Uniting your team can be tough, even under the best circumstances. As hybrid workforces become more common, contact center managers have to get even more creative to keep everyone feeling connected, productive, and engaged.
What Is a Hybrid Workforce?
A hybrid workforce model is one in which some employees are working from the office and some are working remotely. While a hybrid team can be a win-win for both your company and your team, creating camaraderie when team members are working from different locations can be challenging.
No one likes feeling disconnected. As the leader, it’s your job to find ways to keep everyone in your contact engaged — for their benefit and yours.
What Is Workforce Engagement?
An engaged workforce is one in which employees are enthusiastic about their work and play active roles in the team. They’re involved in the business both professionally and socially, and are interested in contributing to a great company culture.
But workforce engagement pays off for more than just your employees. It also benefits your bottom line. Gallup reports that highly engaged teams see an increase of 23% in profitability.
Because engaged employees care about their work, they’re more likely to care about your customers too. When your hybrid cloud contact center employees are engaged, they’re ready to deliver an excellent customer experience.
How to Engage a Hybrid Workforce
According to Gallup, managers are responsible for 70% of a team’s engagement, so let’s find out more about how you can build an engaged workforce as the leader of a hybrid contact center team.
This might seem like a no-brainer, but many managers get it wrong. In fact, in one survey, 91% of respondents said their bosses lacked good communication skills.
When you manage a hybrid contact center, with some employees remote and some on-site, strong communication is vital. Make sure you’re communicating thoroughly and frequently, both face-to-face (even if that’s through video) and in written form. Follow up with emails after meetings to ensure everyone — no matter where they’re located! — is clear about any action items.
For immediate communications within your hybrid cloud contact center, chat tools such as Slack are helpful to broadcast messages to everyone at once. Slack can be a powerful tool for contact centers with remote team members, helping to reduce call wait times or rapidly address an urgent matter.
2. Address Disengaged Team Members Quickly
According to Gallup, “actively disengaged” employees have poor work experiences and can spread their unhappiness to their colleagues. Negative attitudes can be contagious! Addressing these issues head-on is essential, so they don’t get out of control. Workforce engagement management tools are available to help you manage the process.
First, find out what might be making them disengaged. Your hybrid contact center members could be feeling isolated or unrecognized. Examine their key performance indicators (KPIs) — is anything falling through the cracks? If so, make time to coach this team member individually in areas that need improvement. Individual attention and feedback from you, as the leader, is likely to increase engagement and reduce the spread of negativity within your team.
3. Outline Opportunities for Your Team to Be Involved
Does your business have committees for community service, employee engagement, training, or party planning? Encourage everyone in your hybrid workforce to get involved in these groups, even if they’re remote. Feeling connected to the company’s mission and values will help overall engagement.
4. Prioritize Fun
The power of fun in your team and in your organization overall is undeniable. A fun company culture helps you attract, develop, and retain talent. With a hybrid workforce, however, you have to get a little more creative.
You can play games virtually that don’t require team members to be physically in the same room, like trivia games or scavenger hunts. You can also have contests to encourage friendly competition, like who has the funniest background for your video calls or who shows up in the wackiest outfit each Friday. Getting a little competition going with a performance leaderboard and prizes can up the fun factor as well.
The sky’s the limit. And don’t worry about the fun becoming a distraction. Fun is an important part of hybrid workforce team building and can actually boost your team’s productivity.
5. Hold Your Team Accountable
One way to keep your team connected to you and to each other is by holding them accountable for their progress at work. This can be through meetings or virtual task boards, or you can pair your team members up in a buddy system so they can work together on projects and encourage each other.
6. Get Your Team’s Input
Find out what ideas your team members have for staying connected. Employees feel valued when they have opportunities to give meaningful input. Whether they’re remote or in the office, everyone has a different perspective. Crowdsourcing ideas is a powerful tool because it shows your team that their voice matters.
Make your employees comfortable sharing their thoughts by asking for their suggestions in multiple ways, including during one-on-one meetings or group brainstorming sessions. Show your employees that you’re truly listening to their ideas and demonstrate your plans for implementing the ones you choose.
7. Recognize Employees’ Work and Engagement
Everyone likes to be recognized for their hard work, so come up with regular ways to show your hybrid workforce how much you appreciate what they bring to the table.
It isn’t always easy to celebrate over email or video calls, so adding digital recognition to your bag of tricks is key. Bring attention to employee achievements with digital badges and create sticky posts in your collaboration tools that call out great work and let teammates chime in to congratulate those being recognized.
Keeping Workforce Engagement High
As a contact center manager, keeping your team engaged should be a top priority. With weak connections among your hybrid contact center team, you risk severe drops in productivity, employee satisfaction, and key KPIs that are important to your company’s success.
But with these best practices in mind, you’ll find yourself with a happier, more engaged hybrid workforce — no matter where they’re working from.
Struggling to keep your hybrid team connected? Our recorded webinar, Work From Home: 10 Lessons to Elevate Remote Agent Experiences, shares 10 key tips for keeping your team engaged.