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The Agile Workforce and the Five C's of Motivation

In my last blog, I wrote about an old article I had rediscovered that argued if you wanted to motivate employees, you needed to heed the five C's: Culture, Content, Control, Collaboration and Curiosity. I offered this notion: If these five items were crucial to motivational success, could we say that motivating contact center agents is relatively easy?

My view is, no.

Motivating agents in contact centers is challenging because the job and frequently the management environment that surrounds them is not exactly consistent with the five C's.

The contact center is run for the benefit of the business and its customers, not the agents. The work they do is fairly routine and repetitive. And, I dare say, most agents would not equate their jobs with the notion of fun, unpredictability and opportunities to learn new things.

And then, in the last few sentences of my previous blog, I threw out a snappy piece of advice: Consider an agile workforce strategy.

Overly simplified, an agile workforce strategy means that employees perform different kinds of work commensurate with their individual skills. This work is based on the overall work demands the organization faces that day and into the future. In order to effectively manage an agile workforce—also called a matrixed workforce—it’s important to have visibility into how work is actually performed at the employee level and at the process level.

Quite frankly, that level of visibility has typically only been available in the modern contact center, much to the detriment of data-driven management in other parts of the enterprise. Fortunately, technology is now available that illuminates and informs managers about work performed both electronically and in person.

So, organizations can have an unprecedented view into individual employee performance and clearly see where surplus labor and labor shortages exist by work-type. Armed with this, smart organizations will provide in-house training programs consisting of classroom, elearning and shadow components so that employees can acquire skills that are in demand inside the company.

Thus employees potentially gain new knowledge, improve their economic earning power, do more varied and interesting types of work, and generally become more engaged and satisfied with the organization.

Achieving an agile workforce strategy requires a bit of faith on the part of both the employees and the management team. Make no mistake, this is a significant investment in money and energy—and quite a bit of it has to be made upfront. However, in my mind, there is no doubt that some organizations will see a requirement to undertake this journey, because the very nature of work is changing.

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