By: Julie FredricksonIt is easy to point fingers at plausible reasons for your attrition problem, but have you set your organization in front of the mirror and held yourself accountable? Take a hard look at yourself first before trying to fix your team.
1. Leadership devalues employees
Leadership views contact center agents as inferior and replaceable. They speak of them as dispensable assets. This creates a negative environment which leads to low morale, low performance and poor culture. Overall success comes from leaders who hold themselves accountable to and for their team. The team's performance is a direct result of its leadership. The best leaders speak of their team’s shortcomings as their own, and seek ways to unify and strengthen the team.
2. “If they don’t want to work, then…”
Your leadership assumes poor attendance is the fault/choice of the employee. A 2014 survey of 1,000 respondents by BambooHR showed you are losing one-sixth of your new employees “each month for the first three months.” Of those who quit “within the first six months, 23 percent said receiving clear guidelines to what my responsibilities were” would have helped them stay on the job. Nine percent said they wanted more attention from the “manager and co-workers.” Low workplace morale, and leadership's communication errors, make it much easier to miss work.
3. “Do as I say, not as I do.”
Your leadership assumes poor performance is the fault/choice of the employee. Much like attendance, workplace factors are often the cause for performance issues. Is your leadership setting an example of expected performance? Or, are you telling employees they must answer to leaders who do not set a good example themselves? If expectations are not clear or change too often, a disconnect is also a likely cause for poor performance. Set the example, and watch people follow.
4. “We don’t have the time/money/resources.”
You are failing to actively pursue employee engagement. You may have tied some money to some goals, be it bonuses or the like, but you haven’t created an environment or a culture for your company. Your employees spend most of their lives with you. Unless you are in the business of saving lives or changing the world, it is in your hands to provide more value for employees to work for you than just the paycheck. I could write a whole article about all the creative ways you can engage your employees, a book, a series even. For the sake of your time today, Google “Employee Engagement Ideas” to go down this path.
There’s a reason there is so much talk about communication (pun intentional). It is the most important aspect of all relationships, including employer and employee relationships, but it is much easier to screw it up than to be successful at it. If communication is your problem, it’s likely one of three mistakes (or a mixture of a few or all 3).
· Too much communication
You are suffocating your team daily with an abundance of communication on all the things they need to be doing, the numbers they need to hit, the ways they are missing the mark, and the things they need to remember. There is so much communication it’s all one big blur. Be strategic in your communication. Stop talking at your employees and start setting examples.
· Too little communication
Employees are unaware of expectations, where they stand, and what to do. When you talk about needs for improvement they seem surprised. You receive follow-up communications throughout the week regarding a prior email, text or chat that has not been answered. This is due to a lack of communication. Organize your communication and put it on the calendar or set reminders. If you schedule it, it is more likely to happen. Often, a lack of communication is due to poor time management. Make yourself accountable.
· Ineffective communication
Have you ever given instructions only to discover they weren't followed? It is your responsibility as a leader to offer clear and concise communications. Everyone absorbs, perceives, and applies information differently, so remember the Platinum Rule. Treat others the way THEY wish to be treated. Ask your team how they would prefer information and follow up on understanding. Transparency is vital, but confusion is detrimental.
Are you taking steps to solve your attrition problem? Be honest. Be genuine. Be consistent. But most of all, be nice.
Julie Fredrickson is a Remote Workforce and Employee Engagement Specialist with a diverse background in Customer Service working at such companies as Walgreens, Mayo Clinic Health System, and All-Calls Call Center Outsourcing.
A Minnesota Native and Rasmussen College graduate, she can be found on LinkedIn and Twitter