In a recent insightful event, hosted by The Contact Centre Network and FAB Solution Founder Garry Gormley, We invited a panel of experts to delve into the ever-relevant topic of Employee Engagement, especially in the wake of the Great Resignation and the emergence of the concept of Quiet Quitting. The panel, comprising Keith Stapleton, Ian Chapel, and Jimmy Hosang, brought a wealth of knowledge from different angles of the industry.

Understanding Quiet Quitting and Impacts on Employee Engagement in the Hybrid Work Era

Quiet Quitting, a term gaining traction post-pandemic, essentially refers to employees doing the bare minimum required, lacking the motivation to go beyond. This phenomenon isn’t new; terms like ‘coasting’ or ‘work-to-rule’ have described similar attitudes in the past. The panel concurred that this could be a reaction to increasing expectations without corresponding rewards or recognition.  The shift to remote and hybrid work models has fundamentally altered the dynamics of employee engagement. This new era demands a re-evaluation of how leaders engage with their teams. With some employees preferring remote work and others being more office-inclined, leaders face the challenge of managing diverse preferences while maintaining fairness and understanding.

The Role of Data & Onboarding in Employee Engagement Strategies

An interesting point raised during the discussion was the potential overload of data and metrics. While data is essential for understanding employee performance, there’s a growing need to focus on quality over quantity. The panel suggested using data to identify role models within an organisation, promote self-learning, and encourage meaningful conversations.  The onboarding process is pivotal in setting the right expectations and creating a positive initial experience. Honesty and personalisation in the onboarding process can significantly impact long-term engagement. Additionally, incorporating flexibility in work arrangements and recognising the evolving nature of work-life balance are crucial.

Embracing the Side Hustle Culture

An emerging trend is the acceptance of the side hustle culture. Where historically, side jobs or part time jobs have been frowned upon the digital nature of some of the Side hustles means that it can be done in the employees own time, whether its instagram, TikTok or air shipping, the ability to top up a salary especially in an age of impending austerity should be embraced. There should for obvious reasons be a declaration of this to ensure it doesn’t conflict with any internal office policy and allow for leaders and managers to ensure one doesn’t impact the other but side hustle culture is growing and the demographic of contact centre agents often means its appealing. The panel emphasised viewing this not as a threat but as an opportunity to embrace the entrepreneurial spirit within the workforce. Encouraging this culture could lead to more motivated and innovative employees.

Top Tips for Enhancing Employee Engagement

  • 1. Personalisation and Honesty in Onboarding

    • Individualised Onboarding Plans: Create onboarding plans that cater to the unique backgrounds and learning styles of new hires. For instance, a more experienced employee might require a different onboarding approach than a fresh graduate.
    • Clear Communication of Job Roles: Ensure that job descriptions and roles are communicated clearly during the onboarding process. Avoid over-promising or setting unrealistic expectations.
    • Regular Check-ins: Schedule regular one-on-one meetings during the initial months to discuss the new hire’s progress, address concerns, and provide feedback.
    • Mentorship Programs: Pair new employees with mentors who can offer guidance, help them navigate the company culture, and provide support as they settle into their roles.
    • Feedback Mechanism: Implement a system where new hires can provide feedback about their onboarding experience, allowing continuous improvement in the process.

    2. Quality Data Over Quantity

    • Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) Selection: Identify and focus on a few relevant KPIs that genuinely reflect employees’ performance and growth. Avoid tracking an excessive number of metrics that might not provide meaningful insights.
    • Data Visualisation Tools: Utilize tools that present data in an easily digestible format, such as dashboards or infographics. This helps employees understand their performance metrics at a glance.
    • Customised Reporting: Offer employees the ability to customise reports to see the data that is most relevant to their roles and objectives.
    • Training on Data Interpretation: Provide training sessions to help employees understand how to interpret data and use it to improve their performance.
    • Actionable Insights: Ensure that data analysis leads to actionable insights. Encourage managers to use data to guide coaching sessions, rather than solely relying on it for evaluation.

    3. Embrace Flexibility

    • Flexible Work Arrangements: Offer various working arrangements such as remote work, flexible hours, and part-time options. This accommodates diverse lifestyles and commitments of employees.
    • Employee Input in Scheduling: Involve employees in creating their work schedules. This could be through preference surveys or scheduling tools that allow employees to pick shifts.
    • Support for Remote Work: For remote workers, provide necessary tools and technology. Consider also offering stipends for home office setups or co-working space memberships.
    • Regular Virtual Check-ins: Implement regular virtual meetings and check-ins to maintain connection and engagement with remote or flexible schedule employees.
    • Respect for Boundaries: Encourage a culture where off-work hours are respected, regardless of the employees’ work arrangements, to promote work-life balance

In conclusion, the need for adaptability, empathy, and a fresh approach to employee engagement in a remote and hybrid environment. By embracing these principles, organisations can navigate the complexities of employee dynamics post-pandemic, enhancing both employee satisfaction and organisational success.