Bonuses can provide positive reinforcement but aren’t a budget reality for all. Several other strategies can recognize contact center agent accomplishments.
Remember the “Show me the money” catchphrase from the Tom Cruise sports agent movie Jerry Maguire? Reading this article’s headline, you might have thought of money as an easy way to recognize your agents. But bonuses and raises aren’t your only options. Here are several other strategies to help you recognize contact center agent accomplishments.
Why Recognition is Necessary
Employees across industries have several consistent reasons for leaving their existing jobs, according to Gallup’s State of the American Workplace report. The top explanations are:
- career growth opportunities
- pay and benefits
- manager or management
- company culture
- job fit
Consider the high attrition rates at contact centers. Then, note that two of these common complaints can be addressed with the help of agent recognition programs. After all, when a manager or management appreciates agent success and your company culture takes the time to acknowledge the effort, you can have a positive impact on employee engagement.
Seven Ways to Recognize Agents
1. Offer the high achieving agent preferential scheduling. This leverages the idea that “time is money” to provide recognition that rewards the individual with another valuable resource. You might offer the opportunity to submit a paid time off request first. Or the chance to select an ideal work shift for a few weeks.
2. Provide office-related perks. Perhaps the reward for exceeding a target is a month of parking in a spot close to the building or getting to sit at a contact center desktop in a prime location (secluded? best view?). Or perhaps this individual gets to select the snacks for the break room or make the choice of coffee flavors available? These little ways of making the workday more pleasant can show individual agents appreciation.
“Employees who are engaged are more likely to stay with their organization…feel a stronger bond to their organization’s mission and purpose…[and] build stronger relationships with customers.” — Gallup 2017 State of the American Workplace report
3. Invite the agent for an informal chat over a cup of coffee or tea. This face-to-face time with a supervisor, away from the contact center dashboard, can help build relationships. Plus, it helps contact center leadership demonstrate an interest in getting to know agents as individuals.
4. Personalize the recognition. Instead of handing over a company T-shirt or coffee mug, invest a small amount in making your gift to this employee unique. Email other team members asking them to provide words describing the individual and then make a word cloud online which you can frame. Or order something customized with that person’s name on it from the affordable crafting site etsy.com.
5. Give out raffle tickets throughout the year as recognition. Then, at the end of the quarter, or the end of the year (perhaps at a holiday party) the people who have earned more tickets will have greater chances of winning your cool prizes.
Engaged teams show dramatically higher job retention rates and lower absenteeism, 17% higher productivity, and contribute 21% greater profitability. — Gallup 2017 State of the American Workplace report
6. Create an agent recognition wall. However, instead of making this a collection of familiar employee photos, have a caricature artist do a rendering of that month’s top agents. These can also become keepsakes for the individual when someone else earns fresh recognition.
7. Send individualized, hand-written letters of appreciation to agents at their home address. So few of us actually get mail that makes us smile. It’s all fliers and bills. Brighten an agent’s day, and show how much your leadership values employee hard work, by taking the time to pen an individual note saying thanks with specific reference to what is appreciated about that person.
All of these strategies to show agents you appreciate their hard work can help improve agent engagement and increase morale. It’s worth making the effort. After all, Gallup tells us that of the more than 100 million full-time employees in the U.S., only 33% are engaged. That’s a far cry from the 70% who are engaged at the world’s best organizations.
Nevertheless, pay close attention to what behaviors you are recognizing. Focus on rewarding the accomplishments or attributes that are important in your organization. This could be hitting targets, contributing new ideas, fostering a team-building environment, or taking advantage of opportunities for self-development…the list goes on. Still, with some creativity and a little extra effort, it’s not too difficult to show you appreciate all that your agents are doing for your business.
EvolveIP’s contact center as a software solution offers many ways to streamline agent work processes. This too can help improve productivity and increase morale. Contact us today.