Every business leader should tell you that honesty and integrity is vital for success. In Part 1 of this series, we explored how contact center managers can promote a culture of transparency and trust via quality monitoring. Now, let’s take a look at how managers can promote this culture internally by embracing openness, honesty and truthfulness with agents…
Honesty and trust are perhaps the two most important traits we look for in just about everyone and everything—especially the company we work for. Here are a few ways contact center managers can increase transparency with agents in order to improve engagement, retention, morale and trust:
- Honestly look at performance at every level: A 2010 study found that companies that encouraged honest feedback among employees experienced a 10-year total shareholder return that was 270 percent more than their competition. If you want to truly promote openness among your staff, you need to embrace honesty at every level. This means welcoming candid feedback about manager and supervisor performances; training processes; recruitment techniques; retention and incentive methods and more.
- Proactively support honesty without repercussions: A survey recently conducted by Fierce, Inc. found that a lack of candor negatively impacts their ability to perform. There is indeed such a thing as being honest and respectful. It’s important that employees feel they can respectfully be honest with management (without fear of penalization) in order for supervisors to identify and mediate problems early on, as well as make decisions that will produce positive business outcomes.
- Take time to explain goals and initiatives: According to another survey from Fierce, 71 percent of employees feel their managers do not spend enough time explaining goals. Managers should be walking agents through the logic behind quarterly and yearly goals, as well as methodologies of tracking those goals. This can be easily achieved by sending email chains that outline continued progress, for example. Or, supervisors can schedule recurring monthly meetings with agents to personally involve them and ask for feedback. Seeing how the average contact center manager is responsible for 20 agents, managers can even create and send customized materials on the fly to instantly keep their agents up to date on priorities, goals and accomplishments.
- Track data in real-time: According to a 2015 study from Virgin Pulse, more than half of organizations do not use ongoing assessment tools or real-time data to measure success. A performance scorecard—a graphical representation of an employee, team or enterprise’s progress over time—is key for tracking and meeting specific goals. But remember: it’s critical that performance data is tracked in real-time in order to gain accurate insight that drives efficient decision making.
- Allow employees to collaborate and contribute: This doesn’t mean giving employees new decision making power. Rather, it means recognizing them as valued assets for organizational improvement, and tapping into that. Take a cue from Silicon Valley-based payments company Square, which we mentioned in Part 1. The company has a corporate policy that any meeting involving two or more people must have notes taken down. This way, notes can be shared with all employees to spark new ideas for improvement.
Remember: a culture of transparency and trust does not just mean happy employees; rather, it’s a deep commitment to respect, and an expectation of honesty at every level. Coming up: In Part 3 of this series, we’ll tackle perhaps the No. 1 destroyer of transparency and trust within the contact center: finances.