Tactics for Remote Employee Engagement: How to Motivate Your WFH Contact Center Staff
COVID-19 has forced many companies to transition their contact centers to enable remote work at scale. When employees find themselves away from their regular office setting, they may feel disconcerted and unmotivated. Harvard Business Review reports that being forced to work from home reduces employee motivation by 17 points. What can companies do to enable their staff to perform their best? How can they drive remote employee engagement?
Remote Employee Engagement Ideas
Equipping staff with the necessary home office equipment and facilitating network access is only the beginning of ensuring happy, attentive, engaged remote employees.
Here are additional remote employee engagement ideas your organization can use to improve WFH performance.
Foster a Culture of Collaboration
A collaborative contact center is one where agents work together to make decisions and respond to customer requests based on group advice and guidance. Creating a culture of collaboration drives teamwork and a higher sense of morale for agents who see themselves as part of a bigger picture, working together toward a greater goal.
Research shows that collaborative contact center work environments perform 50% better and reduce errors by 25%. In addition, agents working in a culture of collaboration display greater levels of motivation – 54% go above and beyond what is required – and display greater job satisfaction with a 17% higher intent-to-stay rate.
To facilitate a collaborative culture to encourage remote employee engagement, companies can create forums for employees to interact in various ways, such as by:
- sharing personal and professional updates
- posting questions
- sharing advice with colleagues.
Managers can assign collaborative tasks that encourage team members to stay connected and work together to meet specific goals.
Can virtual work breaks encourage remote employee engagement?
GitLab is an example of a business with a great remote employee engagement idea. It encourages its staff to take virtual coffee breaks in the form of video calls where employees connect informally to socialize around a virtual water cooler.
Steyer Content, meanwhile, has implemented a virtual happy hour every Thursday when everyone kicks back with a drink and comes together to celebrate birthdays, hold informal contests, and share photos.
Ensure Robust Communication
During times of change or uncertainty, frequent communication is critical. Organizations that communicate effectively are 4.5 times more likely to retain quality employees. Necessary top-down communications include procedures such as:
- setting clear expectations of WFH staff
- ensuring everyone is aware of the latest company COVID-19 responses
- clarifying any new policies and protocols.
Real-life solutions for employee engagement for remote employees
Paulaner Brewery Group has used a special employee app during the pandemic to disseminate information to staff, such as travel guidelines and videos with tips for maintaining COVID-related hygiene.
Opening the lines of communication in the other direction is just as important when boosting employee engagement for remote workers. Companies can conduct periodic surveys on what employees think about the current way of working, enabling management to make changes that increase motivation.
For example, DHL chose March 23rd, the day that the UK issued its official stay-at-home order, to survey its employees. It asked them, “If you could change one thing about this company, what would it be?”
Provide Access to Innovative Technology
A practical way to increase remote employee engagement for WFH call center staff is to invest in quality video conferencing and collaboration tools. Other effective remote employee engagement technologies include instant messaging apps and in-house social networks.
Companies can invest in technologies that improve the call center workflow, such as:
- enabling agents to check the availability of subject matter experts
- collaborate on FAQ documents
- access online internal knowledge bases.
For instance, Miro empowers multiple agents to work together on a virtual whiteboard, providing visual feedback in real time, making it an ideal tool for remote collaboration.
How can visual technology help employee engagement for a remote workforce?
Visual technologies, such as screen sharing and remote visual support powered by AR, enable agents to better assist customers. They also allow collaboration with colleagues and have been proven to be especially useful in strengthening remote employee engagement.
For example, TechSee’s visual assistance technology allows agents to see what their customers see through their smartphone cameras, and visually guide them to resolutions.
Introduce Fun Through Rewards and Gamification
Keep WFH employees motivated by making tasks more engaging through gamification. According to Medium.org, 95% of employees enjoy using gamified systems and the market is expected to grow. Technavio has predicted it will increase by USD 17.56 billion from 2020 to 2024.
Companies can drive remote employee engagement with virtual team activities like online multiplayer games and quizzes, and offer team-based rewards, rather than individual ones.
Can financial incentives increase remote employee engagement?
An example of when a financial incentive can be used is when a team reaches a first-contact resolution rate over a specific threshold, or the overall NPS rises by a certain percentage. The entire contact center might then be treated to a monetary bonus or an Amazon gift card. Israel-based Eloops allows employees to earn virtual coins which can be exchanged for rewards by taking part in surveys, quizzes, or speaking engagements. This helps to ease the transition to remote working and encourages remote employee engagement.
Promote Health and Wellness
Helping employees maintain their physical and mental wellbeing goes a long way towards gaining happy, attentive, engaged remote employees. With many staff members forced to remain indoors for long periods with little or no time at the gym, implementing a health and wellness program for employees has never been more important.
Help your employees sleep & more innovative remote employee engagement ideas
Several companies are leading the way. Starbucks announced it would expand its mental health benefit program to include up to 20 therapy sessions for all US employees. EY grants employees free access to mobile apps for building emotional resilience and improving sleep habits, providing practical tips for managing anxiety and social isolation.
Beyond mental health, companies can take steps to facilitate the physical fitness of their employees. For example, Strava fitness app has a group feature that can be used to create a company-wide team, allowing employees to sync their activity data and participate in weekly or monthly challenges.
Top tips for great remote employee engagement
Transitioning to a remote work contact center can be unsettling for staff. Keep agents motivated and boost remote employee engagement by implementing policies such as:
- fostering a culture of collaboration between agents
- ensuring robust communication between management and staff
- providing access to innovative technology
- introducing fun through rewards and gamification, and
- promoting employee health and wellness.
These remote employee engagement ideas will help to encourage workers to perform at their best, even when working from home.