Employee Engagement Techniques for Contact Centers to Reduce High Turnovers

Employee Engagement Techniques for Contact Centers to Reduce High Turnovers

Employee Engagement Techniques for Contact Centers to Reduce High Turnovers

Employee Engagement Techniques for Contact Centers to Reduce High Turnovers. Today’s guest post is from Tenfold the original article can be found here.

The staff turnover is one of the biggest problems that contact centers face today. It has a huge impact on the costs and the quality of service. According to the 2016 US Contact Center Decision Makers’ Guide from ContactBabel.com – the Average annual turnover rate for a customer service representative (CSR) was 29% – an “average lifespan” for a call center worker in the USA was approximately 3.3 years – with quit rates representing 60% of Total Turnover.

Employee Engagement Techniques for Contact Centers to Reduce High Turnovers

The rate of turnover differs by geography, employment factors and by industry. There is a lower turnover in more specialized, higher level jobs and in union environments.

Turnover rate is much higher in routine, order-taking positions or in outbound telemarketing where burnout is high. Larger Contact Centers tend to have higher turnover than smaller ones.

Staff attrition has consistently been quoted as one of the major worries of contact center management.

A high level of unchecked attrition has a two- headed effect: First, it raises recruitment and staffing costs; Second, it has a ripple effect that can cripple a contact center’s ability to provide an acceptable level of service, creating a negative customer experience, and placing massive stress on those agents who are left.

Regardless of size or industry sector – over time it is a statistically inevitable reality that the demands of call center work causes exhaustion and apathy – and turnover.

Reasons Why Contact Center Agents Quit or Get Terminated

What are the reasons behind the high turnover rate? Like most situations, the answer cannot be reduced to a single factor, but is instead a combination of workplace environmental influences.

  1. Wrong Candidate for the Job – Just because someone can use a telephone it doesn’t mean that they’re cut out to work in a Contact Center. Employers need to be able to weed out the job candidates who aren’t suited for the work – and identify the people with the personality/job fit/soft skills motivation & work ethic to be (above average) agents.
  2. Incomplete or minimal training – Everybody knows the story. Due to increasing customer service demands and decreasing numbers of agents, cuts must be made somewhere, and training time is often where the axe falls. While companies who invest less in agent training to not lose as much investment when an agent leaves the company, they suffer indirect losses in other ways. Customer services levels, for instance, are directly affected by the skills of the agent. Those skills must be developed and nurtured to deliver superior customer service. Most of the time, customer service agents are entry-level employees who have little or not experience working in a call center. Without proper training, agents can easily become weighed down by the stress and workload of dealing with unsatisfied customers. To make matters worse, they are also expected to use technology that’s complicated and outdated, not to mention decades apart from the consumer technology these 20-somethings are immersed in on a daily basis.
  3. Narrow Chances of Career Advancement – According to a recent ProSci study, 12% of call centers surveyed had no formal training program in place for new supervisors. A managerial staff that lacks personal management skills or coaching abilities cannot direct the progress of the call center toward superior customer service levels. Poorly prepared management staff communicates an undesirable message of apathy and frustration to the call center staff.
  4. Non-Competitive Compensation – Low pay & lack of medical benefits are also key reasons that CSR Quit Rates are high. Many call centers don’t provide their employees with competitive salary and benefit packages, so agents are forced to seek employment elsewhere.
  5. Overwork and Burnout of More Experienced Agents – In a workforce experiencing high turnover, the burden of maintaining customer service levels fall to the more experienced agents. This
    increases the stress level of the seasoned agent, and reduces the motivation for an agent to increase his or her customer service skills. Placed into a position of high expectations with little or no relief or reward in sight can depress the morale of the most buoyant agent.
  6. Unpleasant Physical or Interpersonal Working Conditions – The erratic schedules cause health problems for agents. So is the stress that goes with the high-pressure work environment that can demotivate agents. During times of high turnover, remaining agents may be asked to take on double shifts, leading to many unsatisfactory consequences.
  7. Exhaustion from Monotony – Performing the same task day after day, with little room for taking on new challenges, can make agents emotionally and mentally exhausted. Most contact centers have strict scripts/pitches and rigid observance to processes in an effort to simplify tasks and achieve consistency in service. However, the downside of these shifts means that agents get to exercise little to no autonomy or creativity in their work. The monotony and lack of challenge in the work leads to burnout.
  8. Poor Leadership & Direct Supervision – Team leaders are crucial when it comes to employee management and retention. Poor leadership is among the leading factors that drive employees to resign because it results in bad management, lack of teamwork, and messy communication lines. Supervisors, who view their role as overseer and disciplinarian, quickly create an environment of apathy & frustration in their staff.
  9. Working with Outmoded Technology – Working with cumbersome software that is complicated and non-intuitive diminishes agent productivity, forcing agents to take
    on additional, time consuming tasks. They have to search for messages to respond to instead of being assigned the right conversation based on skill specialty, determine the customer’s previous interactions with the company – i.e. asking the customer to repeat themselves on their inquiry, and moving back and forth between different tabs and systems to get customer profiles and history. These deviates the focus from the customer and all efforts goes after the process, which adds to agent stress and frustration.
  10. Poor Analysis of Call Center Statistics (Salt Mine scenario) – The Salt Mine is a call/contact center where the agents are rigorously measured against a variety of call statistics, and punished when those statistics are not met. While call statistics are an incredibly helpful tool in analyzing the performance of a call center, the ultimate goal should be to provide quality customer service, not to decrease call handling time at the expense of both the agents and the customer. Unrealistic expectations are de-motivators, not incentives.

Employee Engagement Techniques to Reduce Turnover

Contact centers have to change their reputation and transition from least favored to most preferred places to work. While there are and unfortunately will always be some poorly managed contact centers, there are also hundreds of organizations where agents are fully engaged, treated with respect, and highly rewarded for their work. Millennials want to feel part of their community, whether at work or at play. The best way to achieve this goal is to set up a work environment where agents feel involved and engaged in everything from the company mission to their contact center team and the customers they serve.

