In the context of a professional environment, recognition refers to special notice or attention. The keyword there is special — when you recognize an employee for a job well done, they feel special.
It's a relatively simple equation: when your employees are doing their jobs well, you make sure they know you appreciate it. After all, your employees are the engine that runs your call center in the right direction, and if they stall, you stall.
If you're wondering how to recognize employee performance as a call center manager, start by asking yourself how often you express genuine appreciation for your agents.
Small acts of appreciation can play a pivotal role in improving the work environment and boosting overall morale. According to a Glassdoor Employee Appreciation Survey, seven in ten (68%) employees say their boss shows them enough appreciation. However, more than half (53%) of employees admit they would stay longer at their company if they felt more gratitude from their boss.
Here are five ways to recognize and show appreciation for a job well done.
1. Celebrate Non-Metric Victories
It's easy to become bogged down with metrics. After all, they're essential for measuring operational efficiency and other KPIs. But making sure you celebrate non-metrics-driven wins is crucial to operational efficiency as well. Some strategies include giving out gift certificates for goals met and providing outlets for peer-to-peer recognition. It's important to celebrate various achievements, from day-to-day performance to career milestones.
Customer compliments can also lift an agent's spirits, but not so much if no one else is aware they happened. Share those moments by keeping a compliments log from your customers. Build an internal 'customer compliments' board where the team can see and/or hear these winning interactions.
This can be part of a larger call center "stars" program or perhaps a Call Center Three Stars of the Week program. At the beginning of the week, decide on a KPI to challenge your agents to achieve. At the end of the week, ask your quality assurance or coaches who the top performers were. Crown the winners and reward them with things like gift certificates and internal recognition. It's as much about keeping the job fun and engaging as it is about employee recognition.
The most important thing about praise is making sure your agents know it's genuine. Praise for praise's sake can fall flat and actually have a negative effect.
2. Always Make it Personal
Tailor your incentive strategies to your organization. Talk to your agents. Their input is critical for building a recognition program that drives engagement. Their feedback about the program should always be welcome. This also winds up becoming an exercise where you can understand their motivations, career aspirations, strengths, areas that need improvement, and what's most important to them.
Today, many companies conduct what's called "what makes you stay" interviews to assess where employees are in terms of happiness at their company. You can replicate this by asking your agents:
- Why do they think people join your organization,
- What brought them to your call center specifically,
- What's keeping them at your call center,
- what they would like to see stopped, started, and continued.
When it comes to personal recognition building, focus on the different skills each agent brings to the table, this will allow all team members to have their day in the sun.
If you keep your recognition incentives varied, you'll appeal to everyone at different points. That way, any rewards you give out should be specific and personal and help your agents know you appreciate them as individuals, not just as part of the overall call center operation.
3. Celebrate Entire Teams
While individual employee recognition will always be an essential part of your recognition program, celebrating an entire team when they accomplish a specific goal helps build unity and camaraderie.
Team wins bring employees together, so make sure you point out how their ability to work as a team was responsible for the successful results, focusing on key elements of teamwork like:
- task delegation,
- interpersonal relations,
- group-goal performance and results.
Set monthly or bi-monthly specific and measurable goals and when they are accomplished, celebrate with fun team outings like lunches, dinners, happy hours, or a night out at a local sporting event or concert. You can also try creating an email alias that goes to a particular team for peers to recognize one another.
4. Consider Method of Delivery
This is all about how well you actually know your employees. Some agents may prefer that you announce their achievements in front of the entire team and support them with a roaring round of applause. To others, public recognition is embarrassing and awkward; these employees would rather the recognition come in a one-on-one meeting in the privacy of an office.
As a manager, it's an essential aspect of the job — get to know your employees well enough to figure out individual personalities and preferences.
As you consider how to recognize employee performance, make sure your delivery method matches the particular individual being recognized.
If you're recognizing an employee that doesn't enjoy a public round of applause, they may still appreciate you recognizing their accomplishment in front of the SVP or regional manager. Just consider less flashy tactics like cc'ing them on an email rather than calling attention to your employee on a company-wide call.
Praise and recognition in an email can be fine, but you can kick it up a notch or three when you cc your boss and a few other supervisors on it to make sure they are aware as well.
5. Recognize Your Low Performers Too
The reality is that not every agent will be a top performer. However, that doesn't mean that lower-performing employees simply don't care about their jobs or deserve recognition for their efforts. Rather than scoring them on a generic scale, it's critical to acknowledge the many potential factors contributing to their low performance.
Remember, there may be organizational barriers in place preventing some of your agents from performing at their best. Furthermore, those who aren't necessarily the high-flyers or goal-scorers still add enormous value to the company.
Make a point of recognizing improvement with employees that aren't in the upper echelon. Congratulating them and rewarding their progress is a great way to get them headed on an upward trajectory. A sure-fire method to alienate this group is to ask for improvements and never show appreciation for the work done to date or those incremental improvements.
Continue to provide feedback on performance and reward employees when it's relevant with praise and increased responsibility. Often a simple mention of "thank you" or "well done" goes a long way and can be a significant boost to one's confidence.
Learning how to recognize employee performance can help you motivate and engage your employees more deeply. And the return for you will be higher job satisfaction and employee retention within your organization, not to mention less stress among your employees — the classic win/win.