How the Best Brands in the World Blend Workforce Engagement and a People-First Mission to Keep Employees (Call Center Agents Included)
What do you call a fiercely loyal grocery shopper who only shops at Wegmans?
A Wegmaniac. That’s right – Wegmans’ customers love the Rochester, N.Y. chain so much, they’ve given themselves a nickname. And, one even re-upped a football contract to stay in a state where he could frequent Wegmans.
Disclaimer: We know this Tweet is partially sarcastic but getting a nod like that is still a huge show of brand advocacy.
Wegmans continuously earns top spots and accolades for their incredible customer experience, but the buck doesn’t stop there. In fact, it actually starts with their employees. Since 1993, Wegmans has appeared on upwards of 15 best places to work lists and is widely known for their workforce engagement, too.
They put people first and realize that the employee-employer relationship isn’t one-sided.
Leading a contact center often comes with the mindset that your agents will job hop because they’re overwhelmed and stressed out. Or, that they’re glued to their seats, but just to pay bills.
Only, that dreary sense of reality and lack of purpose doesn’t have to be the way your agents work. Each brand who earns the designation of exceptional employer on these best-in-class lists values all employees the same. They support and invest in their frontline employees just as they do their corporate executives. The people-focus doesn’t stop at the top; these incredible companies value and treat every employee with care.
You can, too.
How the best brands in the world use worforce engagement to keep their employees (call center agents included).
They are vision-driven.
The top 10 companies on Glassdoor’s best companies to work for list all got praise from employees for the vision and purpose driving the company.
The bottom line is, people want a sense of purpose in life. And that sense of purpose is often derived from our work. When companies shape their culture and relate every business decision back to a single, motivating cause, it unites teams and inspires individuals.
Top employers like Salesforce and Wegmans are touted for their vision, values, and driving purpose. Salesforce ranks second on Fortune’s list of the 100 Best Companies to Work For. They snagged that coveted spot in large part because of their goals system that functions around their central vision and values. Their goals system (V2MOMs) uses Vision, Values, Methods, Obstacles, and Measures to grow the company and progress employees in their work AND in their well-being.
Plus, today, more employees seek work that aligns with their own core values in life. Companies who promote positive values, and live them, attract and retain top talent. In a recent Forbes article, Shep Hyken, customer service & experience expert, shared how empathy, connection, and better values create companies worth working for.
“While companies look for employees who align with their values, it may be time for these companies to ensure that their values are in sync with those of their employees. It’s a two-way street.” – Shep Hyken, customer service & customer experience expert
What you can do:
Align your contact center agents to your company goals, and create team goals that work to progress your company vision. Connect your agents’ daily tasks and jobs to the larger purpose you’re all working towards. Then, live it out every. single. day.
They focus on real career growth over perks.
Perks and pay might be tacked on to the list of why many top employers are so awesome, but they don’t dictate why employees think so highly of them. The world’s best companies to work for focus on people, vision, growth, and building caring cultures.
Invest in your agents. It’s one, data-backed way to build a caring culture and keep your agents’ productivity and happiness high.
Along with higher productivity, happier team members, and more-informed experiences for your customers, better development keeps your agents in their seats. Employees are 12 times more likely to leave when they don’t feel like they’re being developed at work.
Companies who nabbed spots in the top five on best employer lists all dedicate serious spend to training and developing their team. Wegmans, for example, spends more than $50 million a year on training and development for its colossal workforce. They also back tuition assistance programs for employees.
And, In-N-Out Burger, who ranked third on Glassdoor’s list, gets praise for their non-traditional career opportunities and multiple paths for progression. In-N-Out Burger has more than a thousand reviews on Glassdoor and still maintains an impressive 4.4-star rating. With career growth being a central focus company-wide, they’re doing exceptional in the eyes of employees.
What you can do:
Sit down with your agents to discuss their career goals and aspirations. Work with them to create personalized career maps and identify how they can progress with your company, or beyond it if that’s what they want. Then, develop and train them to help them reach those personalized goals.
They ask employees what’s important to them.
A statistic out of Salesforce says when employees feel they have a voice at your company, they’re engaged and 4.6 times more likely to feel empowered to do their best work.
Asking your employees for their opinions and feedback is crucial to their empowerment at work. And, empowered employees create better customer experiences, feel happier on the job, and are advocates for their employers.
Setting a baseline for what’s important to your employees, like better training and clarity around your company’s purpose, is only one part of becoming a sought-after company to work for. But, soliciting feedback from your agents and discovering what’s important to them out of an employer is what makes the difference between good employers and great employers.
A Fortune top company, Dell, implemented employee surveys at work to find out which of their leadership principles resonated most with employees. From the survey results, Dell found that employees care most about vision and selflessness. Now, Dell highlights these two core aspects in their employees’ daily life at work. They took the voice of employees and used it to inform their culture.
What you can do:
Create surveys and have conversations to see what’s important to your agents at work. You might focus on the large-scale projects and find out from a simple survey question that small things make all the difference in your agents’ comfort on the job. Something as small as stocking the kitchen with coffee mugs so your agents can get their daily dose of caffeine, even when they leave their mug at home, can make a much-needed difference in their day. But you’ll never uncover what matters if you don’t seek input from your team.
Employees come before customers.
The best brands in the world are people-centric. And guess what, your agents are people, too. So many companies place a hard-and-fast focus on being customer-centric and only dabble in what’s best for employees. Being customer-focused is important, of course, but don’t leave your agents out of the mix.
Hotel giant, Hilton, recognized a divergence from their company vision and mission when it came to how they treated employees. Hilton CEO, Chris Nassetta, joined the hotel chain in 2007 and IDed a pressing problem, according to Fortune. “We forgot that we are a business of people serving people, and the corporate environment got very disconnected from the front line,” said Nassetta.
Nassetta made it his mission to put Hilton’s people back at the heart of the company. From giving the cleaning staff more comfortable uniforms (ones that make it easier for them to do their jobs) to creating GED and continuing education programs, the past 12 years were all about revamping the employee experience – starting with employees in crucial positions on the front lines. Now, because of it, Hilton snagged the title of THE best place to work in 2019, taking the number one spot on Fortune’s list.
What you can do:
Do what’s right for your people. As a manager, it’s your job to care for your agents on a personal level and to give them the tools and support they need to be rock stars on the job. Shift your customer-first mentality to a people-first one, instead.
Give back to your employees, and they’ll give back to your customers. Yes, call center agents included.