Through employee engagement, companies can boost their employees’ motivation, build confidence in their work, and ultimately lead them to deliver exceptional customer service for long-term customer loyalty. With the onset of the new millennial generation, old and rusty work cultures are rapidly breaking down. This is a cue for businesses that they need to get real insights from their workforce through employee engagement tools and techniques that can motivate and drive workplace satisfaction and productivity.

I. The Rise of Gamification – Gamification is proving to be an effective tool for identifying and recognizing agents and other employees for a job well done. Even better, it is also a self service tool, which means that agents control their own destiny when it comes to recognition and rewards, which frees supervisors and managers from this essential but time-consuming task. Gamification solutions actively engage agents in their own success, which is characteristic of leading contact centers.

Employee Engagement Techniques for Contact Centers to Reduce High Turnovers

The psychology behind gamification is that it uses regular and consistent positive feedback – points, badges, status, progression, etc. – to build up the users’ motivation. Its sudden growth can be attributed to the dramatic and measurable benefits of gamification: up to a 25% increase in productivity, a 90% reduction in training time and a 70% reduction in the cost to onboard a new hire. It also substantially enhances employee engagement. When used correctly, gamification links participant goals to company priorities in a way that makes work fun and increases profits.

II. Compensation – Creating a compensation plan that rewards top employees is an excellent way to drive performance. In the large majority of the employee engagement surveys conducted by TalentMap, compensation receives one of the least favourable ratings among all of the dimensions of employee engagement. An analysis published by Harvard Business Review showed that performance-related pay was positively associated with job satisfaction, organizational commitment, and trust in management. Compensation also serves as recognition in the absence of other cues, messages or signals.

III. Assessing Cultural Fit – Call centers are used to assessing employee performance through hard metrics. This is a key mistake, as academics have noted that employees who fit in well with their job, team and organization have greater job satisfaction, are more likely to remain in their organization, and show superior job performance. Social connectivity is a fundamental and overlooked factor which can often lead to easily-identifiable desirable action. Hiring managers can start measuring social dynamics by being open and honest with themselves and with colleagues about the call center social environment: what kind of person will succeed here. Social profiling and data analysis can be a key ‘voice in the room’, giving additional weight to decisions over which course of action to take.

Employee Engagement Techniques for Contact Centers to Reduce High Turnovers

IV. Competent Technology, Tools and Training – To deliver their best, agents should be given the latest technology for excellent omnichannel customer service and receive the proper training required to master these tools. Using a contact center software solution with advanced features ensures quicker and more efficient service, and thorough training will help agents feel prepared for each interaction. According to the “Emerging Workforce Study”, 41% of employees plan to leave organizations with a “poor” training score as opposed to just 12% for those organizations with a rating of “good”. With in-depth training sessions through e-learning, virtual assistance, and scripting tools, clearly establish company goals and expectations and provide your agents the confidence to tackle any initiative.

Employee Engagement Techniques for Contact Centers to Reduce High Turnovers

Empower Employees to Quickly Resolve Customer Needs – For every 1% improvement in first call resolution rate, contact centers will see a 1% improvement in customer satisfaction rates, and a 1- 5% improvement in employee satisfaction. But how can one improve first call resolution rates?

  • Database management integrations (CRM, WFM, Ticketing, etc.) with your call center solution to offer immediate access to all client records
  • Use of advanced call routing tools to match customers to agents based on skill-sets
  • Use of advanced call center scripting solutions to empower employees to quickly resolve customer needs and improve their overall job satisfaction

V. Experiment with Team Structure – We increasingly need to recruit people to integrate into a fast-paced team: according to McKinsey, 40% of jobs in developed economies involve a high degree of collaboration. Switch your agents tasks on occasion, encourage collaboration, and create team- building exercises. It will facilitate agent enthusiasm and interest, while keeping them on their toes. Communication and sharing of knowledge between individuals has a huge impact on customer service performance: the happier an employee is in their environment, the more engaged that person will be in his or her day-to-day job. More and more companies are using data- driven personality testing to help them in these crucial managerial decisions.

VI. Go Beyond the Metrics – While it is extremely important, if not essential, to monitor agent performance metrics (service level, agent schedule adherence, call resolution, average handle time, customer satisfaction) it shouldn’t never be the sole means by which to define an employee’s capabilities and potential. In fact, many call center employees site the narrow grading metrics contact centers generally adhere to as a key cause of in-office stress and lack of productivity. Supervisors must recognize there are other factors at play that could be interfering with an agent’s performance. Regardless of whether employees are performing “well” or “poorly”, reach out to each and review what is working and what is not—the findings could very well provide key insights otherwise unavailable using traditional KPIs.

VII. Communication – Communication is a powerful tool that can have an enormous impact on the success of any organization. Effective communication can increase employee engagement, boost workplace productivity, and drive business growth. Communication is the cornerstone of an engaged workforce. Specifically, communicating strategies about career development and management can be essential to retaining an existing work force, and engaging employees to perform at their peak ability. Research shows that keeping employees informed with personal, relevant, and engaging communication gives companies a competitive edge and has direct results on the bottom line.

Employee Engagement Techniques for Contact Centers to Reduce High Turnovers

VIII.  Allowing Downtime – Your workers are people, and people need downtime. There’s a growing trend of companies looking to utilize their employees’ downtime for good.  Also, to not let their employees’ inevitable breaks go completely to waste. Rather than forcing employees to take very short breaks, and logging those breaks fastidiously, managers should encourage groups of employees to take breaks at the same times. By doing this, employees will spend more time together, encouraging social bonding.

