The holiday season is upon us once more. It’s a time for giving and showing appreciation, making it an ideal time to show your employees some love for all that they bring to your company. Without the dedicated staff manning your call center, business wouldn’t be what it is today.
According to McKinsey & Company, engaged and satisfied call-center employees are:
- 8.5x more likely to stay than leave within a year.
- 4x more likely to stay than dissatisfied colleagues.
- 16x more likely to refer friends to their company.
- 3.3x more likely to feel extremely empowered to resolve customer issues.
It is clear that agents who feel appreciated and empowered are a natural lead-in to better customer service and interactions, but how do you show appreciation in a way that is meaningful to them? How do spread the love when your team is fully remote? Better yet, how do you do so without going over budget?
Luckily, there are tried and true methods for expressing your gratitude to all those working within your organization, even if you are short on time. If you aren’t sure where to begin, we've got you covered with these nine simple ways to show your employees some love this holiday season.
1. Everyone loves free food
When in doubt, go with food. A free meal is always appreciated and it is one of the easier options to execute. Everything from a pizza lunch to a virtual coffee certificate is fair game, so choose an option that works best for your call center staff.
If your staff is still operating within a brick-and-mortar space, coordinate a staff lunch or dinner. If you staff is remote, give them a credit towards a food delivery service or send them a digital certificate towards coffee or a meal.
Just be sure to plan for those with certain dietary restrictions, such as vegetarians, vegans, those avoiding gluten, and other common preferences. While you might not be able to choose everyone’s favorite meal, putting in the effort to include options for as many employees as possible shows just how much they all mean to you.
2. Public recognition
With the year’s end on the horizon, it is a great time for a recognition event, whether that be in the office, in a Slack channel, or through a virtual meeting space such as Zoom. You can address all of your employees collectively, expressing your gratitude for all they do, and even offer specific awards for each employee.
As always, you should recognize major milestones, such as anniversaries with the company, or notable achievements but taking time during the holidays to recognize both small and large achievements helps agents feel even more appreciated.
Creating opportunities for public appreciation serves both to reward and to boost morale.
3. Time off
Depending on your minimum manning requirements, providing an unexpected day off with pay to every employee this time of year is sure to be appreciated.
While you may need to create guidelines regarding the use of the time, as you likely can’t have everyone taking the same day off, try to offer as much flexibility as business operations can tolerate. If an entire day is not feasible due to busy holiday shifts, offering extended lunches or half days can make a world of a difference.
4. Improve the breakroom
Most call centers have a breakroom for their employees. It may serve as a simple place to get a cup of coffee and refrigerate lunches or it might even include seating and other amenities. If the breakroom hasn’t seen an upgrade in a while, consider making an investment. A few small adjustments include:
- Trade in the old coffee pot for a Keurig so that employees can brew their favorite beverages with ease.
- Make it festive and decorate according to the season. Buy the decorations and offer to have a decorating party for any agents that want to join in.
- Get new furniture that offers a more comfortable environment.
Consider how you can improve the space to replicate the feeling of a retreat and not just a room where people store their food or quickly eat before heading back to work.
If your customer service team is remote, there are still plenty of ways to create virtual spaces for them to congregate with one another (and it may even be more necessary than if they were in person). In Slack's recent study, Future of Work Study, they concluded that nearly all employees (91%) want a closer relationship with their in-office coworkers, and 85% wish they could connect more with remote colleagues.
Start by looking into virtual breakrooms. Create a few different slack channels for agents to join in and converse with one another, such as specific channels dedicated to television shows, recipes, or gaming. Looking for more than just channels to connect your remote agents? Try the different apps that Slack offers to promote connection between employees.
5. Upgrade the holiday party
The office holiday party isn’t always the most exciting event. But a few creative additions can elevate it to new heights:
- Consider bringing in some fun entertainment options, like a karaoke machine or a video game console with motion tracking capabilities (Guitar hero, anyone?).
- Have door prizes.
- Coordinate a gift exchange. (This can be done easily remote through online wishlists and shipping straight to someone's door!)
- Do fun team building games.
- Send every agent their favorite beverage and meet up for a virtual holiday party.
Give everyone the chance to leave work at the door and truly kick back for some quality fun time and see if employees don’t feel the love.
6. Money talks
If finances allow, cash bonuses are often appreciated. It provides employees with unexpected income that may be greatly appreciated during what can be an expensive time of year. This also allows employees to use the funds however they see fit which can provide extra value as they can act based on their priorities.
Gift cards to useful locations, like local grocery stores or certain online retailers, can also work well. Restaurant gift certificates can also be appropriate as long as the food options available are fairly broad and can meet the needs of those with dietary restrictions.
7. Personalized ‘Thank You’ notes
Sometimes, the easiest way to show your employees some love is to simply say thank you.
Even if you purchase holiday cards in bulk, include a personalized, handwritten note to every employee. Try to mention something specific about their work, like a major accomplishment or project success. If your company is large, feel free to delegate the tasks to more direct managers and supervisors.
If being environmentally conscious is important to your company, try looking into digital card services. Want to take it a step further? Choose a charity to donate to, donate on their behalf, and mention it in the card.
8. Small gifts
Smaller call centers can choose small gifts for their employees. Since the work environment is more intimate, you may have had the opportunity to get to know your employees on a more personal level. If that is the case, feel free to purchase work-appropriate gifts that are selected specifically for them.
Some budget-friendly gift ideas include:
- Holiday chocolate or their favorite candy
- Cute warm socks
- A delicious smelling candle
- A book from their reading list
The best part? All of these things can be ordered online and sent straight to your agents' homes.
Looking to avoid individualized gifts? No worries! Send your employees some company merch or swag. A fun idea could be creating a holiday-specific item that you give to your employees at the end of the year. It makes it special and could create a fun tradition.
9. Health and wellness
With the stress of daily customer interactions and stress from the holiday season, it is important that you prioritize the health and wellbeing of your agents.
If your staff is going into the office, there are a number of different ways to help them unwind as a way to show some extra love this holiday season. Consider hiring a massage therapist to treat everyone to a 15 minute chair massage over the course of a day or more, depending on the size of your organization. Coordinate a scheduling mechanism for employees to use, and encourage supervisors to accommodate these appointments as a workplace benefit.
Yoga is another great way to de-stress and can be offered at a beginners level to accommodate every agent. If your agents are remote, you can offer virtual yoga sessions every week or every month.
If yoga is a little too much movement, meditating is a great practice to help employees unwind. Offer to pay for them to use the HeadSpace app to meditate and work on their mental wellness. When Aetna rolled out a mindfulness program, they saw a 62-minute per week gain in productivity, valued at $3,000 a year per employee.
Don’t stop there
You don’t have to wait until the holidays to show your employees some love.
Schedule regular recognition events, seasonal parties, or “just because” occasions to help employees feel appreciated all year-round. Happy employees are more productive, so make an effort with your call center workers and experience the benefits that only higher morale can provide.
What are your favorite ways to show your customer service agents love during the holiday season?