Call Centers spend huge amounts of time and resources researching, hiring and training their agents, only to have them take off in a matter of months. It's a frustrating and expensive result that ultimately impacts the companies success. But really, it's all about where you put your attention. It seems that today, most businesses haven't dedicated enough emphasis in meaning.
Someone who gets it.
Author and motivational speaker Chip Conley started his own hospitality company, Joie de Vivre (JDV), and, as CEO for two-dozen years, grew it into the second largest boutique hotel and California's largest independent hotel company.
How did he do it?
“Life and business is all about where you pay your attention, and most businesses neglect the fact that we are all humans.”-Chip Conley
With a different outlook in leading and guiding his workforce than most leaders, Chip wanted to get a better understanding of his Employee needs and attitudes. To get started, Chip studied the renowned psychologist Abraham H. Maslow famous theory: The Hierarchy of Needs pyramid.
According to his theory, our basic needs sit at the bottom of the pyramid and our deepest motivations sit at the top. Without meeting the basics, we will be unable to grow, progress up the pyramid and truly transform ourselves. By using Maslow's theory, Chip created Employee best practice models that are known as three layered Employee Transformation Pyramids.
As Employees make a transition up the pyramids, their expected rewards and relationships transform. The bottom layer of the pyramid motivates us with the bare basics. We need the job's safety and security to provide us with a means to survive. When this level has been satisfied, we start to think of the Job as more as of a career and desire success. We expect more recognition, belonging and esteem. When achieving this level, the Employee views the career as a calling. Fueled by their internal motivation, they are inspired by what they do by engaging themselves in work that they’re passionate about, satisfying the Hierarchy of Needs.
It's all about where you pay your attention
What's most important about Chip's pyramid is how it connects with the higher needs of employees and customers. But there's a catch. As you move higher up the pyramid, the more abstract and difficult it gets to maintain them. The difficulty of understanding and implementing successful and meaningful strategies is why managers tend to manage from just the bottom as it’s easier for them to “manage what they can measure,” than to try to measure meaning.
Can't buy me love
A point that is consistent in every call center is that only the top percentile of workers are motivated. The question Call Centers must deal with is: What about the larger, bottom percent of the workforce? Many centers attempt to buy happiness with reward or recognition programs. If they don't win employee involvement on either a rational or emotional level, the reward doesn't get attention. Many become unmotivated because they see a weak relationship between their effort and the rewards they receive.
What most people want from their supervisors and managers is like a kid from their parents. Clear and consistent expectations, cares and supports their growth and development. Giving true, valuable recognition satisfies higher needs and allows Employees to progress towards self-recognition. In Centers where there could be hundreds or thousands of Agents, it's easy to feel they are just another clucking headset at a desk.
What's the answer Call Centers???
Ultimately, Centers must dissect the anonymity and strategize a human connection or there will continue to be rampant, frustrating attrition. Even with all the technological advances, Centers have been facing an uphill battle spending their resources to find a fix. What type of technology helps understand the workforce, provide recognition, meaning and ultimately Employee satisfaction? For starts, it must be something that is invested IN people FOR people and won't cause them to get stuck in a place of survival. In short, it engage them to work differently in Call Centers.
Next up...what does this look like?