A well known MIT study tested just this: by ensuring that everyone on the same call center team took a break at the same time. A bank’s call center AHT fell by more than 20 percent among low performing teams, and fell by 8 percent overall. Canada and the EU have call center turnover rates of 25 percent and 15 percent respectively. This is far higher than the 33 percent rate seen in the US. It’s often said that the work environment in Canada and the EU countries is more relaxed and flexible than in the US: perhaps this is one reason behind the difference.

IX. Optimize the Workspace – Given the intense nature of a contact center, a workspace optimized for comfort and productivity is absolutely necessary. A lounge is a great way to show appreciation for agents’ well-being and to encourage employees to socialize during their downtime. For training and meeting purposes, open and collaborative spaces are ideal. Ergonomic chairs and supplies and even standing desks can increase comfort, as well as natural lighting, warm colors, and plants which are proven to boost people’s moods and creativity.

X. Provide Meaningful Rewards and Recognition – Employees stay where they feel appreciated. Encourage individual management recognition but also develop organizational recognition vehicles. Simple recognition of jobs well done in the quarterly newsletter, pictures on the bulletin board, dinner gift certificates, and other small rewards provide a high return on investment. Companies with employee recognition programs experience a 22% lower turnover rate than organizations without one. Using a combination of rewards, public recognition, one-on-one praise, and promotions, create a healthy environment in which agents feel appreciated and valued. A little competition between peers is also a great way to drive productivity but should never be the sole means of measuring agent performance and contributions.

XI. Promoting Good Leadership – Being an empathetic manager that is willing to get to know their people beyond work have more engaged teams.

XII. Establish Growth Opportunities – An astounding 32% of contact center employees cite “lack of career development opportunities” as a reason for terminating their employment. As a supervisor, if you fail to clearly present and offer opportunities for advancement it is extremely likely employees fail to see the long-term benefits of staying. Ensure development opportunities are clearly established and communicated to agents on a continuous basis. It will encourage them to remain with the company while striving to reach for those elevated opportunities.

XIII. Covet Community Service As Much As Customer Service – People are inspired by and want to work for companies that care about all human beings – not just customers and employees. You are much more likely to hang on to talented staff if you can show them the reason their wages are so laughable is that half of what they should earn goes toward feeding the hungry, housing the homeless, and rehabbing former child TV stars. Also, be sure to give agents a few paid days off each year to volunteer for their favorite charity/non-profit organization; the time off the phones will help to minimize their whining about back pain and Carpal Tunnel flare ups.

Contact centers are challenging but highly rewarding departments in which to work. The influx of Millennials is driving companies to assess and re-evaluate their people engagement approaches and practices. Many companies are realizing that they need to make changes and investments. This is necessary if they want to have a contact center with highly motivated and engaged employees. This will me them become an employer of choice.  Workforce management, agent self-service and gamification applications provide tools that empower and engage agents. This brings out the best in them. Undoubtedly, this will help to improve agent satisfaction and retention, but it will also have a positive impact on customer satisfaction and the bottom line, as agents who are engaged and empowered are willing to take ownership and will do what it takes to resolve customer issues and keep customers happy.

This similar post will give you some additional ideas to engage your employee base Employee engagement activities for your small business.

15 Employee Engagement Activities For Your Small Business

15 Employee Engagement Activities For Your Small Business

This is a guest blog post from Clicktime The original post can be accessed here. 15 Employee Engagement Activities For Your Small Business

Employee engagement is more than a buzzword.

15 Employee Engagement Activities For Your Small Business. Time and time again, studies have found that higher employee engagement rates contribute to greater productivity and with it, profitability. According to the Gallup State of the American Workplace Report companies were indicated to also experience 37% less absenteeism and 90% less turnover.

So, why do so few small businesses invest in employee engagement? Three words: budget, budget, and budget. With limited resources, it’s easy to see why investing in employee engagement tends to dwell on the bottom of SMB to-do lists. But here’s the good news. There are many low-cost ways for small businesses to increase employee engagement, and with it, foster a happy and healthy work environment.

1. Host a Brown Bag Presentation

Often used for training or information sessions, a brown bag is an employee-hosted casual meeting during lunch with a short presentation on a topic that usually relates to the business. Participants bring their lunches, listen in, and ask questions. Learning from a fellow co-worker versus reading a 60-page PDF is certainly optimal, and far more memorable.

2. Take a Half Day and Hang Out

Friday is known to be the least productive day of the week. The work slows down, people slip off to happy hour, and slam their computers shut at 3:00. Once in a while, encourage a final boost of productivity by offering a half day and then afterwards getting the team together for an outdoor event. This can be anything from a picnic in the park to a department-vs-department sporting event to a relaxing barbecue where employees can invite friends and family.

15 Employee Engagement Activities For Your Small Business
Photo by rawpixel.com on Unsplash

3. Try to Complete an Escape Room

An escape room is a physical adventure game, where puzzles and riddles have to be solved using clues and other strategies to get from one room to another. Perfect for the small company, escape rooms are known for encouraging teamwork. Learning to communicate with each other and solve puzzles is a positive skill that is directly transferred to the workplace. Another plus is seeing how individuals think and come up with solutions so you know the best person to bring certain problems to.

4. Host Work Clubs

Ever notice how certain hobbies bring about like-minded people? There can be different work clubs for beer, fantasy football, improv, and more! They’re a great way to change the conversation from purely work to personal life, and offer an environment to develop friendships in. When co-workers are also friends, they’ll be more likely to help each other out at work, which makes working less stressful and more enjoyable. A workplace comprised of good friends consists of better communication and greater engagement as a whole, which means they’ll be sticking around for a while. The Society for Human Resources Management found that the more friends an employee has at work, the more likely they are to reject another job offer.

5. Make Onboarding and Learning Fun

Ever have a job where you’re told that the first few months are like drinking out of a firehose? It can be stressful to have to learn so much in such a short time. If you have a lot of new information for employees to learn, you can make things easier by gamifying the process. Whether you have unique terminology for your line of business, lots of stats, or case studies, there are all sorts of creative ways you can incentivize learning. Encourage competition and set up an afternoon trivia game between teams, or hand out personal quizzes and set a timer. (Don’t forget the prizes!) Once onboarding is finished, have your new employees present to the larger team to ensure they understand the rules, regulations, and processes at your business.

