Playing silly games in the Call Centre, does it really motivate our staff- have we employed adults or children?
I often get approached in this regard- what is good business practice, should we motivate, how often do we motive, with what do we motivate, do we manage this internally, or do we get an external company, should we do team building at a lodge… unfortunately there is no simple answer and really does come down to the company and the “ethos” of the organisation with regards training, team building and over all how an employee is valued and last but not least – budget.
That does not mean to say, you, as the call centre manager, cannot find ways to motivate, but if it’s not standard business practice in the organization, it will make the task that much more difficult,however not impossible.
In addition a number of additional factors should be taken into account
The average age of your call centre staff
Men vs Woman
High stress level i.e.- emergency services
Goal of the team building
Attitude of the agents
Contract or full time employee
Average age certainly makes a difference when determining how to motivate your staff- if the average age is 50 then going to play baseball on a Saturday afternoon, may not be the right way motivator.
If they are all work from home agents, then getting them together should make the team more cohesive if that is the objective of the exercise.
Of course you also have to take into account the men vs woman ratio. Men may be happier playing soccer or touch rugby, woman a game of baseball.
Handling a high stress environment is very different to handling a high pressure environment and how do I distinguish the two- High pressure= high target, high volumes; High stress= life and death calls.
Running a 24 hour environment can also make for interesting challenges. Working the graveyard shift is hard and takes a certain “type” of person, who is very different to our average 9-5 employee.
When I mention locality, I refer to “where is the call centre situated” in the concrete jungle down town or out in the suburbs. How do our staff get to work, bus, train, taxi, walk …have you tried to arrive at work in your “Hawaii day” costume when you had to catch the train, or walk 4 blocks?
Let’s not forget why we are doing/thinking/planning the motivating: Better team work, perhaps establishing a new team, merging a call centre, improving sales, improving customer care, improving trust, the short term reasons are endless the long term goal is always about improvement on the bottom line, which of course leads me to my next statement-Attitude of the agents.
Either they are on board or they are not, negativity as a whole is difficult to deal with, get rid of it first, address it, deal with it and make sure it is gone before you start to motivate, otherwise any progress you could have made, will be undone even faster.
Of course we also have to see who has been with us for “years”- sometimes it’s good and some times, not so good! The duration a person is at a company certainly has an impact on their attitude and how they erceive the business and the “fun” you may want to introduce. They may have been down this road 3 times with your predecessors only to keep watching the same outcome.
In addition a person who is on a short term contract will review “motivation” in a different light to someone who the company has on their books as a full time employee. This once again affects attitude, buy in and will affect the success and outcome of your efforts.
The last couple of points to remember is physicality and engagement, when asking staff to bring in their photo’s of their 18th birthday, it may embarrass a few people. Fashions have changed and so have the people in the photo and so it is critical you get the buy in by engaging the staff in your motivational idea’s.
We often believe we have all the best suggestions, however open your mind to your staff and let
them be your guide, in this way they will bring the energy required to ensure the success of the
Let’s not forget why we are wanting to do the “motivating” in the first place…a better team, means
more productive , means better attitude, means better return on the bottom line and so the
“positive” cycle begins.
Just remember not to stop once the change occurs, slipping back is so much easier than keeping the positive momentum going and that is ultimately what makes a good call centre vs a bad one.