May was Mental Health Awareness Month in the US. And, in workplaces across the country, events and initiatives took place to inspire important conversations.
Some businesses opened spaces for people to share their mental health stories – if they want to. Others created virtual boards, encouraging employees to write something they are grateful for each day.
Then, there were various campaigns designed to engage teams, customers, and followers with the event.
Here is an excellent example from LL.Bean, which wiped its Instagram account to motivate people to go outside.
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All of these ideas are excellent. But, creating positive mental health and well-being in any workplace is about much more than short-term campaigns, events, and initiatives.
Everything Is Connected
Positive mental health in the workplace is intrinsically connected with team communication, engagement, leadership styles, work-life balance, schedule flexibility, staff behaviors, workloads, management expectations, job clarity, trust, experience, and the surrounding environment.
Moreover, with every intention and action, leaders and colleagues influence the contact center team’s mental health and well-being.
As such, while various mental health activities have their place, managers must not lose sight of what makes the most difference in how people feel.
The Next Step
To positively influence the day-to-day actions and intentions of the entire service operation, the contact center can create a vision.
By building this out and connecting agents to it, contact center leaders can articulate just how integral they are to the business’s success.
Such a strategy fills agents with a sense of purpose, which inspires them to give a little more and provides a reason to come to work that is not only monetary.
That is more powerful to improve mental health than any bite-sized initiative.
A “Brand Guardian” Vision
One powerful vision for the future contact center is to become a “brand guardian,” the place that makes or breaks customer loyalty.
“As consumer expectations rise and economies tighten, we firmly believe frontline agents are imperative to brand reputation and revenue.”
By building out this narrative, leaders can help agents feel like superheroes committed to saving customer relationships.
Don’t parrot facts and stats for this alone; become a storyteller. Use emotional language to spark emotions and make it mean something to agents.
In doing so, contact centers give agents a sense of purpose, which drives meaning and energy into their work.
Going to the Next Level
A vision is not enough on its own to perpetually drive meaning and energy into an agent’s work.
Pairing it with a clear-cut workforce engagement management (WEM) strategy is critical to refill the purpose that stimulates teams.
Such a strategy will ideally cover the following six bases:
- Praise & Recognition – Continually recognizing agents for their excellent work that saves a customer’s business helps reengage them with the vision and replenish their desire to perform at their best. The tricky part is spotting this “excellent work” unless the contact center can unlock real-time performance insights…
- Performance Insights – Quality management tools that automatically score 100 percent of agent conversations and pull-out real-time performance insights enable praise & recognition. Yet, they also track peaks and troughs in performance across the agent population. Unearthing the root causes is highly beneficial in levelling up service experiences.
- Performance Coaching – With performance insights, contact centers can unpack agent learning opportunities and offer targeted performance coaching. Quality analysts may also track its impact to ensure the coaching delivers the expected results.
- Flexible Scheduling – Flexibility involves initiatives such as giving agents the opportunity to add work hours on scheduled and unscheduled days, move their lunch, and swap shifts. Self-scheduling apps help with all this and more.
- Intraday Optimization – Ensuring occupancy rates do not exceed the 85-90 percent mark and put excessive pressure on teams is critical to avoid overwhelming agents. But, it is not only occupancy that planners must manage in real-time. Many other metrics require attention. This is where innovations – such as Grant the Virtual Assistant – drive value.
- Regular Breaks – A 2023 study by the CCMA shows the highest ranking of 21 factors that impact agent well-being is: “It’s getting harder to take breaks when needed.” A WEM strategy that uses quality assurance data to unearth when agent performance dips and plots targeted breaks in line with this safeguards well-being and maximizes agent performance.
After building out such a strategy, service leaders can begin to take their brand guardian vision beyond the confines of the service operation. This will help build positive perceptions of the role contact centers play in customer experience.
In time, this may result in better funding and relationships with the broader business.
Learn More About Contact Center Mental Health
Calabrio has developed “Power Up: The Brand Guardian Game”, which shares many more insights into how contact centers can enhance mental health and well-being.
Yet, the game offers more than just a learning opportunity. Those who reach over 250 points and complete a short form will join a monthly draw for a pair of Apple AirPods.