6. Ask for Feedback Often — and Act upon It

Everyone wants to be heard. This is as true in the office as it is anywhere. Make it clear that you care and want all feedback — the good, the bad, the ugly. Then actually do something. Let your team know what you are changing or implementing based on what feedback was received. Connecting the feedback to real change makes employees feel valued and appreciated. The smaller a business is, the fewer decision makers there are. To act in the majority’s best interest, bring your employees’ voices in to help make decisions. Send out surveys on which snacks they’d like, how to utilize a currently empty room, or which brown bag topic they’d like next. Knowing one is heard and respected provides a huge incentive to stay.

7. Promote Perks That Support Physical and Mental Health

As a small business, providing great care is expensive. It also eats away at other perks you could be offering, and when 4 out of 5 employees want benefits more than a pay raise, it’s time to get with the program. Try giving a stipend each month to go to exercise classes or see a nutritionist. Employees will love the perks, be more encouraged to make healthy decisions, and feel that you really care about their well-being. Healthy employees also need less sick time, get more done, and are generally happier!

8. Offer Healthy Snacks

More and more, employees are expecting snacks in the office. (I blame the millennials!) You can help everyone out by offering snacks that give your team energy without the sugar crash. No more digging into the receptionist’s candy bowl — make it a fruit bowl. Healthy food improves concentration, provides lasting energy, helps with digestion, and overall increases happiness levels. For snacks consider having avocados, blueberries, nuts, and other fruits to munch on.

9. Ongoing Training and Mentorship

Once onboarding is complete, that shouldn’t mark the end of learning. Employees who are consistently challenged are more engaged! Communicate with employees and find out who their mentors are. Make an effort to connect young employees with other mentors you know of to help them grow. This will help build solid work experience, and offer your employees a way to grow their skills, their network, and their careers.

10. Bring in Motivational Speakers

This idea may be skipped over more than it should be. Having a good motivational speaker can do wonders. Think about your favorite pep talk or an inspiring speech from your favorite movie. Goosebumps, right? You’d watch it on YouTube the night before your 5,000 word essay you haven’t started and bang it out. Now, imagine hearing one for real. It may sound cheesy, but motivational speakers can be genuinely inspiring, and a good story can reignite some fading embers and inspire your employees to reach farther and work harder.

11. Sip’n’paint Night Vs Hackathon (Creatives vs Brainiacs)

Know what employees appreciate? Choices. Have activities geared more toward right-brained individuals, and activities geared more toward left-brained individuals. Then, encourage full participation at both! Each event will have different stars of the show, and give others the opportunity to try something new. Add in a little wine, and those not holding a paintbrush or clicking away can mingle and chat with others.

12. Create a Comfortable Work Space

Think about it. When your back hurts, when the sun is too bright, when the coffee machine is broken — are you really thinking about work? Make sure your employees have all the supplies they need to feel comfortable and focus for longer periods of time. Keep snacks stocked, the AC at a reasonable level, and be willing to invest in good chairs and more. Making the office feel like the home office will increase productivity and satisfaction. If you could use a time tracker to see how many hours your team spends in the office, you would agree: It’s time for better chairs.

13. SWAG

Everyone has seen the company backpacks, fleeces, and water bottles. They’re useful, memorable, and pretty cool! It’s a great way to get the word out when others see them and ask about the company, and employees can feel company pride using them. Some kind of onboarding goodie bag is a treat, and having smaller knick knacks to give away such as bottle openers and stickers are also fun for employees. Never underestimate the value of SWAG, it really is something that employees talk about and want to have.

14. Performance-based Promotions

Retention, you say? Millennials are notorious for job hopping, staying at the same company between 18 months and 3 years. Giving promotions based on performance rather than tenure can motivate employees to stick around longer if they continue to advance. Emphasizing performance will encourage more consistent communication between leaders and employees, build trust, and strengthen mutual respect. These take time and dedication to achieve, something an engaged employee won’t want to lose so soon.

15. Freedom in the Office

In 1981, Adam Osborne invented the very first laptop, “Osborne 1”. With all the major technological advancements made to computers since, laptops are more portable and cheaper than ever before, and there should be no excuse as to why any employee shouldn’t have access to one. Being constrained to a desk for several consecutive hours has been shown to cause back pain, migraines, and dangerous blood clots. Instead, have employees freely move to rooms they can concentrate better in, stretch their legs throughout the day, and reap the benefits of a more productive, happy employee.

Investing in your employees’ happiness and education is the key to fostering employee engagement, and will ultimately benefit the both of you in the long term.

See also our post on How to Engage Employees in 2018.

How to Identify Your Company’s Next Generation of Leaders

How to Identify Your Company’s Next Generation of Leaders

How to Identify Your Company’s Next Generation of Leaders. Enjoy this guest post from Clicktime.

When looking for your next generation of leaders, it makes sense to cultivate the widest pool you can manage. So why, when thinking about the future, do so many executives limit their options? In fact, when trying to find future leaders, companies tend to fall into three common issues:

  1. Current leaders overvalue job performance, and undervalue character traits.
  2. Current leaders tend to promote people who look, talk, act, and manage like they do.
  3. Current leaders overvalue their own opinions, and undervalue those of their employees.

As the companies become more diverse, missteps like these can blind you to a wealth of promising candidates. Let’s fix that!

What follows are five ideas that can help you better identify the prospective leaders lurking in your company:

How to Identify Your Company’s Next Generation of Leaders

Performance Matters. But Potential Matters More.

In most companies, the best performers get promoted to managerial positions. Unfortunately, as anyone who’s suffered under a bad manager knows, job skills don’t always translate into leadership skills. The best employee may not always make the best leader.

