Workforce Engagement Management – what does it really mean?

Olle Düring, CEO of Teleopti outlines three steps to put the Voice of the Employee at the heart of your contact centre… According to world-leading industry analysts Gartner,[i] “organizations need to assess the potential needs, expectations and aspirations of the next generation of employees within their contact centers.  The impact a motivated and engaged employee can have, not just on operational performance but also on the customer experience, should not be underestimated.”  

The growing awareness of the strategic role played by staff in customer engagement centers is fast becoming a real wake-up call to the industry.

Traditionally, contact centers have taken a customer first approach to service and relied on Workforce Optimization (WFO) technology to drive agent and operational efficiency.  The seismic shift happening now puts the spotlight firmly on what Gartner refers to as the “Voice of the Employee (VoE)” and is triggering changes in technical innovation.  Welcome to Workforce Engagement Management (WEM) – the next stage in the evolution of WFO – where functionality focuses on placing staff at the center of everything through sophisticated recruitment and onboarding, coaching and e-learning, interaction assistance, task assignment and performance and gamification.

The latest transition from WFO to WEM is reflected in Teleopti’s own journey and the increasing need for a human focus when managing employees.  Over the past few years, we have added various complementary employee engagement features such as competency/skills management and gamification capabilities to our core Workforce Management (WFM) platform, a move that has not been lost on Gartner.  For the first time, Teleopti has been positioned as a Niche player in the Gartner 2017 Magic Quadrant for Workforce Engagement Management.[ii]  Our customers also value the changes we’ve made and today, 135 of the 800 organisations who use Teleopti have expanded to WEM.

Why now?

You might ask yourself, why now?  Certainly, advancements in automation and self-service are elevating the role of the contact center agent.  The time will come when only the most complex or sensitive enquiries will be handled by agents giving them the power to make or break customer relationships and raising the bar for those looking for a career in customer service.  At the same time, as baby-boomers retire and the next generation of Millennials take their place, the rules of the game have changed.  With higher expectations of career progression combined with a satisfying work/life balance, the quality of the customer experience is often inextricably linked to how organizations engage and motivate their staff.

Three steps to successful workforce engagement management

Transitioning from simply optimizing your contact center staff to truly motivating and engaging them is easier than you think, but it will ultimately make a real difference to the overall customer experience.  Here are a few tips to get you started:

1.    Where are you now? – Begin by creating a benchmark.  Canvas your staff to find out what makes them tick and how they can feel like respected contributors.  Then develop a series of objectives and ideal outcomes to put your plan into action.
2.    Give agents the right tools – Technology is a powerful enabler.  Give your staff the right tools, the type of employee engagement features that empower them to manage their day-to-day roles effectively and accommodate their own unique style of working as well as the task at hand.  Look out for unique lifestyle scheduling, agent self-service and gamification offerings.  Make successes visual and public, communicate with staff digitally, and via social media, and coach using methods that work best for each individual.
3.    Substance over style – Finally, choose a technology partner that has a track record in providing end-to-end WFM solutions and can use their knowledge, expertise and heritage to help maximise your investment and transition painlessly to a full WEM framework.

The truth is that WEM is not an option, it is a necessity!  A well-thought out WEM strategy improves operational performance and elevates employee engagement.   Follow these simple three steps to blend customer requirements with the voice of the employee and create your best ever contact center.