The Future Of Workforce Engagement: How To Integrate AI future of workforce engagement

The Future Of Workforce Engagement: How To Integrate AI

The term “buyer’s market” is best known for describing the state of the real estate market, but it’s also applicable to contact centers. In a buyer’s market, customers have choices and can take their business elsewhere should they receive less-than-optimal products, service, and support. Likewise for agents, if they don’t feel engaged, appreciated, or see a growth path, they too can take their talent to another organization.

In a buyer’s market, what is the future of workforce engagement? How do you keep your best employees engaged, motivated, and empowered? Attract new talent? One way to tackle the challenge is to integrate artificial intelligence (AI) into your workforce engagement strategy.

What is Workforce Engagement?

Workforce engagement is a business concept that describes the level of enthusiasm and dedication workers have toward their jobs. Generally, engaged workers care about their performance and the performance of the company and feel that their efforts make a positive impact on customers.

A related term, workforce engagement management (WEM), recently coined by Gartner, has rapidly become the business strategy, processes, and related technologies of choice. WEM solutions combine several elements – including quality management (QM) and workforce management (WFM) – that allow contact centers to go beyond decreasing operating costs to elevating and empowering agents with tools to schedule, evaluate, motivate, recognize, and reward your workforce at scale.

Why Workforce Engagement Matters to Business?

Every day employees make decisions and take actions that directly affect your workforce and business. For example, if employers and employees support and respect one another, it can create a positive chain reaction which ultimately can lead to the delivery of outstanding customer experience (CX). Conversely, if employees don’t feel engaged, appreciated, and respected, your organization – and customers – can be at risk. Workforce engagement positively or negatively impacts profitability, revenue, customer experience, employee turnover, and much more.

Based on decades of employee engagement research, Gallup found that engaged employees produce better business outcomes than other employees – across industry, company size, and nationality, and in good economic times and bad.

But only 23% of employees worldwide and 32% in the U.S. fall into the “engaged” category.

It’s easy to see why workforce engagement matters. What’s not as easy is figuring out how to supersize your workforce engagement strategies.

The Future Of Workforce Engagement: How To Integrate AI future of workforce engagement

Workforce Engagement Trends

You’ve read the articles and seen the headlines. The global pandemic heralded in a new era of workforce preferences and trends, and many contact centers are rising to the occasion to incorporate best practices into their workplace:

  • Support remote, hybrid, and flexible work arrangements
  • Create an employee-first workplace culture
  • Embrace work-life balance
  • Recognize and reward high-performing agents
  • Prioritize diversity and inclusion in the workplace
  • Empower agents to act as brand ambassadors
  • Offer interesting and challenging work
  • Provide upskilling and training opportunities
  • Leverage AI and machine learning to improve aspects of agent management and engagement

As contact centers compete to not only deliver outstanding CX but also to attract, engage, and retain agents, how does your customer service organization stack up? Do you have the right strategies, processes, and tools in place to make your agents high performing and motivated to create an engaged workforce?

The Future of Workforce Engagement: AI is the New Black

Generative AI and machine learning provide companies with the ability to analyze vast amounts of data and generate insights, allowing them to make data-driven decisions that align with their strategic objectives. Implemented correctly, AI allows companies to adapt and thrive in an increasingly competitive business landscape, maximizing productivity and driving growth.

AI is an Investment in Workforce Engagement

When you think about the future of workforce engagement that leverages AI, most of us think about the productivity and cost-saving opportunities. By automating mundane and repetitive tasks (think updating the same records and sending the same emails over and over), employees can focus on more strategic and value-added work, boosting productivity and job satisfaction.

But it goes beyond enabling automation. AI-driven tools and platforms are shaping the way contact centers engage with and manage their workforce. From recognizing employees to making coaching easier, AI can help improve employee happiness, job satisfaction, and overall well-being, among many other benefits to significantly impact company culture and organizational success. 

WEM Solutions with AI for the Win

Customers are willing to pay higher prices for good experiences, and agents are a critical part of customer experience delivery. It’s no longer a “nice to have” but strategic to empower, develop, and retain agents to achieve measurable, positive impact on the business.

AI-infused WEM solutions get to the heart of human motivation – they unleash the human factor of agents that are empowered, happy, and working towards personal and team goals, transforming average contact centers into best-in-class performers. For agents, it means being more engaged with career goals, team members, and the business overall.