So how about this? Maybe your best salespeople, marketers, or engineers can serve your company better by remaining the best salespeople, marketers, or engineers. Then, when looking for leaders, you can focus less on job performance (though that matters, of course).  Focus more on actual leadership skills. Like boundless curiosity. Or emotional intelligence. Or an outstanding ability to communicate.

Put differently, when trying to identify future leaders, simply skimming from the top layer of job performers isn’t always the best strategy.

Look for People Willing to Try Different Solutions — and Accept the Consequences

Pointing out problems is easy. What’s harder? Coming up with solutions. What’s even harder? Being wise enough to change things when the first solution doesn’t work.

Great leaders aren’t only those with the best ideas. They’re also willing to accept responsibility for the decisions they’ve made. Even —or especially —their failures. That’s what inspires other people.

So when looking for leaders, it’s not only important to search for creative thinkers. You also want to find people with the courage to fail, publically, and to reevaluate their strategies accordingly.

How to Identify Your Company's Next Generation of Leaders
Photo by Jeremy Beadle on Unsplash

The Best Leaders Are Not Always Those Who Talk the Most

Studies show that people who talk the most in meetings (and who talk more rapidly) tend to be rated as more intelligent. Those people also overwhelmingly tend to be male. (Huge surprise there.)

Put differently, those people who seem to be leading in group settings may in fact not be leading at all – they’re just talking a lot. Don’t be suckered in! Maybe the best leader is the person best able to build consensus. Or the quiet person who waits to speak, but comes up with the most forward-thinking solution.

Furthermore, great leaders don’t all exhibit the same style. Some are extroverted, but plenty are more reserved and thoughtful. It may take employees longer to trust a more introverted leader, but those bonds can be far deeper.

Trust Your Employees’ Opinions

Too many executives tend to imagine that they can easily pick out the employees with leadership potential. But relying too much on your own opinions can limit the range of people you notice.

Here’s a different idea: ask your employees what they think. Every once in a while, ask all employees who, other than themselves, they think possesses the most leadership potential. Whom would they follow into uncharted territory? To whom would they most trust their jobs, or the future of the company?

This bottom-up approach to identifying leaders can pay huge dividends: you’re not only telling your employees that you value their opinions, you’re also locating people whom employees already look to for guidance.

Try Randomness (at Least Temporarily)

Admissions officers at Ivy League colleges often admit that they could have chosen a class made of up an entirely different group of applicants, and that that class would have been as successful as the one they did choose.

What’s the lesson? Sometimes the difference between success and failure isn’t about internal qualities. Sometimes its about opportunity.

A standard method of locating potential leaders is to pre-select some promising candidates. Then test them out in more demanding settings. But what would happen if you chose employees at random and gave them all more complex tasks?

Sure, some employees wouldn’t enjoy the experience. But you’d certainly find others who didn’t know they had it in them. They end up thriving at more leadership-oriented tasks.

Sometimes the best way to outwit your own biases is to try a more random approach and see what comes of it.  How to Identify Your Company’s Next Generation of Leaders.

See our post Three steps to becoming a better leader

How to provide leadership to a staff

How to provide leadership to a staff

The greatest sins of a successful person 

How to provide leadership to a staff. The greatest sins of a successful person.  This is a guest post by author Melisa Marzett. There is a huge difference between a leader and a boss. The boss is a person who is intends to control you. Unlike the boss, the leader wants to teach you, to give you a hand if you faced certain difficulties. As a rule, such a person is a live example for all the employees. However, a huge amount of work must be done to reach this height. This essay is intended to help entrepreneurs and businessmen to find a direction to develop leadership qualities, improve communication with a staff and acquire basic qualities of a good businessman.

  • All the demons are hidden inside and one of them is our inability to pull ourselves together and start working. This is a common “sin” of any person and due to its influence, one can’t succeed. There is only one common feature in the biographies of all the famous people, they worked and worked hard to achieve what they currently have. Having chosen a direction (it can be custom writing, business, marketing, web design etc.) build up a plan for further development. What you should do, learn or master to get the desired job or to earn the necessary amount of money to start your own business.

How to provide leadership to a staff. The greatest sins of a successful person 

  • The time is your closest friend and the most dangerous enemy. People usually say:” I wish I had more time” and it is not surprising since they’re just unable to control it. Our memory is a complex system but unfortunately, it sometimes fails us. As a result, you might be late for an important meeting, forget your tasks on the issue of the day etc. There is a small but nevertheless simple solution to this problem. As far as you might have guessed. It is a schedule of the day. This one should include all your objectives and goals for today with all the information necessary not to be late such as time of the meeting, specific details and so on.
How to provide leadership to a staff
Photo by Andreas Klassen on Unsplash

How to provide leadership to a staff. The greatest sins of a successful person 

  • In the previous part of this essay, it was mentioned that a single direction should be selected. This approach also demands a deep research. Obviously, the internet is filled with books on the topics that might be interesting and useful for you and your future or current work. There is no need to take for granted every word. Even if only five pages are related to your direction, this book is worth reading.
  • It is impossible to talk about success without mentioning our mindset. If you predetermined your defeat, it will happen since one will be convinced of doing nothing because a goal seems unobtainable. This is a huge mistake because according to my experience most of the people failed due to this negative attitude. That’s why it is crucial to keep a positive state of mind and trying to reach a goal by any means.
  • Forget about multitasking, it only decreases your effectiveness. Due to this so-called method, you can’t be focused on a single task. You probably heard an expression: “Jack is a master of everything, but a master of nothing”. It is a reasonable statement since our brain is not capable of receiving information from various sources simultaneously.

How to provide leadership to a staff. The greatest sins of a successful person 

  • Evaluate the work done and make a gap analysis. This is a winning strategy for any businessman to realize your mistakes and try to eliminate them. There are no flawless people, that’s why each of us should do our best to become smarter, more skillful and laborious.
  • The last but not the least recommendation is get proper rest. There is no need to be die because of exhaustion. The body and the mind should have a proper rest to function on a sufficient level.

