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Calabrio Teleopti Workforce Management and Workforce Planning

The Evolution of Workforce Engagement Management (WEM) in the Contact Centre

11 min read
Author Business Systems UK
Date Mar 30, 2021
Category Contact Centre Optimisation

Across the industry there is an increased focus on employee engagement and the critical role staff play in the overall customer experience.  This is not a situation unique to contact centres but reflects a worldwide shift in all industries.  

Within the contact centre world, the increased focus on employee engagement and productivity has led to the term Workforce Engagement Management (WEM) being more widely used.  WEM goes beyond traditional workforce management or workforce optimisation. It focuses on the human aspect of the contact centre to improve engagement, performance, and results. 

In fact, Gartner, the research analyst took a decision to change its Magic Quadrant evaluation category from Workforce Optimisation (WFO) to Workforce Engagement Management (WEM), to reflect the emphasis being placed on improving the overall operational performance of customer service staff and the essential shift towards this. 

In the era of the modern-day contact centre, Workforce Optimisation (WFO) is currently giving way to Workforce Engagement Management. 

The Evolution from WFO to WEM 

Let’s look at Workforce Optimisation and what it means.  According to the Oxford English dictionary, optimisation is ‘an act or a process or methodology of making something as perfect or functional as possible’.  As would be expected, functional and efficient processes are vital in the contact centre. However, there is still a missing piece of the puzzle to this – the people behind it all, your agents! 

This is where we see the emergence of WEM, often referred to as the next generation of WFO, delivering additional, agent-centred functionality that empowers organisations to raise and uphold  customer experience in the contact centre. 

Workforce Engagement Management – A changing landscape 

With a focus on people and the vital role they play in customer engagement, significant market change is happening.  

According to Contact Babels Inner Circle Guide to Omnichannel Workforce Optimisation, WEM focuses upon individual employee engagement as a key element in improving the overall performance of the contact centre.  It could also be argued that a WEM approach takes much of the purpose and functionality of WFO to realign it with the requirements of the agent as well as the business: after all, happy, well trained, motivated, loyal and empowered agents are likely to make a high-performing, optimised workforce. 

The customer experience is a key strategic performance measure in contact centres and aligning the satisfaction of your customers with your employees is the foundation for excellent customer experience.   

Contact centres need to elevate the importance of employee engagement to drive effective employee retention and reduce attrition rates.  They need to be attentive to the changing expectations of the contact centre workforce and the scarcity of high-quality agents. 

With much of the contact centre workforce being made up of millennials (in fact Deloitte predict by 2025 millennials will account for 75% of the global workforce), contact centres need to cater for the different expectations and priorities they are demanding.  Just implementing tools to manage your shifts simply isn’t enough – contact centres need tools to engage better with their agents and change the way they work.  Highly qualified and experienced agents are a must to resolve the more complicated enquiries, but these agents are not that easy to come by.  So, if this sounds familiar, it’s time to get started with Workforce Engagement Management (WEM). 

WEM – The Next Generation of Workforce Optimisation  

Contact Babel also reported that many Workforce Engagement Management solutions have moved towards viewing and supporting the agent as an individual, rather than just attempting to organise a workforce as if they were robots. 

WEM does deliver additional agent-centred offerings to arm the agents with tools and systems to better serve their customers and positively impact the customer experience.  If you can provide a customer with ease of resolution, by helping agents resolve enquires quickly and efficiently, there is no doubt customers will enjoy a superior contact centre experience.  

WEM solutions can offer a whole raft of functionality to increase your customer and agent engagement including: 

  • Gamification 
  • Coaching and Mentoring 
  • Evaluation and improvement 
  • Time Management  
  • Intraday Management 
  • Performance Management/metrics and recognition 
  • Voice of the Customer (VoE) 
  • Interaction Analytics 
  • Advanced Reporting 
  • Quality Monitoring 

How can you build on  existing WFO strategies to realise the benefits of WEM? 

Arm your agents with the tools they need to better serve your customers: 

  • Analytics Consider leveraging analytics to shorten the employee feedback loop. Modern tools can support employee engagement by digesting data from all agents’ interactions revealing strengths and weaknesses to allow them to develop their skills and performance. 
  • Agent Feedback WEM can make timely feedback a reality – agents crave that feedback and consistent performance reviews significantly increase agent engagement, giving them a sense of pride in their work.  
  • Data WEM analytics can instill a greater sense of purpose in agents. By connecting contact centre performance data with other business metrics, agents can instantaneously receive feedback on how their performance directly impacts business outcomes. 
  • Scheduling Use interactive technology-based scheduling to allow agents to view and select shifts, giving them more control over their work-life balance. Why not also  consider giving them access to change shifts or provide preference-based scheduling? 
  • Remote Working COVID has provided us with an opportunity to re-think working from home policies and by deploying the right strategies, some work from home scenarios are actually more productive, so why not carry on with this as an option for those that want to continue working from home? 
  • Advanced Reporting Increase operational improvements with the elimination of data silos and provide an integrated view of every location, agent and interaction.  Use analytics to view vital statistics from call volume to performance.  Reveal efficiency and operational gains that allow you to deliver a more enhanced customer experience. 

Employee Engagement Paving the Way for WEM 

Employee Engagement isn’t new to us, it’s been a focus for the last 5 or 6 years and is now a key differentiator for contact centres.  Your contact centre agents have never been so important to the success of your organisation and it’s time to embrace them with the help of Workforce Engagement Management 

To learn more about our WEM solutions visit our product pages: