Focus on the Firsts: Humanizing the Employee Experience

The following post is a guest blog written by Steve Muise, VP of Employee Experience at global contact center outsourcing company 24-7 Intouch. For more information about 24-7 Intouch visit their website

To hear more about this topic, join us at Customer Response Summit Seattle, where 24-7 Intouch and our other Idea Lab sponsors, will be sharing their leading ideas on how to improve the overall customer experience, for the connected consumer. 

Psychology and Culture

Monitoring contact center retention and fostering well-performing agents is an ongoing battle companies face. Incentives, social activities and coaching sessions drive performance and help identify stars. The ideal is to develop these individuals, help them grow into Team Leaders and future Managers of your existing teams. This cycle continues with new agents joining your team, while existing ones grow or eventually depart.

The concept seems easy enough. Meeting KPI’s is always important, but focusing on motivators and the employee experience is where you’ll make the difference. Insert “Culture”. Yes, a term that’s cliché and not directly tied to your retention or performance numbers. That said, let’s forget about those metrics right now and look at it from another perspective.

We’re attacking the root of the issue here and focusing on the psychology of employees. What small gestures do we appreciate? What defines ‘professionalism’ in the contact center? How does recognition impact us?

Revisiting theories developed by psychologists Frederick Herzberg and Abraham Maslow, the Two-Factor Theory and Hierarchy of Needs, reminds us to meet peoples’ basic levels of needs to keep them engaged. Shift to humanizing your employees’ experiences, get them psychologically engaged and slowly create a culture that builds confidence to succeed, learn, and grow.






The Sports Comparison

Going on a tangent for a moment, if we make some parallels here to professional sports we can draw some similarities to our own companies. Right now the NFL, NHL and NBA are in their offseason, trying to retool to win a championship for the upcoming season. There are some teams actively pursuing Free Agents to join theirs. Attracting players requires teams to sell their organization, atmosphere, team environment, etc.

In this world, first impressions matter. First meetings with ownership. First tour of the team facilities. First meetings with potential teammates. First conversations with the local media. Once joining a team, it continues. First practice with the team. First win as a team. First loss as a team. First bad performance on a new team. First individual triumph.

One thing all dynasty championship teams have in common, regardless of the sport, is a winning system and culture. Players within those systems understand their roles and continually experience positive impressions throughout their time with the team. It’s something you can’t measure, but an obvious trait you see in the New England Patriots, Chicago Blackhawks, San Antonio Spurs, etc.

First Impressions in Recruiting and Onboarding

Attracting great talent in the contact center and keeping them is similar to the sports analogy. To new employees and candidates, first impressions will impact whether they feel confident in winning with your company. Winning in the sense of being supported, learning, growing, and ultimately succeeding.

The smallest details impact the first impressions that are made. The idea is to hit the ground running with positive sentiment. The earlier you do this, the better rapport you can build. From an influential position, it’s easier to create brand ambassadors. As time passes, they’re more inclined to view you from a favourable perspective that highlights great moments and disregards the rest.

Stripping it down to the most basic form, below is an initial baseline of areas companies should consider when recruiting and onboarding team members. They’re obvious, but easily overlooked.

This same framework should be incorporated as you begin promoting your stars. It’s true that there’s always a first for everything. Continue to build on confidence and lasting first impressions, as your stars become leaders and important pieces to your championship team.


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