Many frontline employees start with high expectations when working in a contact center. Navigating varying customer interactions coupled with the stress and demands of being a frontline employee makes working in a contact center both challenging and rewarding. With so much going on, it’s easy for contact center leaders to lose sight of how employees feel and whether their experience is as good as possible. Frequently, this can lead to employees losing connection to contact center objectives and lacking motivation to do their best work. Contact center leaders can leverage meaningful employee journeys to align everyday activities and goals to what motivates and inspires frontline employees. In doing so, leaders can expect improved employee engagement and, by extension, an improved customer experience.
What is an employee journey?
An employee journey is a framework used to understand and map the various stages of the employee experience within an organization. It provides guidance for how an employee can integrate, evolve, and contribute to a company. An employee journey is about fostering a meaningful and sustainable connection between employees and their company.
The employee journey accounts for every step of the employee’s experience, from the initial recruitment process to onboarding, ongoing training and coaching, project and teaching opportunities, and finally, a job change or promotion. The framework can apply to any company and should be customized to fit the corporate culture.
The employee journey celebrates both professional and personal milestones to fully acknowledge key moments in an employee’s life, from their job offer and first day on the job to life events, like getting married or having a baby. Through these acknowledgments, employees are made to feel that they truly matter. This can be the difference between employees staying or leaving.
By creating a comprehensive understanding of the employee experience, contact center leaders can take steps to improve the experience, leading to a better work culture and a more engaged and productive workforce.
Key stages of an employee journey
Key elements of the employee journey include recruitment, onboarding, career development, and recognition and rewards.
The recruitment process is paramount in shaping an employee’s journey, requiring thoughtful design to attract top talent. Companies could personalize the offer, consider post-pandemic employee preferences, and accommodate reasonable requests for flexibility while balancing business needs. Prioritizing employee well-being through these measures also fosters a collaborative workplace and positions the organization as a premier employer.
Onboarding is a critical process that integrates new employees into the workplace. It involves everything from orientation to training, familiarization with company policies and practices, and more. By providing new hires with a comprehensive understanding of the company’s goals, values, and procedures, organizations can ensure that employees are set up for success and equipped with the tools and knowledge they need to perform their jobs effectively. An effective process can help reduce turnover rates and associated costs and familiarize new hires with their role and the company culture and values, effectively integrating them as valuable contributors to the organization.
3. Career development
Career development allows employees to learn new skills or take on additional responsibilities. Investing in employee development helps motivate and retain employees. An individual development plan can assist employees in their career development. Training programs must cover job-specific and soft skills to prepare the employee best to interact with customers. Unfortunately, many companies focus on systems and process training and de-prioritize how employees can best navigate a conversation via soft skills. Additionally, a robust framework for coaching and providing refresher training is necessary for continuous improvement.
4. Recognition and rewards
Recognition and rewards refer to acknowledging and rewarding employees for their contributions and achievements, whether individual or team-based. Employees who feel valued and appreciated are more likely to feel loyalty toward their employer and, thus, be more committed to their work. Effective recognition and rewards programs can boost employee morale, job satisfaction, and motivation, leading to better performance, productivity, and success for the contact center.
Signs that you may need an employee journey
High turnover rates
If your contact center has been experiencing high turnover rates, it may be due to a poor employee experience. The employee journey can help you identify areas that require improvement and take necessary steps to retain valuable employees.
Low employee engagement
Low engagement scores may indicate issues with how your contact center engages and rewards employees. By consistently monitoring engagement scores, you can identify areas of improvement. Then the employee journey can help you plan to improve employee engagement.
Low customer satisfaction
Low customer satisfaction often correlates with low employee engagement. Employees are less likely to deliver high quality service if they do not have a defined purpose or value proposition. A positive employee experience is a top driver of customer satisfaction; happy and engaged employees lead to happy and engaged customers. The employee journey can help you identify areas where employees and customers may feel disconnected and enact changes to improve performance and increase customer engagement.
Gaps in employee knowledge
Gaps in knowledge indicate a lack of training and development, which can lead to underperformance and poor employee retention. The employee journey can help you identify gaps in employee knowledge, skills, and abilities and design a training program that addresses those needs.
Difficulty recruiting top talent may indicate a poor employee experience within your organization. The employee journey can help you identify areas that require improvement, leading to a better recruiting process.
How to recognize a successful employee journey
Assessing the success of an employee journey requires a mechanism to receive feedback, such as an annual or pulse survey. The questions should cover all elements of engagement and lead to an actionable plan to foster improvement. Frontline employees must be part of the process and partner with leaders to drive positive change. Developing a framework for communicating and recognizing the differences between in-office and remote work is essential, particularly for topics like video calling.
Understanding the concept of an employee journey and its differences from a career path can benefit employers and employees. An employee journey plan enables leaders and frontline employees to understand each other’s expectations and attain their objectives. Clear expectations and goals lead to improved culture and engagement, which results in an improved customer experience. Along the way, improved employee morale increases employee productivity and employer profitability. An employee journey encourages personal growth by enabling employees to orient their objectives and actively seek challenges to further their learning. Overall, an employee journey is an invaluable tool that, when applied correctly, helps individuals reach their fullest potential.