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Expecting employees to do the job they are paid to do is often a given but how often do you thank them or give them formal recognition? “Praise is one of the best ways to recognise staff performance” according to Head of Customer Support Services at Y Soft Corporation, Aleš Neveselý. Often the expectation on employees just to do their job is a big ask for them. Employees might be challenged to meet your minimum expectation through no fault of their own;

  • Lack of experience.
  • Poor training.
  • Misunderstanding or unawareness of company culture.
  • Ill performing technology.
  • Lack of direction or mentor-ship.
  • Given too many tasks.
  • Difficult customers.

So how do you acknowledge and reward staff performance? Here are 12 great ways to show employee performance appreciation but don’t just take our word for it, the below list was partially complied by global contact centre professionals.

1. Recognise Employee Performance and Personalise the Acknowledgement

Performance recognition/acknowledgement/praise whatever the terminology you use it’s a direct reflection on an the individual’s performance and thus the individual should be considered. Martha Gery, PMO at My Alarm Centre, noted that “not everyone likes public awards, personalise the recognition as much as possible”. Her opinion was echoed by Anthea Noonan, Director of Global Markets at CEAD.com who made a great point;

“Rewarding someone with a movie ticket whose language of appreciations is 'words of affirmation' is a missed opportunity."

It's important to recognise employee performance and make sure the individual is at the heart of any consideration you may have on how you proceed to reward them.

2. Celebrate Small Successes and Early Wins

If an employee makes minor mistakes they are likely to be corrected, if they have minor successes these should be recognised too. Celebrating employee performance success regardless of size is crucial for building confidence and maintaining a positive environment. It is a quick and easy way to let employees know that you appreciate their efforts and welcome all their achievements.

3. Shout it from the Rooftops... but maybe not on Facebook!

While there’s nothing wrong with subtle appreciation for your staffs’ efforts there’s no denying that shouting it from the rooftops won’t go unnoticed! Making a big splash and letting everyone know about excellent performance will be sure to leave employees chuffed and maybe even earn them a pat on the back from colleagues and peers. “Do it loudly and broadly, communicate in a blast that reaches from the board room to the docks.” Thanks to Darrell Watts, owner of Miles Technological Group, for this suggestion!

Sunil Kankal, a Consultant at Pro Bono Consulting recommends to post it on Facebook, presumably so that the employee can share with his or her friends on the social network. We asked some of our call centre buddies whether posting performance recognition on Facebook was a good idea,

@CallCntrWeekly says "Only if the employee is okay with it! Not all want their pictures & name on social."

@contactcentred doesn't agree with posting employee performance on Facebook at all "No - keep clearly defined lines between work and personal life, respect people's privacy."

@CarolynBlunt is against it too; "Urgh no way! How patronising big brother and uncool! Keep praise at work. Remember the biggest proportion of agents are aged 18-24, just think it would be 'totes embarrassing'! But ask them!"


4. Throw a Red Carpet Awards Ceremony for your Organisation

Now and again its a great idea to go all out and make a big deal about how great your organisation is and more importantly celebrate how great the people in your organisation are. A red carpet awards night to celebrate performance is a great social occasion for the organisation as well as the perfect opportunity to shine a spotlight on high quality performance and valued contributors throughout the teams.

5. Reward Low Performers Too

Low performers should be appreciated too. There are many factors that could be contributing to low performance, it may not even be the agent’s fault. Furthermore those who aren’t necessarily the high flyers or goal scorers still add value, if a company was filled with high achievers and ‘driver-driver’ personality types it might be a very difficult place to operate. All team members should be recognised, General Manager at Pizza Hut’s Contact Centre in Pakistan, Wasif Balouch suggested; “low performers could be rewarded by giving them performance related targets according to their abilities.”

6. Applaud Employee Performance Failures

Have you ever wished your employees were more vocal with their ideas? Or better still presented an idea which they already started to research and test… A great way to foster a culture of innovation as Suresh A.V of Eureka Forbes suggests is to celebrate employee failures as a method of encouraging risk taking and innovation. Although he recognises that a caution must be waved with this approach and expresses that “bad work should not get hidden”.

7. Small Token Rewards are Meaningful too

Acknowledge of high performance does not always have to come with a price tag, it doesn’t even have to have any element of reward associated to it however if you do want to reward why not think about small tokens. Thabisa Magxwalisa Team Leader in Volkswagen Group suggested the following;

  • A floating trophy.
  • Lunch vouchers.
  • Leaving the office an hour early.
  • An email from the “big boss”.
  • Mention in a company bulletin.

Have you any other small token suggestions? Tweet us to let us know and we will include it in our list.

8. Show Appreciation for More Tasks

Don’t be selective of just two or three tasks to applaud, cast your net wider and start celebrating lots of jobs people are carrying out. Damian Holznagel who is a Senior Customer Service Centre Operations manager with Swanson Health Products says; “There is no such thing as “too much”. Even recognizing what some would consider normal job functions adds incentives for others to walk down that path.”

9. Make the Employee Performance Acknowledgement Fair

Recognition and rewards cannot be biased. It will viewed negatively if unfairness in the system is apparent, especially if the structure excludes certain types of staff/people.

"Make the reward process fair, pay on time, and close to the performance."- Jeannette Eason, Business Lead, Maximus – We couldn’t have said it better ourselves Jeannette!

10. Ask Employees what they want

Remember whose performance you’re celebrating, if you are planning on rewarding your staff who better to ask than the staff themselves. Being asked is a nice gesture and it might play into some healthy competition for rewards and prizes or incentivise employees to improve performance.

11. Positivity Must Glow from Employee Performance Acknowledgment

Praise and recognition musts ooze positive energy, it is a way to make your employees proud of their work and let them enjoy the achievement. Negativity can wriggle its way into conversations about high performance for example remarks like “you should be doing this all the time” and “we want to see more of this” can leave a bad aftertaste as it might be perceived to be insinuating their good-enough efforts, aren’t good enough. It might also put added pressure on employees to consistently achieve peak performance, which can be more of a hindrance since Tony Schwartz of  The Energy Project puts it “humans are not like computers, we are not meant to run at high speeds, continuously, for long periods of time.”

“Ensure all conversations (including coaching yourself) are, without exception, framed with positive energy, future-focused and designed to create a positive outcome.” - Paul Litwack, Founder, The Capability Improvement Coach.

12. Recognise the Right Employee Performance Metrics

What behaviours are important to your organisation? What are the core messages you want your customer service representatives to portray? For performance recognition to be meaningful it must zone in on the right performance metrics; “If you are recognising the average length of a call without recognising the quality of that call, you are doing the representative and the customer a disservice." - Martha Gery, PMO at My Alarm Centre.

13. Say Thank You

Saying thank you is the easiest way to show gratification, they are only two words but they are very powerful and they can never be said too many times. Another two words that are sure to receive a warm welcome too are “well done”.

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Tags: Call Center Training, Call Center Management