Engaged support teams perform better, work harder and are more excited about and invested in the outcome of their work.
According to research, 70% of people are miserable in their job. Similarly, 17.2% are actively disengaged with the work that they are doing. While “employee engagement” has started to become a filler term that people use, it’s actually incredibly important to both team and company-wide health.
When employees are engaged they are happier, more likely to be promoters of your company and bring in other amazing candidates, and help boost fiscal prosperity of the company they work for.
For example, in 2000, Campbell’s Soup had lost 54 percent of its market value, and employee engagement was at an all-time low. After a decade of focusing on employee engagement, the company’s stock price rose 30 percent. That’s bonkers.
Needless to say, along with metrics on customer happiness and response time, it’s important for leaders to pay attention to how engaged and excited their team members are every day when they come into work.
You can measure employee engagement through things like surveys, suggestion boxes, regularly conducted eNPS (employee net promoter scores), and even your voluntary attrition rates.
But, if you start to notice a problem, what’s the best way to get everyone back in line? Here are a few things that you can consider and implement with your company to excite, energize and engage the members of your support team.
Make them a part of the process
Whenever you are considering a shift in strategy or debating whether you should offer a new level of service to your customers, talk to the employees on your team first.
Even if you aren’t deliberating a major strategy shift, having regular meetings on the individual and team level in which you encourage frank and honest discussion is a great way to help support team members feel like they are a part of something larger.
When you ask for opinions regularly and help show individual contributors that their experience is valuable outside of just answering customer questions, it makes them feel more invested in the success of th e team overall.
Through that investment, they feel like they are able to directly impact the team and how it is perceived, thus making them an engaged member who wants to drive the whole support team towards success.
Offer time out of the queue
People that work in support have so many strengths that aren’t necessarily activated when they are working in the queue. They may have interests that move beyond damage-mitigation and a strong handle on grammar and spelling.
For example, maybe you have a team member that is interested in data organization or process management. In that case, there are many opportunities to allow them to flex those muscles outside of the queue.
This kind of flex has a double benefit: it allows you to make your support strategy stronger and better in places that you, as a manager, might not be able to make shifts on your own. It also makes the employee feel as though they are valued for something other than just their ability to contribute in the queue.
Oftentimes giving opportunities like this allows for employees to grow their knowledge and professional flexibility in other areas that may continue to benefit and grow your team.
Stifling curiosity and handcuffing people to the queue is a sure-fire way to create quick turnover on your team, and to remove any interest that someone might have in developing further skills…and that is one of the best ways to create disengaged, unmotivated team members.
Encourage them to take time off
This might sound counterintuitive. How is encouraging someone to get away from the office going to convince them to be more engaged and active in the office?
Vacation is a great way to catch up on sleep, shift your perspective, reinvigorate your sense of focus and spark creativity by seeing new things. Many people assume that being more visible at work increases their chances or promotion or recognition, but working 18-hour days every day of the work week is just going to burn people out and drop their productivity.
Encourage your employees to take regular, longer-than-2-day vacations, and you’ll find yourself with an invigorated and excited support team.
Create a mentorship program
A mentorship program increases engagement on both sides of the program.
The person being mentored is engaged because they feel as though they have a safety net and the support of a more experienced individual on the team. When people feel as though they are being given attention and focus, they are more likely to perform and be engaged in the task at hand.
On the flip side, the people doing the mentoring feel like they have a hand in the development of the team, and that they have influence in the growth and development of the individuals on it.
On both sides, this means that the support team member is more invested in the outcome of the mentorship and is more likely to be excited and invigorated by the work that they are doing—they feel like it has meaning and is attached to successful outcomes for the team.
By opening up and building a mentorship program or mentoring opportunities within your team, you give a major boost to investment and engagement to the team structure and your company as a whole.
Provide tons of recognition
People like knowing that the work that they are doing is seen and recognized as valuable. In fact, they are 90% more engaged with their company and team when there is a formal recognition system in place, versus when there is not.
If you do not currently have a process for providing recognition and constructive or positive insights within your company, it is a huge opportunity that will prove valuable for keeping team members aligned and excited.
This could be anything from formalized feedback during one-on-one meetings to a company-wide Slack channel where excellent performance is shouted out in a message. Similarly, encourage members of your team to provide recognition for other members of the team—this promotes a boost in camaraderie and support that can be valuable moving forward.
Be honest and keep your promises
When you create a roadmap or say that the support team is going to accomplish a specific goal within a specific amount of time, try as hard as you can to keep to those timelines.
While it is valuable for your company to see you as dependable, it’s even more important for your direct team to see you as such. If you make timelines or plans and don’t stick to them or are willing to “fudge” them as needed, your team might not see them as important or something that they should care about. If the work that the team is doing isn’t perceived as important or timely, they are going to care much less and be less engaged in the final outcome.
Similarly, if you don’t seem to care or understand the impact of shifting timelines, your team won’t either. If you are going to miss a timeline, instead of minimizing it to make your failure seem less important, be honest about where you went wrong and what you’ll fix in the future.
Being honest and having an open dialogue about this with your team makes them feel like they are a part of the process, and they’ll want to keep working hard to make it better in the future.
Engagement and excitement on the team may sometimes take a back seat to metrics like NPS, CSAT or first response time—but they are just as, if not more important, for the ongoing health of your team and happiness of your customers.
Engaged employees perform better, work harder and are more excited about and invested in the outcome of their work. This means that your customers get better answers that are more in-depth and valuable than they might have otherwise.
Focus on honesty with your team members and let them feel as though they’ve got a hand in the action—the more involved and important they perceive themselves to be towards the success of the team the more proactive and engaged work you’ll see from them.