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It’s the most wonderful — and stressful — time of the year. From the pressure of holiday shopping to uncertainty about the year ahead, this season will produce its share of anxiety amid all the festivities.
Over the past two years, the COVID-19 pandemic has taken its toll on the health of the global workforce. Seventy-eight percent of surveyed employees said the pandemic has negatively affected their mental health. And 85% of these employees said their mental health struggles are causing symptoms like sleep deprivation, poor physical health, reduced happiness at home, poor family relationships or isolation from friends.
Gallup found similar trends in its “State of the Global Workplace” research. The report found that closing borders, shuttering businesses and eliminating jobs caused workers’ daily stress to reach a record high in 2020. And it doesn’t seem these heightened stress levels will ease anytime soon.
Your contact center is no exception.
Customer service is stressful. Your agents are supporting customers and answering their questions daily — all while navigating their own personal challenges. Many are working from home while balancing family and other responsibilities. It’s critical to engage your employees on a deeper values-based level. Understanding what your employees care about most is the best way to create an engaged, high-performing workforce.
High-performing agents value having a sense of personal responsibility and autonomy. They want to learn new skills and advance in their careers, according to the Genesys report “Human values: The operating system for a high-performing contact center.”
Here are six ways to create a highly engaged, stress-free and happy contact center work environment during an increasingly stressful time.
1. Offer Flexibility
The holidays are a busy time that often are packed with activities. And while there might be fewer gatherings because of the COVID-19 pandemic, your employees still want the flexibility to work — or take time off — when it’s best for them. Workforce engagement management (WEM) solutions feature flexible work rules that help planners schedule employees around their time-off requests.
2. Encourage a Daily Routine
Help your employees find a daily routine that allows them transition into their work — instead of having to jump right in the minute they log onto their workstations. This could involve engaging in exercise, meditation, having breakfast with friends or family, walking the dog or listening to music. Allow contact center agents to incorporate these into their daily routines.
3. Support Breaks
Even short breaks away from the desk make a big difference in reducing stress. A simple stroll through the neighborhood to get some fresh air can leave employees feeling refreshed.
4. Schedule Regular Check-ins
Be sure to schedule regular check-ins with your contact center employees. Use this time to give them some performance tips or just see how they’re doing. These don’t need to be formal meetings, but more personal talks. Encourage agents to schedule peer-to-peer calls, too, so they still feel connected in an increasingly unconnected world.
5. Recognize and Reward Employees
Every employee wants to feel valued. Feeling undervalued or unrewarded for their work are two main factors that lead to contact center agent attrition. As the year draws to a close, this is a perfect opportunity to recognize your agents — especially your high performers.
6. Remove repetition
No one wants to spend their entire day doing the same exact thing over and over; repetition is a leading cause of agent burnout. Keep your agents engaged, reduce turnover and improve service levels with skills-based routing.
Celebrate your employees this holiday season by engaging them on a deeper values-based level. Understanding what your employees care about most is the best present you can give them.
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