Workforce engagement management (WEM) is an approach for increasing customer service agent engagement. Engaged agents are committed to their employer, which includes helping the organization meet its business objectives. In a contact center, this typically means delivering exceptional customer service and meeting individual KPI targets.
What is workforce engagement management?
Gartner coined the term to refer to a set of software tools that can impact agent engagement throughout the employment life cycle. This includes hiring, onboarding, training, scheduling, developing, motivating, and more. WEM, with its employee-centric focus, is an evolution from workforce optimization (WFO), which was more focused on optimizing labor productivity and managing labor costs.
The evolution was driven by changing agent demographics and a need to address the high employee turnover rates that have historically plagued contact centers. In fact, the increasingly younger workforce, with their propensity for frequent job changes, would have sent agent attrition spiraling if not addressed. WEM still includes a labor management component, but the older WFO model has been expanded so that WEM increases the focus on performance and quality management. The jury is still out in terms of results, but an initiative that puts agents front and center is very likely to succeed in its goal of increasing engagement.
Workforce engagement management efforts show promising possibilities to increase agent engagement and retention. Additionally, they can support other important contact center goals. A holistic approach to WEM includes a collection of software tools working in concert. Organizations trying to increase agent engagement should ensure there aren't any gaps in their solution set.
What software is included in workforce engagement management?
As defined by Gartner, workforce engagement management refers to a set of contact center software applications designed to collectively improve agent engagement. Below are some examples of tools that might be part of this solution set.
Quality management tools and call recording software go hand-in-hand. Not only do QA analysts need recorded calls in order to perform their evaluations, but playing a recording for an agent can be a powerful coaching technique.
Performance management software is a key part of the workforce engagement management solution set because it's all about agent development and engagement. Good performance management solutions inspire agents to self-improve by providing them with current, personal performance stats that they can compare to targets and team averages. Additionally, features like gamification and incentive storefronts can motivate agents to step up their performance.
Quality monitoring and management
No WEM solution would be complete without quality management tools, which facilitate evaluations and coaching and foster a culture of continuous improvement. Modern quality monitoring also leverages analytics to pinpoint the right contacts to evaluate to ensure they are the interactions most meaningful to the customer experience and agent development. Effective coaching sends a signal to agents that the organization is vested in their professional development. And software features like dispute resolution workflows empower agents to voice their opinions about evaluations.
Workforce management software automates the tasks of forecasting contact volume, calculating headcount needs, scheduling agents, and performing intraday adjustments. It allows workforce managers to more accurately walk the fine line between having too many or too few agents scheduled. Fair and competent scheduling impacts engagement, even more so when the software has empowering features like shift bidding and schedule swapping.
6 ways workforce engagement management can help contact centers reach their goals
WEM software is beneficial to contact centers in multiple ways. Below are some examples of the goals that WEM can positively impact, and it all begins with the agent.
1. Agent engagement and retention
As discussed, workforce engagement management can positively impact agent engagement in several ways, including effective scheduling, constructive feedback, and empowering agents to take ownership of their performance. Higher engagement leads to lower churn, which puts agent retention goals within reach.
2. Quality scores
Contact centers typically have targets for quality scores that result from the quality management process. Software that streamlines the process, adds consistency, and makes it easier to coach agents will help contact centers meet these goals.
3. Customer satisfaction
When you have engaged and happy agents who are well coached and vested in continuous improvement, your customers will notice. Engaged agents will deliver better customer experiences and that will be reflected as higher customer satisfaction scores.
The workforce management software that is part of the WEM solution set is designed to manage staffing levels and, therefore, labor costs. When used effectively, it can help ensure the contact centers aren't overstaffed, making it easier to stay within budget goals.
5. Abandon rates and queue times
Workforce management software doesn't just make sure contact centers aren't overstaffed, it also helps ensure they aren't understaffed. Understaffing causes queue times to increase, leading to higher abandon rates. Being optimally staffed increases the chances of meeting queue time and abandon rate targets. Bonus - it also helps agent experience.
It might not be explicitly stated as a goal, but no contact center ever wants to be out of compliance. Recording software not only plays a role in the quality management process, but it also helps contact centers comply with relevant laws and regulations, especially when it includes features that mask sensitive information.