus

I’ve also seen a huge surge of advice concerning physical and mental (but mostly physical) health in the workplace. Now I don’t want to undermine the hard work that other people have put into bringing awareness to this, but I have to take issue with the ways in that I see practices related to this being implemented. It has become trendy, with the danger of employers thinking of this as another highway to productivity. After reading barely half an article on the supposed practices of Google or Apple, I’ve seen employers show up the next day and demand that everyone start following some wild new exercise routine that they are implementing. Limit this to optional activities, or as passive utilities that can become part of an employees everyday routine (but that don’t interfere with it!).

Not everyone is on the same page on these kinds of issues. Forcing interaction on a physical level can leave some people feeling isolated. It’s like gym class at school all over again. Instead, bring the topic of health up during a meeting, and help employees decide how they would like to encourage it themselves.

Breaking Up Routines

Articles like to save this near the end for effect, like it’s the secret ingredient to a happy workforce. Similarly to health, I think that employers have seen this idea and react to it immediately. But here, they seem to take the safe road and copy off-the-shelf ideas: bake sales; quirky trips away with the same dry themes. Can you guess what I’m going to say? Tailor it to your people. Your employees will appreciate an attempt to their specific interests, even if it fails, far more than the same “surprise” they’ve heard from every other boredom eradicating enterprise. Why? It highlights that you listen and value your workers. And don’t get shy if your first attempt doesn’t work. Some people like having a set routine! Don’t start a judgemental guilt-trip if some people don’t go for your Cowboy’s & Aliens themed lunch hour.

Employee Engagement in Call Center Operations : Summary

Employee Productivity/Engagement/Happiness are major fields of studies these days but have descended into the realms of buzzwords in the management scene. Yet Employees aren’t sets of metrics and data; they are people. Not stereotypes that fit neatly into a psychological review, but individuals, flaws and all. It seems to me that in the advent of a capitalistic internet age we have lost sight of what that fact means. Rather than delving into the emotional puzzle to help an employee seek peace in their position, we refer to whatever listicle comes from a quick search. It’s inhumane and actually quite unproductive. Luckily, we humanbeings are excellent critics, and have started to catch ourselves out on this kind of thinking. So take this article, and any other you see with an extra pinch of salt. If you think about it, it’s common sense.

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