Good leaders must communicate a vision clearly, creatively, and continually. However, the vision doesn't come alive until the leader models it.

- John C. Maxwell

Employee experience trends in a changing environment

How to create a great employee experience in a shifting world

In the latest in our series examining retention in contact centres we turn our attention to employee experience trends, including the future of employee experience and why continuous investment in people will never be out of fashion.

It goes without saying that the last couple of years have changed the way we work. Even though there’s a ‘return to normal’ and a push for getting workers back into offices, people continue to demand hybrid or ‘work anywhere’ models. Consulting firm Accenture found that feelings of disconnectedness at work were higher in people who had returned to the office1. A survey backed by Slack found that executives were not following their own advice and were more likely than their employees to work from home2.

Contact centres have faced additional challenges beyond working from home.  Over the last two years many contact centres have opted to return onshore, with managers having to build new teams and get people across systems, processes and protocols quickly.

Many contact centres have experienced high attrition and are starting to focus on the ways the employee experience can help to:

  • accommodate the changing face of work
  • build connections
  • get people up to speed quickly.

Effective employee experience initiatives will help people feel more confident about their place in the organisation and help to get everyone across what they need to be across so they can successfully perform in their role.

Employee experience trends

Employee experience (EX) encompasses every part of an employee’s experience at an organisation. From recruitment through to induction, training, promotion and exiting. EX considers how people interact with the companies they work for – including how people perceive/enjoy the environment they work in, how they’re impacted by the organisational structure, whether the management style suits them, the ways that they use technology and their experience of the culture. As companies have become increasingly aware of EX and committed to improving it, we’ve seen trends that aim to:

  • cultivate a meaningful workplace culture (e.g. through organisational support of employee volunteering)
  • lift workplace happiness (e.g. table tennis and ‘wine Wednesdays’)
  • improve the ways we work (e.g. new processes and tools to improve efficiency or productivity)
  • support the emotional and physical wellbeing of employees (e.g. fitness programs, health checks, employee assistance programs and psychological support).

There’s merit in all these trends although some of the faddish tactics to improve workplace happiness may not have longevity.

Improving leadership connectedness, investing in ongoing development and building trust in the organisation are key elements of employee experience for contact centres in the current environment.

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The future of employee experience

Creating a culture in your contact centre that seeks to improve the employee experience – at every touchpoint on the employee journey – can seem like a daunting task. But instead of imagining this as a huge culture change project (that you can implement… and forget), think of it as a series of small steps and initiatives that you and your people can work on a little, every day.

Focusing on a principle of continuous time investment will:

  • improve connectedness
  • build trust
  • lead to sustainable and ongoing improvements.

For example, simply taking time to genuinely check in with your people or teammates every day can foster a connection that a virtual morning tea doesn’t (although don’t stop offering virtual meet-ups). This check-in, when done consistently and with authenticity will improve connections and build trust – and with that you’ll be able to springboard into new initiatives and continue to improve.

Continuous investment in people and the experience they have means:

  • considering all your employees – including those on hourly contracts – and finding ways to invest in them
  • giving employees the opportunities they are looking for – one-to-one mentoring and training, pathways to formal education, support for volunteer work etc.
  • examining all touchpoints in the employee journey from recruitment and onboarding onwards and finding ways to check in at each point – tailoring the check-in will help to show that you are genuinely invested in your people
  • offering people opportunities to learn new skill sets and then apply those skills
  • listening to what your people say and finding ways to give them what they’re asking for.

While employee experience trends come and go, continuous investment in people will always deliver

While you might look back on some employee experience trends (napping pods anyone?) as being more showy than helpful, the important thing to take away is that committing to employee experience in an ongoing way will have an impact on your contact centre’s success. EX that listens to people, creates connections, delivers the development opportunities that people want (even if they are napping pods) and finds ways to check in with people, will improve:

  • engagement
  • performance
  • retention and recruitment outcomes.

What can you do today to boost trust in your organisation?

Team members are often made promises at the start of a job about all the wonderful learning and training on offer – but then it doesn’t happen.

Why not? Managers forget to ask their people about it, and frontline team members wait to be asked about it.

To deliver on promises, you need to check in with your people and create opportunities for these conversations. It all starts with a conversation! What do people want to learn and how can managers find pathways to deliver that?

Delivering this will show your people that your organisation lives up to its promises and can be trusted. You’ll inspire confidence, loyalty and be more likely to retain great people.

Scheduling time in your calendar to ensure these conversations occur regularly is a great start and a very small thing you can do today to start building trust.

How can YakTrak help?

YakTrak helps make investment in people a daily activity. It effectively embeds it into the daily routine. What’s more, YakTrak holds leaders accountable for investment in people, providing:

  • a regular and consistent cadence of coaching sessions
  • helpful notifications so sessions aren’t missed
  • regular reminders for people and their leaders to follow up on goals.

Get in contact with Yaktrak today to find out we can help improve retention in your contact centre.

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