Modern WEM solutions for contact centers include support for:

  • Recruitment and onboarding
  • Evaluation and improvement
  • Time management
  • Assistance and task management
  • Metrics and recognition
  • Customer journey analytics

A WEM suite includes the core quality management (QM) and workforce management (WFM) modules. While many companies begin by deploying these solutions, this is only the beginning of the journey when it comes to employee engagement strategies.

To create a 360 performance loop, WFM and QM are best combined with additional modules for an integrated, comprehensive approach to support other key drivers of engagement that provide coaching, learning, motivation, KPI tracking, and employee feedback capabilities.

Benefits of AI in Workforce Engagement

AI and automation are powerful, essential tools that can be deployed to improve many areas of the contact center. Customers want you to use AI tools to serve them better. Your agents also win when AI-integrated workforce engagement management technology is employed because it creates a better employee experience (EX).

AI empowers companies to change the future of employee experience and engagement in new and innovative ways:

  1. Create personalized agent experiences tailored to individual needs
  2. Foster a culture of continuous learning and development
  3. Provide precision and efficiency in agents’ jobs and the overall business, helping employees feel more successful
  4. Increase agent and analyst productivity by reducing mundane, low-skill tasks
  5. Create opportunities for feedback and coaching to create a positive work culture
  6. Increase agent retention because their work has more meaning and purpose
  7. Boost customer satisfaction and enable a better customer experience

Five Tips to Integrate AI into Your Workforce Engagement Strategy

By integrating an AI-driven solution into your workforce engagement strategy, you can create a more positive work environment, leading to increased productivity and employee retention.

Here are some tips to get started.

Start with a Strategy 

It’s not enough for the contact center leadership team to say “We need AI.” Develop employee engagement goals, objectives, and metrics first to ensure the strategy maps to the organizational goals and business objectives. Identify areas for improvement, untapped opportunities, and potential challenges.

Seek Employee Input and Feedback

As you build a plan to leverage AI in your contact center, make sure to seek and incorporate agent feedback. Which tedious tasks could AI help eliminate or reduce? How can AI tools help agents resolve customers’ issues better and faster? AI solutions also provide automated coaching and feedback, to help agents improve faster and arm them with preventive action. Agents can self-review the coaching and immediately put into practice tactics for continuous improvement to create better customer outcomes.

Develop a Phased-in Approach 

Start small and consider where the greatest efficiencies may be gained through AI. Maybe it’s automating mundane tasks for agents? Or building self-service tools based on AI-driven insights to answer customers’ questions without involving an agent? This frees up their time for more complex and interesting interactions. The way workforce engagement management solutions generate results is by enabling incremental improvements in employee performance while also promoting longevity and professional growth in an organization.

Lead with Processes

Anytime you implement new technology, the automation or AI is only as good as your processes. Take this opportunity to refine existing processes and create new ones based on AI-powered tools. If you start with automating repetitive tasks, do you have the processes (and training) in place for agents to focus on more complex, customer-facing activities?

Communicate the Plan and Provide Training

Managers, agents, analysts, and others need to understand how a WEM solution helps them in their jobs in addition to the many benefits to the organization. Train them on the tools to maximize their engagement and benefits. Then, once you’ve gained efficiencies from AI, engage your agents further by providing upskilling and reskilling for continuous learning.

Measure Incremental Results and Look for Opportunities for Improvement

The benefits from AI and automation in workforce engagement don’t happen overnight. By putting in place the right metrics and looking for opportunities to improve WEM solutions, you’ll create a holistic approach to delivering outstanding employee engagement and experience – which we know leads to excellent customer experience.

The future of workforce engagement includes integrating AI into your strategy. Get started today by diving into our on-demand webinar: How to Infuse AI into QM: What You Need to Know.

The Future Of Workforce Engagement: How To Integrate AI future of workforce engagement
Chrissy Calabrese

Chrissy Calabrese is a Vice President of Product Marketing at Playvox. She is an accomplished thought leader and evangelist in the contact center and customer experience space. She is passionate about quality and analytics, focusing on how to ultimately drive better experiences for employees and customers. She has over twenty years of experience in the customer experience and workforce optimization market, across product marketing, product management, sales enablement, client services, customer experience, quality, compliance and program management. She resides outside of Philadelphia, has three children, and spends a lot of her personal time on a soccer field.

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