Contact centres are already known to have high employee turnover rates. With “the great resignation” looming over employers everywhere — recent research by PwC in October 2021 found that 38% of Australian workers are looking at leaving their current employer in the next 12 months — it's crucial that CX leaders improve their workplace engagement to ensure they retain quality agents. But how?
The answer lies in understanding your agents’ values. Human values underpin many of our behaviours and decisions. CX leaders who understand what their agents value have a unique and powerful view into what drives and motivates them and can create highly differentiated engagement plans that increase engagement and motivation across the workforce while improving retention.
In their recent report, Genesys surveyed 16,000 call centre employees worldwide to understand the personal values they care about most — and what separates high performers from others.
Globally, the highest-performing customer-facing contact centre employees value personal responsibility above all else. This is striking because personal responsibility isn’t so highly valued amongst the general population.
These top performers thrive on getting things done, enjoy autonomy and like daily achievements. They also appreciate opportunities for advancement and enjoy learning new skills. Using that insight alone, a manager could create an environment that provides a team with notable rewards for productivity, varied growth opportunities, and a myriad of skills and technology training options unique to their organisation — improving retention as a result.
High performers versus all other performers
A closer look shows how CX leaders can better understand top-performing contact centre employees by role, in their regions and in their companies. Unlike their contact centre peers, salespeople highly value positive environments (a lack of negativity), while customer service agents value dependability. Tech support agents value social standing and ambition. A manager who leads a team of tech support agents could use this insight to develop a distinctive plan that spotlights agents’ accomplishments, including gamification to provide that social standing by showcasing progress and performance.
According to the report, high-performing contact centre employees in Oceania valued self-expression, creativity and experiences. They want to be able to express themselves authentically in the workplace, participate in brainstorming sessions and develop fun initiatives – and will prioritise life experiences over possessions. In addition, those in the Oceania region, see personal growth beyond the workplace as more important compared to other Asia-Pacific regions.
Within each region, there are employees whose values cluster together, presenting certain shared characteristics. These segments, or archetypes, provide deeper and more actionable insights into their motivations. Savers, for example, focus on making money and keeping track of it; they like to make financial progress and avoid taking on debt.
A practical application of values-based engagement
The next step is taking the insights you garner about your contact centre staff (their motivators) and using these to boost workplace engagement.
Using the segment/archetype approach, a CX leader might choose to start with the ‘Pit-stop adventurer’. This archetype is not especially loyal to their employers and say “in this industry, I can easily find a job whenever I need one.” They’re likely well-educated, hard-working and focused on saving when on a break between adventures. They highly value experiences, belonging, personal growth, creativity and basic needs.
To appeal to this cohort of customer service agents, the contact centre manager might focus on their values around experiences and nurture their desire for personal growth.
The manager could develop a loyalty program/discounts with travel or hospitality companies or education providers. Adding gamification to their daily work would allow them to win or give points.
High performance could be rewarded with experiences (e.g., working in another office of your choice for two weeks with travel, accommodation and expenses paid). Afterward, they could run a brainstorming session about best practices they’ve observed.
Or perhaps, the manager might look to build a community of pit-stop adventurers; encourage them to send postcards and pin them to the staff noticeboard; support causes they learn about outside of work etc.
The key takeaway here, is that the engagement program is shaped based on the team’s values and motivators - It's not generic or out of the box. This ensures your contact centre staff feel seen, heard and truly appreciated.
Taking a personalised approach to WEM
Contact centre workers across the globe are looking to devote their time and energy within organisations that reflect their values. Having a retention plan and employee value proposition built around your agents’ values will help you keep your top performers — and keep them engaged.