What does it mean to maintain employee engagement and productivity levels when working from home becomes part of the new normal? Companies that are making plans for their employees to work from home permanently for the first time must answer this question and more.
For instance, making sure employees don't feel isolated; enabling virtual collaboration, and maintaining company culture without face-to-face contact are just some of the issues that will need to be addressed. The good news is that companies have done it. Here are 15 tried-and-true ways to help a distributed workforce of contact centre associates stay engaged and be highly productive.
Empower associates to work smarter, not harder
Use mobile devices and apps to give associates more flexibility and efficiency.
1. Leverage artificial intelligence to provide associates with the information they need at that moment. For example, TTEC's Associate Assist is an AI-powered assistant that serves up problem-solving information to associates in real time and is continuously updated and enhanced with associate input.
2. Help associates better manage scheduling and compensation. A mobile app can alert associates of volume spikes with bonuses for those who work on short notice and allow them to review their work hours and paychecks.
3. Use predictive analytics and forecasting technology to help team leaders make informed decisions about staffing levels.
Make virtual collaboration frictionless
Make it easy for associates to reach out to other members on their team and across the organisation.
1. Create a chat group or forum around a particular learning topic where employees can share notes and tips as if they were in the office.
2. Social collaboration tools such as Microsoft Teams, Slack, and Zoho Cliq enable employees to easily communicate and share information with each other on a messaging platform.
3. Project management tools such as Jira and Basecamp are helpful for staying up-to-date on the progress of projects, and to share documents and other content.
Maintain company culture wherever your employees are
Help employees feel that they're part of the company whether they're in a contact centre or working from home.
1. Kick off each shift with a huddle to answer questions, share performance updates, highlight wins, etc.
2. Ask all employees to use video conferencing for their daily communications.
3. Appoint an individual or form a committee to come up with virtual team-building activities that are connected to and uphold your company values.
4. In addition to formal team-building activities, acknowledge birthdays, anniversaries, and upcoming special occasions.
5. Invite senior leaders to come to group meetings, celebrate wins, and share information with teammates.
Make learning and training convenient and engaging
Provide a hands-on learning experience for associates to take advantage of at their convenience.
1. Use AI-simulated learning to enable associates to interact with voice-enabled bots that replicate customer interactions, then immediately provide tailored feedback, coaching, and performance results for continuous improvements.
2. Let associates "choose their own adventure" from a menu of immersive learning experiences.
3. Provide a mobile app that lets employees monitor their earned badges denoting their new skills or course completions in a fun competitive environment, participate in career-growth challenges, and unlock monetary privileges and fun benefits. This may include other mobile engagement activities that are separate from the production workspace. For example, at TTEC, we piloted the Gamified Talent Engine which received +65 employee NPS and has helped increase employee engagement and career growth proactiveness.
4. Have managers provide video or chat coaching (depending on context and preference) to personalise interactions.
Customers aren't the only ones who need support. Employees, especially remote employees, thrive when they receive regular and personalised contact that helps them feel part of the team. Advances in work management software, video conferencing, automation, and artificial intelligence help contact centre leaders support their employees in meaningful ways and enhance productivity--wherever they are.