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How to Keep Employees Engaged by Celebrating Micro Wins

You know the moment when you finish your morning meeting with 30 minutes to spare? Or, when you snag a donut and still make it to work on time? Better yet, when one of your agents wraps up a case in record time? Those little moments are micro wins. They’re the mini-milestones that guide you to greater accomplishments. And if you’ve ever wondered how to keep employees engaged, celebrating those micro wins is a powerful way to give your agents the boost they need.

Micro wins aren’t a marker for success, but instead, for progress. They’re tiny boosts of endorphins on the way to reaching your contact center goals. Each micro win is a baby step. It’s an indicator that your agents are moving in the right direction. It musters up a sense of accomplishment, tapping into your agents’ intrinsic motivators to propel them forward since, after all, no one can teleport.

In actuality, the only way to reach your goals is to take baby steps forward. And celebrating the tiny victories puts some pep in your agent’s step on the path to success.

On the flip side, if you don’t celebrate your wins along the way, your team will get hung up on obstacles instead of progressing day-by-day to reach their goals. Plus, they won’t see the results or the impact of their daily work. They’ll lose their sense of purpose and connection to your company’s mission, making them ripe for burnout or leaving for a job with more meaning.

Progress celebrated with small wins keeps your employees engaged.

The importance of your agents’ small wins is wrapped up and tied together with a bow in an idea called the progress principle. Harvard researchers Teresa Amabile and Steven J. Kramer set out to discover what makes employees more productive and happier at work. The result? Progress. Even small, baby steps in the right direction. See them explain it in full in their HBR article, The Power of Small Wins.

In short, progress makes employees happier and more intrinsically motivated.

“This is the progress principle made visible: If a person is motivated and happy at the end of the workday, it’s a good bet that he or she made some progress. If the person drags out of the office disengaged and joyless, a setback is most likely to blame.” – Teresa Amabile & Steven J. Kramer

Turns out, the progress employees make doesn’t have to be substantial to have some seriously positive implications. In fact, 28 percent of the time, progress had a minor impact on an employee’s project itself but had a major impact on the employee’s feelings about the project.

Employees who made tiny bits of progress each day were much happier with their work and felt a stronger connection and commitment to their companies.

An added bonus: increased happiness improves your contact center’s performance.

One of the most important outcomes of the progress principle is the progress loop. Like a feedback loop, a progress loop comes to play when one instance of progress (a micro win, if you will), fuels more progress. Which then makes for happier, more engaged employees. Rinse, repeat.

“So, the most important implication of the progress principle is this: By supporting people and their daily progress in meaningful work, managers improve not only the inner work lives of their employees but also the organization’s long-term performance, which enhances inner-work life even more.” – Amabile & Kramer

All of your agents’ micro wins pile up sky-high to drive greater accomplishments and higher agent morale in your contact center. Micro wins are the nourishment for your agents’ continued success on the job, and for their inner-work life happiness.

Get a jump on celebrating those small victories. Here’s how.

When you celebrate your agents’ progress and the constant effort they delve out, you’re signaling that what they do is important and meaningful.

Here are five ways you can celebrate the little, but oh-so-important moments.

1. Catch your agents doing something right.

Carve out time for side-by-side coaching or shadowing (in a non-intimidating sort of way). Sit in on some of your agents’ interactions to make their small wins visible to you, so you can point them out. Did your agent have a particularly happy customer at the end of a call? Did she respond to a chat message in less than 60 seconds, even when her queue was overwhelmed? Let her know she’s crushing it during moments like these.

2. Think quality, not quantity.

Pay close attention to the content of your agents’ interactions rather than just checking in on efficiency metrics. Then, leave positive comments as you coach virtually. As you leave in-line feedback on a call or transcription, look for key moments where your agent said the right thing or got a cheerful reply from a customer. Share comments alongside these specific instances, so your agent knows they can pocket that interaction as a win.

3. Encourage your agents when they handle a tough call like a champ.

Chances are high your agents deal with more than their fair share of angry customers. These interactions, in particular, require a bit of a pep talk to get over. Pay mind to tough interactions, and give your agents some words of encouragement when they handled the customer’s issue with poise.

4. Recognize your entire team’s efforts during huddles and meetings.

Call out some weekly wins and chart-topping metrics during team meetings. Give your agents some added credit for setting records in certain areas or keeping a tricky KPI on track for five-days straight.

5. Leave a handwritten note on your agent’s desk.

An oldy, but goody. Rather than dropping by an agent’s desk and giving a verbal shout out, make your celebration a touch more personal. Write out some words of praise in a notecard and leave it on your agent’s desk for their arrival the next day. The added effort you put in here will result in an even bigger internal sense of accomplishment for your agent.

When your agents see you breaking out in a celebratory dance or dishing out a round of applause during a team meeting, they know they’ve accomplished some feat. Even if it’s small. And that makes all the difference in their morale, productivity, and willingness to overcome obstacles.

Need some more celebratory ideas for your team? Check out our blog with 7 ways to keep agent morale high!