It is rather difficult to be a true mentor since each of us in on the stage of continuous growing but there are a couple of corporate tricks to create a warmer atmosphere among your colleagues.

How to provide leadership to a staff. The greatest sins of a successful person 

  • Every employee can have a couple of interesting ideas that may be helpful. Conduct interrogations or brainstorm sessions to share fresh ideas for a proper reward.
  • The personal space is extremely necessary for the convenience of all the workers. That’s why any leader should do his or her best to provide it.
  • The fear is not equal to respect. Threatening is not a good approach to have good relationships between you and employees. Do not try to control or follow step-by-step since any person is most likely to be irritated by such actions and rapidly quit.
  • Any decision should be carefully discussed with all the subordinates and all the opinions should be carefully considered.
  • Pointless assignments only exacerbate an authority and also more important tasks will be disregarded or be considered meaningless as well. This is a widespread mistake of all new businessmen since most of them are convinced that they subordinates don’t work.

These are the key components that you can use to provide leadership to your staff.

You can also read 5 Leadership Goal-Setting Tips For Making 2018 A Success and our recent post The major attributes of leadership.

About the author:  Melisa Marzett is an expert in the field of marketing and business. Sometimes she shared her experience with newcomers so they could avoid all the common mistakes of the future dictator. She also writes on a great variety of topics but these ones are the most favorite ones. Melisa works as a freelance writer on Big Paper Writer to apply her knowledge as well. It might be helpful for those who are in need of professional writing service.

How to Engage Employees in 2018

How to Engage Employees in 2018

How to Engage Employees in 2018. As more companies focus on improving employee engagement, exciting ideas are popping up all over the workplace. By treating staff as people and teammates dedicated to simultaneously developing work and personal goals, corporate leaders are finding new and intriguing avenues to explore. These open the door for an improvement in employee productivity and engagement regardless of industry.

Coming into 2018, here are four trending ways to step outside the box and focus more on employee learning and development through updated engagement strategies.

Career Planning and Goals

As we delve deeper into the ways employee engagement works, we learn more about how employees find satisfaction. Lack of advancement is the number one reason employees leave. For early and mid-career workers in particular, the future matters.

Finding a path to growth, with company help and encouragement, connects staff commitment to the future of the enterprise. Employees who don’t feel their career goals matter simply leave, taking their skills, knowledge, and talent elsewhere.

Offering opportunities for advancement can take a variety of forms, from mentoring to financial support for skills development. Offering a list of things a self-motivated employee can do is not enough, however. Companies must actively solicit ideas from their individual staff members and make recommendations as well. Employee satisfaction and retention rise when staff feels like the company cares about their role in the success of the company

Older Employees Offer Value

For late-career workers, recognition of existing skills and expertise inspires company loyalty.  A level of accomplishment in young staffers is provided by work experience. Training cannot accomplish this. In general, older workers have higher retention rates among companies that value their experience and incorporate them into their training programs and culture.

Expand Work/Life Balance Options

Work/life balance has been a major component of employee engagement for some time now. The programs work at helping people integrate their personal and professional lives. It helps in ways that recognize they have value to the company as workers and as people.

A rising trend in for work-life balance is the concept of unlimited paid time off. At first glance, the idea seems to be asking for trouble, with fears of employees abusing the policy or not getting work done. Surprisingly, the opposite occurs.

Employees are focused on getting their work done. They are not focused on the hours they put in.  Also,the freedom to schedule appointments, participate in family activities that occur during traditional work hours, or simply take a mental health break creates a bond of trust between employers and employees. Respect employees for their decisions. As a result, they will take less time off.

Further, unlimited paid time off does not mean unmonitored or uncontrolled schedules. Companies are implementing policies that provide reasonable guidelines for both sides to adhere to. With the right policies in place, companies can have another tool in their arsenal for employee engagement, job satisfaction, and company loyalty.

Connect With Staff Members

Employee engagement strategies often make note of connecting with employees on an individual level. Similarly, understanding staff needs is a crucial part of engagement, but the strategy should not stop at the workplace. Studies show that leaders that get to know and understand their employees on a personal level, not just professionally, improve productivity.

Developing management soft skills creates a circle of engagement between managers and staffers. Communication must work in all directions for it to be effective. Managers can be trained to improve these skills.

When leadership takes seriously the impact an employee’s outside life has on job performance, they can improve engagement. They can also establish trust.  For the hard work to be effective, the manager/employee equation must encourage the process  on both sides.

You may also enjoy our post What is the meaning of sales and marketing and their advantages.

Our guest post this week is by guest author:

freelance editor Rae Steinbach
Rae is a graduate of Tufts University with a combined International Relations and Chinese degree. After spending time living and working abroad in China, she returned to NYC to pursue her career and continue curating quality content. Rae is passionate about travel, food, and writing, of course.
Twitter handle: @araesininthesun
This Article appears in 15five.com

What is the Meaning of Sales and Marketing and Their Advantages?

What is the Meaning of Sales and Marketing and Their Advantages?

What is the Meaning of Sales and Marketing and Their Advantages?

What is the Meaning of Sales and Marketing and Their Advantages?  We are pleased to publish this guest post from Tenfold, one of our collaborative partners who always provides great content. So dig in and enjoy.

Is having a great product the only requirement to run a successful business? For most companies, the answer is no. Why? Because generating sales requires potential customers to understand that a product exists, what it does, and why it’s better than a competitor’s offering.

Further, the responsibility to communicate that information rests on the shoulders of the marketing and sales teams. Typically, marketing has a predominant role at the beginning of a potential sale. For example, a marketing team may develop a new radio campaign to help spread awareness about a product launch. A sales team works to finalize a deal by communicating directly with leads and addressing their concerns.

Another advantage sales and marketing teams exploit, is collaboration. Rather than operating as independent units, strong information and idea sharing between the teams can help improve results and create a seamless experience for prospective buyers.

