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

The keys to employee retention: strong management and the power of checking in

Employee retention and high attrition in contact centres has become the number one challenge for organisations to solve.

High staff turnover has always been a challenge, however since COVID, an organisation’s ability to hire, train, and retain employees has become tougher than ever before. Contact centre work, after all, can be stressful; with demands for staff to perform within service level expectations and time off phones for coaching and training reduced. This has been further compounded by extended lockdowns forcing team leaders to deal with the difficulties of remote leadership and employees seeking more flexibility in their roles.

These factors, combined with a highly casualised workforce dominated by younger people, can all lead to low employee retention rates.

As a result, many contact centres find themselves on a never-ending recruitment drive – allocating most of their energy and budget on recruitment-related activities – and forgetting about ensuring their existing employees are engaged and getting what they need.

Contact centres and call centres need to take more purposeful, consistent and practical steps with existing employees to improve the employee experience.

Focusing on the drivers of employee retention and in turn improving employee experience has shown that employees are 5.1x more likely to be retained (Employee Experience: 2021 Definitive Guide 2021).

In this series we’ll provide simple bite sized actions that you and your people can do now to improve employee retention.

Here, in the first of the series, we’ll explore the importance regular coaching and feedback – a key employee retention driver.

Employee retention and why people leave

Understanding why your employees are leaving in the first place is vital. After all, when you can pinpoint your organisation’s employee retention issues and challenges you can start to solve them.

Are your people bored or seeking new challenges? Perhaps they are looking for more money or want to reduce stress?  Is the job not what they thought it was going to be?

One of the main drivers of employee attrition is the relationship an employee has with their leader, so it stands to reason that fostering an environment where leaders are building positive employee relationships is critical.

In fact, when the employee–leader relationship is strong, people are less likely to leave due to the reasons we’ve cited above as issues can be addressed and improved before an employee decides to leave.

So where do you start? Start by building strong leadership teams that focus on regular coaching and feedback.

“I can’t coach, the call queues are too high”

Strong leaders who provide regular coaching and feedback will be better placed to recognise the challenges their people are facing and are key to alleviating stress and anxiety in the workforce.

Every time you cancel a coaching or feedback session due to high call queues you’re effectively telling your employee that something more important than them requires your attention. You are reducing the opportunity to build a relationship and for your employee to feel heard.

Regular coaching and feedback doesn’t have to mean a huge amount of time off phones. You can adapt to your organisation’s environment and get creative about delivering coaching and feedback – for example, hints and tips delivered in the flow of work that help people perform their role better.

Strong management finds a way to support, develop, coach and give feedback without taking people off the phones.

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What can you do today?

Managing employee retention is an organisation-wide responsibility, but here we’ll focus on what managers and team leaders can do practically today to get the ball rolling. Today’s tip:

Allocate 15 minutes in your calendar every day to:

  • greet your team at the start of the shift or say goodbye before they leave
  • check-in with them throughout the day to see how they are going
  • ensure every team member receives daily micro-coaching to provide them with regular development and feedback.

You won’t improve things overnight but by adding in daily informal check-ins your effort will be returned.

What’s micro-coaching?

Micro-coaching is short, sharp, one-minute coaching focusing on one small behaviour or action that you want to see improved or used by an individual.

If you want to improve customer conversations, for example, pick one small thing your employee can do and set a goal related to that, such as “ask one great open question on every call to get the customer talking”. Instruct your team member to write down the outcome of using the new behaviour and check-in with them throughout the day. The coaching and feedback can take place in between calls, so no need to schedule time off the phones.

Micro-coaching and checking-in sends a very clear message to your team that you’re invested in them and they matter.

So, what are you going to do today?

We’ll be posting more of these simple tips over the next few months. Keep a look out and share them with your people.

How can YakTrak help?

YakTrak makes it easy to improve relationships with team members and is simple to use:

  • YakTrak encourages regular interactions between leaders and team members
  • YakTrak won’t take your people away from their desks (well, not for long, seriously) – it keeps coaching and feedback moving forward in the flow of work
  • YakTrak holds leaders accountable – sending team leaders regular reminders to connect with team members
  • YakTrak helps to keep promises of ongoing development – providing a regular coaching and feedback cadence so team members will know what to expect

Get in contact with us today to find out how YakTrak can help improve retention in your organisation.

Image by Charanjeet Dhiman via Unsplash.

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