Give Staff Opportunities to Make an Impact through Their Work
By Peter Lyle DeHaan, Ph.D.
We’ve been considering five strategies to retain call center staff. The first four are through agent compensation, agent benefits, learning situations, and growth potential. Now we’ll address the fifth one. It’s showing staff how they can make a difference in their work and through their work. Today’s employees, especially Millennials and even more so Gen-Z, want employment where they can make a difference by having a positive influence through their jobs and their work.
Through Each Call
Starting at training, and reinforced on a regular basis, help employees see how each call they take makes a difference. This difference can positively impact both the caller and the person, department, or recipient of the transaction or information. This way they’ll have dozens or even hundreds of opportunities each day to make the world a little bit better. Over the course of a year that’s thousands or tens of thousands of small but meaningful positive interactions to help impact their world in a positive way.
In the Work Environment
Beyond each call, provide opportunities for employees to help make their workplace better. This can include serving on an ad hoc committee, assigning them additional tasks that add value, and taking on special assignments to improve their work environment and better serve callers. Even more beneficial is when they can work together as a team when making a difference.
Offer Volunteer Opportunities
Some progressive companies include paid time for employees to volunteer at their favorite nonprofit. When doing so, they perceive their employer as supporting the causes that they support. They value their work more because of this.
Though it may not be feasible for a medical call center to offer this benefit to every entry-level employee, this paid volunteer time could be a perk for senior operators and those who advance in the company.
And even if you’re reluctant to provide paid time for staff to do this, you can still support their favorite nonprofit in other ways. This could be as simple as offering them free voicemail service to help facilitate their favorite organizations’ communication.
Provide Matching Donations
Other forward-thinking businesses will match employee donations, usually dollar for dollar, to nonprofit organizations. Usually they place a cap on total matching funds, but this may be an unneeded precaution.
But if you’re just starting this program, having a donation cap may be an easy way to test its effectiveness and limit financial risk. You can always remove or increase the cap later. Some companies have a list of acceptable recipients for matching donations, but this could irritate employees and cause them to resent the company’s generosity and not appreciate it.
The key is to join your employees in supporting what they support. And when you do, they’ll be more supportive of you.
Today’s employees want a job that does more than provide income. They want work that helps them make a difference in their community and their world. Give them these opportunities, and they’ll give you their dedication.
Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is the publisher and editor-in-chief of AnswerStat. He’s a passionate wordsmith whose goal is to change the world one word at a time.