R ight now, most organizations are enjoying tremendous benefits from their workforce. Productivity is soaring for many companies that have embraced a hybrid workforce. Several have adopted fully remote work options. This allows remote and hybrid employers to discover numerous efficiencies in both operations and strategy.
This is great news for organizations and management, but increased productivity will hit a wall if employees aren’t engaged. Experts warn that such productivity is not sustainable if new, innovative, and authentic post-COVID engagement strategies are not implemented. In order to improve retention, you’ve got to improve employee engagement. Not only will it help diminish turnover, but can help recruit, hire, and develop new and existing talent. Additionally, increased emphasis on improving employee engagement may help retain top remote talent and lessen the impact the challenges of remote work. Remote workers hope for increased interaction with colleagues to lessen isolation and more directed communications with their supervisors to meet corporate expectations. Remote employers, similarily, hope to energize and maintain relationships with their remote workers. Maximizing employee engagement is also vital to the sustainment of employee happiness, morale, and growth. Factors like management, technology, equipment, training, as well as coworker relationships directly influence and can serve to maximize employee engagement.
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2022 Employee engagement trends for remote workforce
The importance of engaging the remote workforce can not be overstated. Recent research by Pura and Hagai of the National Sun Yat-sen University, proffers that remote gamification may serve as a tool for engaging remote workers and keeping them motivated in the absence of an in-person supervisior who routinely checks in on them and reviews their work . Gaming techniques may also keep remote workers stimulated by maintaining a sense of competitiveness between colleagues and co-workers. Further, gaming strategies allows supervisors of remote workers to quickly track visually remote worker performance without worrying about elaborate and potentially intrusive monitoring systems.
Based upon the findings from the research, gamification was perceived positively by remote work participants. It is with these findings that the two researchers concluded that hybrid and remote employers might use gamification to leverage employee motivation and employee engagement.
Before we discuss further, the concept of gamification, what is it? Gamification as applied in the human resources realm is a concept that uses specific features of gaming to increase employee motivation. These features include: leaderboards, badges, and points.
Gamification used for increasing remote employee engagement
When it comes to maximizing employee engagement, there’s no better place to start than employee gamification for contact centers. Not only do you reduce onboarding time dramatically, but you automatically build in rewards and recognition. Real-time feedback on employee gamification also empowers agents both internally and externally through visibility of their gamification metrics. The best agents are notoriously aware of their own performance and their success. Employee gamification can take a multitude of forms in the contact center and can be as simple as creating a leaderboard for your top performers, or as advanced as simulations and augmented reality platforms. It’s important to remember that gamification needs to integrate the elements of fun, competition, tracking, and learning in order to correlate with improved employee performance.
Gartner reports gamification has now been adopted by more than 70% of businesses belonging to the Forbes global 2000 list of companies. This trend will continue to grow as more organizations gamify their business operations.
Gamification use cases for remote workers
The challenge with incorporating employee gamification into your contact center is embedding your company culture and your values into the employee gamification strategy. A gamification strategy must demonstrate that it operates both in the interests of the employees and in the interests of the organization.
Check out these gamification use cases and additional employee engagement strategies that can make an immediate impact on business outcomes:
Foster a Connection with Teammates, Customers, and the Business
Organizations can move quickly. In the last two years, many companies are light-years from where they thought they would be. When strategies pivot, there may be employees that feel their work goes unnoticed. Taking time to acknowledge work done and accomplished keeps your employees motivated and engaged, which promotes productivity. Group and individual recognition are always a challenge but done correctly, it can help build trust among teams and reinforce the company culture and structure, thereby maximizing employee engagement and enrollment. Employee acknowledgment and engagement post-COVID can be tricky, as many organizations are now hybrid workforces and will likely remain that way; but you don’t have to throw a party or plan a day at a theme park to show your appreciation. Employee gamification is a great way to help develop group dynamics and harness the power of your teams. In fact, according to career experts Zippia, a whopping 95% of employees prefer a gamified work experience.
By setting clear and concise goals for your teams through gamification, you have an easy stop/start point at which to pause. Avoid the desire to maintain momentum by pushing past those goals without acknowledgment, as some employees will feel this becomes a moving target. Gamification strategies applied thoughtfully can facilitate those goals by allowing a natural ebb and flow of competition; thereby helping to maximize employee engagement.
Leverage Gamification for Increased Visibility
Empowering call center agents both internally and externally starts with visibility. Employees who understand and subscribe to a shared purpose and vision typically perform better. As our call center dynamics shift with reorgs, offsite and hybrid teams, and new talent pools, management must continue to search for new opportunities to increase visibility both on a team and an individual level.
Gamification in the call center can reward a team with increased responsibility or provide the opportunity to demonstrate mastery of a skill or challenge. Teams with increased visibility provide managers with insight and application of knowledge that would be otherwise hidden. Observation of inter-team dynamics can often give you the most complete picture of an employee and a team’s overall health and resiliency. Team members in need of further development can contribute under the guidance of senior agents while the team learns to trust the process and each other.
Keep People Engaged from Go with Gamification
Talk about onboarding! The process of onboarding has completely been revamped and rethought thanks to gamification. Employee gamification has afforded call centers (and other industries) the unique opportunity to streamline the process while giving new hires the opportunity to hit the ground running. We can now expect and prepare new talent for on-the-job training as soon as they’re cleared from HR.
And then there’s turnover. Teams without senior leadership, struggle with competency, proficiency, process, and quality control. Tribal knowledge is not ideal but it sometimes provides a springboard for knowledge and employee experience. Engagement is the enemy of churn. Gamification prioritizes employee engagement from the start. Imagine being able to easily introduce the technology, terminology, and expectations from day 1. By applying gamification strategies and company culture at the start, companies can demonstrate an investment in employees’ futures and overall experience.
The commitment to an enhanced, engaged, employee experience is not to be underestimated. In order to continue to attract and retain new and developing talent in an ever-changing call center industry, you’ll need to engage your employees and show them what it means to be a part of your organization. By maximizing the employee experience with engagement strategies such as gamification, the more you can encourage them to stay with your organization longer.
About the Author:
Courtney Cox is a Senior Product Marketing Manager at Alvaria, with 5+ years of experience in the Call Center Software industry. Her expertise lies in understanding the magic of a product, the customer, and how to connect the two. By applying her industry knowledge, she enjoys sharing her takeaways and experiences with readers.