A common complaint of management in recent years has been focused on the Millennial mindset and attitude in the workplace. A Harvard Review article from last May calls Millennials “the least engaged generation in the U.S.” and suggests that “71% are either not engaged or actively disengaged at work.” Disengagement leads to lack of commitment to the job and Millennials leave their jobs at a rate “three times higher than that of non-Millennials…” Given that Millennials make up the majority of contact center employees, this tendency translates into a growing turnover problem for an industry already burdened with extraordinarily high turnover rates.
Writing for the Phoenix Business Journal, Nick Sarillo suggests that the problem may not actually lie with Millennials. “Our tendency to blame millennials and their perceived lack of loyalty and work ethic is counterintuitive,” he submits. “Instead, we should take a hard look at ourselves as leaders to see how can we create continuous opportunities for improvement for our employees, a concept summed up by the Japanese term, kaizen.” The term, in case you didn’t click to find out what Wikipedia has to say about it, refers to “continuous improvement” in Japanese* and is a business philosophy and methodology used to, well, improve how the business works. Cornerstones are transparency and flexibility. This is where WorkFlex comes in.
The WorkFlex Contribution to Kaizen
If transparency and flexibility are essential elements of kaisen, WorkFlex is an ideal tool for contact centers wishing to use kaizen as a way to engage their agent population. WorkFlex facilitates transparency via the WorkFlex agent mobile app by showing agents exactly what the staffing needs of the contact centers are.
Whether the center’s need is for agents to take time off due to overstaffing, add hours because the center is understaffed, or switch from the phones to answering emails, because a flood of emails is coming in and call volume has dropped, agents can see the schedule on their Android or iPhone and make changes. In addition, they can see their KPI’s, their available PTO and any messages they’ve received from their supervisor or workforce manager.
WorkFlex also facilitates flexibility via the mobile app. Agents can change their schedules at will if the time intervals they want are available. So, for example, if Noah needs to complete a training module and the schedule shows there is going to be a drop in contact volume from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. tomorrow, he can use his mobile app to snag that hour. And if no intervals are available for agents to take time off, they can trade hours with another agent. The flexibility extends to agents’ communication preferences. If they want to receive messaging from the contact center via SMS, email, voice call, or social media, they can set that preference. They can even choose when to receive communications, so if they wish to sleep in on Sunday morning until noon, the center cannot contact them before that hour.
WorkFlex enables contact centers to offer agents the opportunity to manage their lives better and enables them to treat agents as partners in managing staffing rather than as hourly employees who need constant managing. It presents a practical way to empower and engage Millennials in the workplace while contributing to the well being of the company they work for. The schedule changes agents make solve the staffing problems the contact center confronts every day, so the relationship between the two becomes symbiotic and geared toward continuous improvement. The agents’ continuous improvement quickly becomes evident. They can complete training during periods when they’re most apt to learn well, they can schedule coaching with their supervisor when needed, and they can keep tabs on their own performance metrics. Most importantly, their attitude toward work can improve substantially, because they enjoy the transparency and flexibility at work that allows them to manage their life.
If you’re considering kaizen in your contact center, partner with WorkFlex for tangible improvement.
*The literal translation is “change for better.”