Motivating and Incentivising Staff at Call Centres
In the current economic climate and in the face of high staff turnover, it’s now more important than ever for businesses to ensure call centre managers maximise the performance of their people by optimising employee engagement.
Recent research commissioned by Edenred confirms this, showing that employee engagement levels in UK business as a whole are worryingly low and that the proportion of staff feeling engaged has dropped by half since 2005.
This is backed up by recent research by YouGov for Investors in People which shows that around one in three (30%) of UK employees are de-motivated at work. The research also found that de-motivation is highest within larger companies with 39% of people in organisations of 5,000 or more saying that they are not motivated, compared to 30% in organisations of between 50 and 250 people.
However, there are ways in which these issues can be addressed. Simply offering more money is not the solution. Edenred’s annual Motivation Survey shows that money never comes higher than the third most popular answer when staff are asked “What motivates you at work?”
Motivation schemes that offer staff incentives have proved highly successful in addressing the issue of turnover, improving engagement and raising performance. They provide a focus for activity, either short- or long-term, and generate attention, interest and momentum, which may be lacking on a day-to-day basis.
What’s more, staff motivation and positive feeling translates through to the end user and can therefore play a part in generating repeat business. Research has found that customers who have an exceptional experience dealing with a call centre are 72% more likely to do more business with a company than customers who merely have a satisfactory experience.
Here are some tips for delivering motivation in call centres:
- Research what reward will motivate all members of staff. If they don’t value the reward, it won’t have any beneficial effects on morale and engagement levels.
- Don’t just concentrate on rewarding top achievers – use incentive and motivation strategies to increase employee engagement and lift performance at all levels within your organisation.
- Consider an incentive programme that really creates hype and excitement within your organisation. Frequent instant prizes have an immediate impact on the level of motivation and atmosphere.
- Offer team rewards as well as those for individuals. If the team reward is powerful, it is a good way to push the strong performers to help the new or poorer members of staff to also succeed.
- Look at peer-run incentive programmes where staff can give a colleague recognition for ‘outstanding work’ by nominating them for a reward.
- Use vouchers or travel rewards to recognise staff achievements as cash bonuses can be lost in monthly salaries and the value of the reward is therefore lost for the recipient.
- Finally, the efforts and achievement of all should be publicly recognised at company meetings with personal presentations by a senior manager.
The act of saying ‘thank you’ via a reward is a very important activity but is often not delivered and executed in a way that maximises the motivational and engagement returns that it should. The key to this is timing: plan and deliver a communication that precedes, accompanies and follows the act of giving a reward as these are all key opportunities to drive performance. A planned communications strategy is essential to secure initial buy-in, and this then needs to continue throughout the rewards process. It is a mistake to think a reward scheme can run itself once it has been implemented. Instead, managers should build on the scheme via an ongoing engaging communication in order to continually increase performance.
Motivation schemes that offer staff incentives can result in a positive impact on a business such as a call centre. They can engage and motivate employees resulting in a good atmosphere and a productive workforce. Looking ahead through 2011, when business needs may change month-on-month, be prepared to change and refresh the reward scheme so it fits with the current economic needs of the call centre, and continues to be relevant to the workforce.
About the Author
Andy Philpott is Marketing Director at Edenred (the new name for Accor Services, Capital Incentives & Motivation and Motivano). Edenred helps organisations engage and motivate people for enhanced performance, and has 260 employees, 15,000 private and public sector clients, 750,000 users and 50,000 affiliates throughout the UK. Visit http://ehub.edenred.co.uk/ to download a free whitepaper Call Centres; Increasing Engagement & Performance.