Here’s a comprehensive overview of the meaning, responsibilities, and techniques of each segment.

Defining Sales and Marketing

Sales include “operations and activities involved in promoting and selling goods or services.”

Marketing includes “the process or technique of promoting, selling, and distributing a product or service.”

These statements highlight two aspects of the sales and marketing relationship:

  1. The responsibilities of each group are closely linked.
  2. Marketing has a vital role in supporting sales.

In practice, the marketing department tends to bear responsibility for raising awareness about a product and generating high-quality leads for a sales team.  A “marketing-qualified lead” is a lead that meets certain criteria set forth by a marketing department.  A “sales-qualified lead” adds to the initial stipulations set forth by marketing to help find the highest value prospects.

At times, a sales department may complain that marketing leads do not meet the standard set forth by the sales team. However, the potential for conflict also represents an opportunity for collaboration. The more effectively the two teams can share ideas, the better aligned their definitions are likely to be.

Sales and Marketing Responsibilities

While sometimes grouped separately, sales and marketing functions overlap. Those businesses that recognize the critical areas of overlap may get more value out of their teams by combining efforts. After all, both sales and marketing have the same end goal: increasing sales.

Sales Responsibilities

Follow up. A key sales function is following up with the leads generated by a marketing department. Successful businesses usually develop a structured handoff process so that each marketing-qualified lead receives appropriate and timely follow-up from a sales team member.

Relationship building. The era of the “hard sell” continues to fade. Modern sales focus on relationship building to help create trust between a buyer and seller. Effective salespersons can understand the needs of the buyer and develop a persuasive—but not pushy—message to help differentiate the company’s product.

Closing. Most salespersons are judged by their ability to turn leads into customers. While some may envision a face-to-face meeting and handshake as the close of a sale, many businesses also close sales online or over the phone. This can broaden the responsibilities of closing a sale to more employees.

What is the Meaning of Sales and Marketing and Their Advantages?

Retention. Sales and marketing have responsibility for improving client retention. By checking in with an existing client, a sales team member can help demonstrate an interest in long-term client success, not just a one-time sale. The ongoing effort to build strong relationships can help improve retention and lead to “upsells”—additional sales beyond the initial purchase.

Marketing Responsibilities

Awareness. An effort to build awareness of a product or service is the first step in the sales process. A successful awareness-building effort may help a prospect recognize a brand or product name or may ensure a company makes the shortlist for purchasing consideration.

Engagement. Engagement efforts build on an initial awareness campaign to deepen a consumer’s connection to a company or product. Marketing materials aimed at engagement may be longer (e.g. a whitepaper or video) compared to a more superficial awareness piece (e.g. direct mailer or radio advertisement).

Conversion. A conversion is the critical transition of a potential customer from an anonymous person to a known lead. For marketing teams, a conversion may be the completion of a web form, the instigation of a web chat, or a phone call to a customer service line.

Retention. Even after a purchase, a marketing team can help a business grow its repeat customers. The retention function of marketing helps maintain awareness and engagement after a sale. This may include email newsletters or invitations to webinars that help a consumer get more value from a product. The retention function of marketing is especially critical for subscription services.

The Role of Technology

Further, today’s technology has a key role in sales and marketing. It also has a role in facilitating collaboration between the two business units.

A prominent example of sales and marketing technology is the customer relationship management (CRM) system. A CRM serves as a single resource will all client information. This information can help sales teams better understand how a customer became a lead. For instance, a CRM may contain information about the source of a lead, such as a trade show or online ad.

From a marketing perspective, a CRM can help track leads throughout the sales cycle. This information can provide valuable feedback to marketing teams about which marketing channels generate the most sales-qualified leads, actual sales, or longest client retention.

Sales and Marketing Techniques

How do sales and marketing teams achieve their goals? The tactics vary based on the industry and company culture.  Also, they have  changed over time.

These are some of the common sales and marketing techniques that form the core of each practice.

Sales Techniques

Limiting the opportunity. The idea of a “limited-time offer” is common in retail, but creating a sense of scarcity is a tactic used in many industries. A limited opportunity may be limited by time (e.g. an offer good for this month only) or availability (e.g. the last pickup on the lot).

Focusing on pain points. An effective salesperson can frame the benefits of a product or service regarding the needs of a client. This means understanding the day-to-day challenges a client faces and focusing on how a product can solve those issues. An emphasis on pain points can also help build a relationship by showing a salesperson’s interest in a customer’s problem.

Making the assumptive close. The assumptive close is a sales technique that changes a request for a “yes” into a “no.” For instance, rather than asking, “Do you want to try this service?”, a salesperson may instead ask, “When would you like us to schedule the installation?”

What is the Meaning of Sales and Marketing and Their Advantages?

Marketing Techniques

Outbound marketing. Outbound marketing represents traditional “push” marketing. This includes television advertisements, direct mail flyers, and cold calling. Outbound marketing tactics often are effective at generating broad awareness among a demographic. However, some modern marketing strategies question the ability of outbound marketing to develop the persuasive, personal marketing messages that build lasting company–customer relationships.

Inbound marketing. Inbound marketing shifts marketing efforts from “push” to “pull.” The core idea behind inbound marketing is to draw potential customers in by creating marketing materials that help consumers. For example, an investment firm may offer a free webinar on retirement planning. Inbound marketing tends to focus first on providing a consumer with something valuable, rather than maintaining an inward focus on delivering a company message.

Technology can help sales and marketing teams:

  1. Identify the most successful tactics.
  2. Make it easier for teams to align best practices.

The analytics provided by a CRM can help identify each touchpoint throughout the marketing and sales process that is critical to a sale. That information, in turn, can provide a data-backed rationale for adjusting the techniques employed in each process.

Further, the modern CRM and supporting technologies may make it easier for sales and marketing teams to implement the techniques that work best. This could include automating the distribution of marketing materials or streamlining the handoff process between teams.

