Michelle Dinsmore  |  March 31, 2017  | 

What is Workforce Engagement Management? - The 2017 beginner's guide

Workforce Engagement Management has become one of the hottest topics on the agenda for contact centres seeking to deliver a superior customer experience (CX).

It is now being championed by industry experts such as Shep Hyken and Adrian Swinscoe, as the means by which contact centres can dramatically improve CX and develop a sustainable competitive advantage.

However, it is still a relatively new concept within our industry. So in order to help you navigate the ins and outs of Workforce Engagement Management, we have compiled the 2017 beginner's guide, which covers the following key areas:

  1. What is Workforce Engagement Management?

  2. Why contact centres are transitioning from Workforce Optimisation to Workforce Engagement management.

  3. How Workforce Engagement Management helps motivate employees and improve productivity.

  4. The evidence that supports the need to adopt Workforce Engagement Management.

  5. The main features to look for in a Workforce Engagement Management platform.

  6. Questions to ask yourself before investing in a Workforce Engagement Management platform.

1. What is Workforce Engagement Management?

Workforce Engagement Management can be defined as the science of creating the workplace conditions so that employees can give their best each day; committed to their organisation’s goals & values, motivated to contribute to organisational success, and enjoy an enhanced sense of well-being.

In the context of the 21st-century contact centre it revolves around the introduction of the very latest operational and motivational tools that nurture a new generation of agent; engaged, informed, enthused and as a result capable of delivering a first-class customer experience.

2. Why contact centres are transitioning from Workforce Optimisation to Workforce Engagement Management.

Historically, contact centres have taken a customer first approach to service, relying far too heavily on Workforce Optimisation and performance metrics to drive agent and operational efficiency.

The result is a continual stream of numbers and targets raining down on agents every day of their working lives. By treating them like robots, it has led to a robot-like mentality and the current unsupportable levels of workforce disengagement.

Today, most contact centre operating systems are built entirely around these performance metrics supported by carrot and stick motivational tools. This may have worked in the past, but for today’s growing requirement for a fully engaged and motivated workforce, this approach no longer works.

But contact centres across the world are now having to address a multitude of challenges unprecedented in the 50-year history of the industry.

Plagued by mounting costs, employee churn, absenteeism and the pressure of delivering improved levels of customer experience; many of the problems can be directly attributed to the industry’s dismal record when it comes to managing the many thousands of employees who work on the frontline of customer service (CX).

With agent disengagement now at epidemic levels and impacting the ability to deliver a first rate CX, it is now an inescapable requirement that contact centres introduce management and motivational tools that can nurture a new generation of employee; engaged, informed, and enthused.

Furthermore, societal shifts indicate that future generations, (led by Millennials), will have a huge effect on the way contact centres operate, and how they need to treat their workforce over the coming years.

The uncomfortable truth is that Workforce Optimisation is failing. Contact centres must move with the times if they are to confront the problem of agent disengagement and falling CX standards.

This where Workforce Engagement Management comes to the fore.

3. How Workforce Engagement Management helps motivate employees and improve productivity.

While Workforce Optimisation will always have its place, Workforce Engagement Management is the natural evolutionary step, whereby the needs of employees are placed at the centre of a new model.

Engagement isn’t just about keeping people focused on their day-to-day workload. 21st-century engagement is a sense of organisational connection and relevance, it’s an understanding of purpose, of contribution and the opportunity to learn and progress.

When implemented correctly, it will cover the entire lifecycle of the employee; from recruitment to onboarding, coaching to e-learning, team communications to interactions, task assignments to performance targets, gamification to acknowledgment & reward.

In return, organisations will see a dramatic increase in the motivation and aspirations of the workforce, which will lead directly to improvements across virtually every area of organisational performance and functionality.

Workforce Engagement Management is fast becoming an imperative for the future health, prosperity and even the very survival of many contact centres.

4. The evidence that supports the need to adopt Workforce Engagement Management.

While many organisations within the sector are still skeptical of the impact that Workforce Engagement Management will have, it is being promoted by some of the most respected analyst groups in the business world including: Gartner, Forbes, Xerox, Gallup, AON Hewitt and Accenture.

The proof that it proactively improves contact centre productivity and profitability are highlighted in the following key statistics:

"Departments above the top quartile in employee engagement, outperformed departments below the bottom quartile by 10% on customer ratings, 22% in profitability and 21% in productivity."

- Gallup

"By 2020, elevating employee engagement will become a key differentiator in over 20% of contact centres, up from less than 2% in 2015."

- Gartner

"Global employee engagement trends report based on over 1,000 organisations around the world and reiterated its prior claim that a 5% increase in employee engagement is linked to a 3% increase in revenue growth."

- AON Hewit

The key drivers behind these eye-opening statistics is quite simply down to a return of focus back to the very human and personal needs of people, without whom the contact centre simply could not function.

5. The main features to look for in a Workforce Engagement Management platform.

Every organisation is different and comes with its own unique set of circumstances and goals. Even so, there are a number of important factors that every organisation should look for in a Workforce Engagement Management platform.

While technology is without doubt a very powerful enabler, the key is quite simple: it should provide your people with all the tools they need to do their job effectively and efficiently.

In order to achieve the very tangible benefits that come with its successful implementation, any Workforce Engagement Management platform worth considering should offer, (or demonstrate awareness of), the following features:

  • Quality monitoring
  • Coaching
  • Surveys
  • Gamification
  • CX Insight
  • Performance Management
  • Workforce Management
  • Team Communications
  • e-Learning
  • Knowledge Management
  • Business Data
  • Voice of the employee
  • First-Contact Resolution

6. Questions to ask yourself before investing in a Workforce Engagement Management platform.

Implementing a Workforce Engagement Management platform requires time and resources. So before going any further, we recommend taking the time to ask yourself the following key questions in order to ensure your organisation is fully prepared:

  • Have I identified the main KPIs, (try to identify between 3-5), that I need in order to measure the success of the project?
  • Do I already have (or can I purchase) the capability to access internal data relevant to my chosen KPIs on a daily basis?
  • Is my management team committed to the concept of Workforce Engagement Management and willing to adapt to the cultural change it will bring?
  • Am I prepared to include everyone (starting with agents) in the review, to ensure that all parties participate from the onset in order to maximise its chances of success?
  • Does the preferred vendor actively demonstrate that they will support the implementation of their platform and help me deliver a successful project?

CX and the Fourth Industrial Revolution

A manifesto for implementing Workforce Engagement Management to meet the challenges faced by the 21st-century contact centre.


Michelle Dinsmore

Michelle Dinsmore

Client Director

Michelle has an unwavering passion for helping call centres place the customer at the heart of their business. Using insights from almost two decades in customer experience direction and operations management, Michelle creates and nurtures meaningful relationships with our customers, ensuring EvaluAgent never fails to deliver what they need.

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