Recent years have seen changes to the way companies track, assess and acknowledge employee performance, with great effect. In fact, 90 per cent of companies that have restructured their performance see direct improvements in engagement, according to a survey by Deloitte. These are statistics that contact centre managers can't afford to ignore.
Performance management is the process by which agents and managers collaborate to design, monitor and act upon employee objectives, and establish how they feed into the organisation's overall direction. But why is good performance management so important?
1. It helps leaders set the right goals
Giving employees a clear vision of what's expected of them, and how this contributes to the overall success of the contact centre, is one of the greatest benefits of good performance management.
It's important to learn how to set the right targets for your organisation, as this doesn't just involve plucking a number out of thin air. Too high and staff will feel overwhelmed and may not even attempt to reach it, too low and the targets won't contribute to improving performance.
Performance management gives managers a good idea of each employee's contribution to the requirements of the contact centre, and enables them to set targets to improve task execution in a productive, but healthy, manner. By aligning your agents with the aims of the contact centre as a whole, they can take greater ownership of the business through their own goals.
A good performance target is attainable, but also requires improvement to be reached.
However, the job isn't finished when the targets are set. Managers should regularly review data and use it to make change where necessary. These actionable insights can be a red flag for managers if an employee, or department, is regularly missing their targets, or can prompt rewards for success.
We'll discuss the practical results of good performance management further below, but for now suffice to say that it's an important tool by which managers can gain a fuller understanding of what's working well in their contact centre, as well as areas that need improvement.
2. It will improve workforce productivity
As well as empowering individual agents in their daily tasks, another knock-on effect of creating clear and cohesive goals is to increase the efficiency and productivity of the contact centre. If your staff are all pushing in the same direction, and have an understanding of how their individual efforts impact the success of the business, you will soon see the benefits to productivity.
Shrinkage is one of the greatest challenges facing contact centres. By creating a culture of shared responsibility, you can minimise this wasted time, drive the engagement of your agents and focus your workforce on key business goals.
3. It allows managers to link evaluation and development
As mentioned earlier, good performance management creates important actionable insights that managers can use to improve the quality of agent-client interactions in their contact centre. By tracking individual performances, you can reward success and notable contributions to the business's overarching goals.
Good performance management creates important actionable insights.
Attrition is high amongst contact centres – so recognising opportunities to make staff know that their hard work is being noticed can be a great way to improve workplace morale, and increase retention rates. Happier and motivated staff are likely to be more loyal and productive. In fact, engaged employees are 87 per cent less likely to leave a company, and 57 per cent more effective in their roles, according to a survey by Deloitte.
As well as rewarding high achievers, consistent monitoring of staff performance has the important benefit of identifying where extra training will benefit other parts of the workforce.
You shouldn't assume that onboarding processes supply staff with all the information they will ever need, and being able to find knowledge gaps will lead to better results and happier customers.
4. It permits communication between management and agents
Managing performance well can also enhance the relationships between team leaders and agents, allowing for an ongoing cycle of improvement.
If managers are seen to take a direct involvement in the professional development of agents, and of the team as a whole, it creates a culture of honesty and openness within the business. By providing regular feedback on performance objectives, staff have the opportunity to feed into this process and assist in creating future goals. This staff input not only contributes to employee empowerment, but will likely result more realistic and practical objectives.
Call Design has nearly 20 years' experience implementing tailored strategies to help contact centres improve workforce optimisation. To find out more about how our performance management tools and training courses can benefit you, reach out to us today.