Likewise, technology such as computer telephony integration (CTI) can even help teams handle “unplanned” handoffs, like when a prospect calls a customer service line instead of their dedicated sales representative. CTI integration can help manage real-time access to customer data in a CRM and route calls efficiently to the most qualified representative.

How to Improve a Sales and Marketing Department

The effort to improve a sales and marketing department is ongoing. However, it begins with an understanding of the role of each service so that a business can establish clear and reasonable goals.

From there, the development of each department depends on the identification of the right tactics, which vary based on how a business prefers to interact with its customers.

Finally, along the way, technology can help organize the process and make it more efficient. Also, it can also play a role in improving information sharing between the two departments, which may help each reach their shared goals of more sales and a thriving business.

In conclusion, review the full article on the Tenfold site here.  

Also, see our post How does a sales funnel workWhat is the Meaning of Sales and Marketing and Their Advantages?

 

How to Generate Leads for B2B Sales

How to Generate Leads for B2B Sales. Lead generation is one of the most crucial components of a well-oiled B2B sales and marketing operation. To get more clients, you need to get more people to know about your products and services first.

This guest post by Tenfold pulls back the curtain on lead generation.

How to Generate Leads for B2B Sales. If no one knows what you sell, how do you expect people to buy from you? Lead generation addresses that. In a nutshell, lead generation is the process of cultivating interest in your products and services to generate leads. Leads, in the business-to-business setting, are companies who are interested in your product and are a good fit as customers.

Yes, good fit. Lead generation is more than a numbers game. It’s equally important that you generate quality leads or those which are really suited to be potential customers of your business. These are leads which can be closed by sales or further nurtured to becoming customers.

To generate b2b leads, marketing departments need to take a multi-channel approach. This means they shouldn’t center all their efforts on one avenue–it’s crucial to tap into various channels to get the most bang for their efforts.

Interested in which channels and approaches net the most ROI for B2B marketers? Read on.

How to generate b2b leads: 4 Effective Leadgen Channels

There are many ways to generate leads for B2B companies. However, not all approaches are created equal.

Here are four channels that provide the most ROI for B2B companies.

Content marketing

Today’s most effective marketing techniques heavily rely on content creation–but creating massive amounts of content doesn’t guarantee an outpouring of leads. The key is to create content that sets you apart from other players in the field. Your content has to be remarkable.

The mass production of low-quality content plagues B2B marketing departments today. These content pieces leave readers with very little value to take away.

Since B2B decision-makers, gatekeepers, and influencers are all sophisticated prospects, you must create content that hits them in different pain points throughout their journey as buyers. A solid content marketing strategy for a B2B company is one that is multi-faceted and takes differing buyers’ journeys into consideration.

How to Generate Leads for B2B Sales

SEO

SEO is often regarded as a completely separate matter from lead generation but it plays a very crucial role in generating B2B sales leads.

Most people carry the notion that SEO is only important because it brings people to your website so your brand and content gets noticed. However, with how B2B marketing has evolved in the past few years, SEO is critical in any B2B lead generation effort because it identifies how potential buyers find you.

The importance of “user intent” is one that’s often understated in many marketing departments. Beyond keywords, competitor research, and page analytics, there lies the qualitative data that can elevate the way you do marketing: understanding user intent.

SEO specialists, with their grasp of data, hold the keys to unlocking this knowledge that would help not only the marketing department but the company as a whole. Knowing what your prospects are searching for when they find you holds great value in shaping your messaging and your product as well.

How to Generate Leads for B2B Sales

Social media

Social media is one of the “must-haves” of any marketing effort. Despite this, the majority of B2B marketers are not effective in using social media to generate B2B leads.  According to the Content Marketing Institute, 10% of B2B marketers using social media for B2B leadgen, only 10% are able to report concrete results. This implies that many B2B marketers are still not confident in solidly incorporating social media into their lead gen campaigns.

Therefore, what needs to be recognized and acted upon is that different social media sites provide different marketing value.

Here’s a quick rundown of some popular social media sites for B2B and you can use these to generate leads for B2B sales:

LinkedIn

  • Ideal for showcasing services, posting regular company updates, and advertising new job opportunities within your company
  • “Pulse” feature allows the talking heads of your company to pose themselves as authorities in your niche
  • Sales tools such as LinkedIn Sales Navigator make social selling easier
  • Networking with decision-makers and other stakeholders in your target industries by engaging with them in LinkedIn groups and walls

Twitter

  • Prospect research: industries, job titles, hashtags, connections, lists
  • Engaging with influencers and decision-makers
  • Establish thought leadership through constant updates and engaging in Twitter chats

Facebook

  • Largely considered as B2C playground but gives you access to powerful data
  • Ideal for running very targeted paid ads
  • Some opportunities for professional discussions in Facebook groups

In summary, these are just three of the most popular social media sites that B2B marketers use. Something that should be given more emphasis is the quality and quantity of data B2B marketers can get from these social media sites. Also, monitor your niche using tools like Hootsuite or Mention to keep your team abreast with the latest in your industry so you could create content that reflects the interests of your prospects.

How to Generate Leads for B2B Sales

Email marketing

Econsultancy reported in a study that 73% of marketers regard email marketing as the most superior marketing channel in terms of ROI. It might seem like email marketing efforts are for naught because you try to put yourself in the recipient’s shoes and you think there’s just no way that marketing emails can be effective.

However, doing email marketing right can net you great results. The key is to strike a balance between assertive and polite. If you create emails and subject lines that are able to tickle your audience’s interests, you’ve already done half the job.

In conclusion, with a lot of players using email marketing, it’s essential to know what works and what doesn’t. Therefore, it all boils down to the details. This is  How to Generate Leads for B2B Sales. For a review of this original post and to read other articles by Tenfold access here. Also check out our blog post that gives a specific strategy on How to use Twitter to get leads.