In contact centers, attrition rates among frontline agents are double, sometimes triple, that of other industries. Research indicates that this high level of attrition is largely due to employees not feeling empowered in their work and having little visibility into their performance and career path.
Companies are often looking for innovative ways to tap into their agents’ drivers and deliver them in an effortless and seamless way. Those with traditional workforces have been investing in technology platforms that function as an employee engagement center, helping to drive retention, tenure, and work quality as an alternative to wage increases.
But what about at-home or gig workers? These employees also have a broad spectrum of drivers that are different from those agents who work in actual contact centers. These drivers need to be identified, understood, and addressed by companies so that these team members gain the same amount of brand passion, commitment and loyalty as their on-campus team members.
Here are a few ways that leading brands are successfully identifying key engagement drivers and increasing retention, tenure, and work quality to retain and engage the best work-at-home agent talent.
According to FlexJob’s annual survey on flexible work, 80% of respondents said they would be more loyal to employers if they were provided flexible work options. Additionally, 30% reported leaving a job because it did not offer flexible work options. Work-life balance is the top driver for flexibility in their work.
An at-home employee model in the customer care industry allows agents greater flexibility in their schedules. It also benefits those companies who adopt this model for their program. Agents who work remotely are able to pick up shorter or split shifts easier than those who have to commute to a contact center. These smaller blocks of shifts allow agents to schedule their hours around their personal lives. At-home models are a great way to leverage more part-time workers, so companies have a more flexible and cost-effective workforce model to staff more appropriately for their contact arrival patterns. This is a win-win for both your employee’s job satisfaction and for your business.
Another best practice for your full-time employees is to schedule their shifts for 20 hours a week, and provide them the opportunity to schedule themselves by selecting or picking up the shifts they want for their remaining 20 hours. Companies can play around with the best ratio that suits their brand programs, whether that’s a 20:20, 30:10, or even 10:30 split.
Finally, partnering with a vendor who is employing technology applications that your at-home agents can use to schedule themselves is important if the goal is to have a seamless and successful transition to a flexible schedule model.
CULTURE CONNECTION THROUGH VIRTUAL COMMUNITIES
Employees working in an independent space away from their teammates can conjure up feelings of isolation and disconnection from both the culture of your brand and the ones they support. Another at-home agent driver is the need to feel a part of the community they work within. Virtual yoga, meditation, and pizza parties are just some of the fun ways leading brands are ensuring their at-home employees are feeling engaged and connected to their teams and culture.
Also, don’t forget the shout-outs. Out of sight, out of mind definitely does not fly with your at-home employees. Have a platform where you can acknowledge and recognize your at-home workers for a job well done publicly to the entire company. Products such as Yammer or virtual company meetings are great for this.
ACCESS TO TECHNOLOGY & TOOLS
Access to the right technology and tools for remote workers to do their jobs successfully doesn’t stop at a VPN connection. Providing your agents with a technology platform where they can connect with each other for the fun activities described above, such as Slack channels, live chat rooms, or your own proprietary software, is essential for them to develop relationships, connection, and engagement in your business.
At-home agents also need to be able to fully service the customer’s needs quickly without in-person access to Team Leaders or Ops Managers. Much like on-campus agents, remote workers need to be as organized as possible. Providing access to tools like internal knowledge bases helps to resolve customer issues quickly and effectively.
We also can’t forget those agents who are starting their jobs for the first time in a remote environment. The use of technology platforms where you can onboard digitally allows you to seamlessly take new hires from handshake, to orientation, and to production seamlessly. Your orientation and training is consistent and company updates are easy to communicate and implement. Not to mention, the cost savings to brands is exponential. Not only does digital onboarding eliminate paperwork (up to 30 pages paper per employee), it reduces error rates with automated document filing, and increases your ability to track where your new hire is at in the onboarding process.
As teams become more distributed, organizations have needed to rethink how they foster both culture and team connections. How have you created a community as your workplace inevitably becomes more virtual?
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