Five Ways to Boost Performance Management
Business doesn’t stand still. So the techniques we use to measure our success in business must keep evolving as well.
“Performance management” is something of a catch-all term that incorporates a wide range of management aspects, from planning to developing agent skills, to evaluating performance based on metrics and making adjustments accordingly.
It’s an essential process, and it can be a difficult one without software that tracks and analyzes the performance levels of your contact center team.
It is also a process that benefits from refined tactics and new strategies. Here are five ideas for boosting your performance management efforts.
- Don’t wait for feedback – go get it
One of the factors used to determine quality of performance is the feedback received from customers. Agents are assessed on how customers respond via recorded calls or satisfaction surveys. There’s nothing wrong with this – but a contact center may get an even better sense of how it’s doing by having agents ask customers for feedback at the end of every engagement. Solicit the same kind of feedback on a regular basis within your business from managers, trainers, coaches and other personnel. The more data you have, the easier it will be identify issues and create solutions.
- No more letter grades
Performance management assessments sometimes give grades to agents on job performance – “A” for courtesy, “C” for punctuality, etc. That may not be as effective anymore, especially with the millennials now taking over many of these positions. Some of them didn’t even get these kinds of grades in high school. The message of where someone is doing well and where he or she needs help is necessary, but perhaps it doesn’t need to be quantified this way anymore.
- Ditch the annual review
Companies have been giving annual reviews to employees for decades (if not centuries!). It’s become a ritual done more out of habit than for any positive change it creates. Ongoing feedback throughout the year from managers and coaches is more likely to bring about the desired performance improvements. If you’re already doing that, the annual review becomes superfluous.
- Emotional support
This is one of those things companies didn’t have to worry about 25 years ago. But times have changed and so have the expectations of the working class, particularly those in the millennial age bracket. Work triggers stress and stress impacts health. At a contact center, stress levels are even higher than many other types of work. Those in the baby boom generation may grumble about this, but these issues should be addressed. The key is open lines of communication – make sure every agent feels involved and engaged. Group social activities can help here as well. And make sure employees know that if their stress levels keep going up, there are ways they can ask for help without risking their job. You may wish to partner with a local therapist who can work with you on such cases.
- Don’t tie performance to compensation
This one is controversial – we’re not even sure we support it ourselves. But it’s gaining momentum at some companies so we’re including it here for those who wish to give it a go. Traditionally, outstanding agents are rewarded for their work either with raises or bonuses. But there is a concern that this leads to unhealthy levels of competition, where agents are more interested in undercutting each other than working together as a team to serve the company’s clients. It may also subliminally discourage those at the bottom of the scale, who aren’t getting the same recognition.
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