The Power of "Ask"

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Often times the solutions to managers problems can be found with their employees. This is especially true in the call center environment. Recently CallCenterCafe.com (callcentercafe.com) focused on this very subject. Learn the simple tactic of asking your employees. They will provide you with the answers that will increase morale and more importantly, productivity.

For Call Center managers, it is not a pipe dream to improve employee moral while increasing productivity. It may even come easy to some to find fresh, new ways to reduce performance problems. Sound like an advertisement for something unattainable? Perhaps try to engage, involve, and connect employees to their work by the power of ASK.

Of course Call Center managers encounter unique problems and situations each day for which they are required and expected to resolve regardless of other demands. To find solutions, managers must analyze statistics, review current processes, and identify needs within the team. However, the most important element of research sometimes lies with the Call Center’s most valuable resources – the employees. So, you ask. Not surprisingly, this approach seldom comes to mind first when managers are faced with team difficulties. However, this seemingly simple concept could lead you to answers and have many other indirect, positive ramifications.

The traditional managerial role within the Call Center may point to the reason behind this lack of asking employees for their feedback. Typically, it is the manager’s responsibility to answer questions. Employees ask the manager how to handle a customer, where to locate information, and the interpretation of policy. For the manager who is used to providing the answers, asking questions of others is a seldom-used skill.

The simple task of asking questions and engaging employees can make the world of difference in your work environment. Employees appreciate and become excited when presented with the opportunity to contribute in a new way. They often put their best foot forward and come up with amazing resolutions and excellent ideas. This involvement provides the opportunity for recognition and accolades and often leads to higher employee commitment when they see their suggestions carried out.

“Employees do not perform nearly as well when they are consistently denied any input in their jobs and are expected to follow unquestionably the decisions of their leaders.”

Dennis Kinlaw

Kinlaw’s book, Coaching for Commitment: Managerial Strategies for Obtaining Superior Performance, he discusses the four elements that support building commitment in employees: These elements include clarity about goals and values, competence to succeed, influence over work, and appreciation for contributions. Involving employees and asking their opinions on the business can raise commitment by validating each of these areas. Let’s explore each with more detail.

Clarity (about goals and values)

  • Communicating goals that employees are expected to meet
  • Then ASK for ways to meet these new goals
  • This ensures a connection to the big picture

Competence To Succeed

  • Train employees on their varied tasks
  • Then offering specific opportunities for them to provide feedback on the training
  • This encourages involvement in ongoing improvements

Influence (over their work)

  • Engaging employees in regular conversation regarding their daily tasks
  • Share their input with the team where it can help lead to success
  • This illustrates their influence over the work environment

Appreciation (for their contributions)

  • Inviting dialog and inquiry – if done properly - will create a safe environment for feedback
  • This will also make employees feel appreciated for their contributions

The key to obtaining honest answers from employees is creating a safe environment for feedback. Make it clear that people will be heard if they are offering constructive solutions. Approach employees in an appreciative manner and thank them for their input. Their responses not only help manager stay in tune with their team’s needs and daily situations, but also can provide answers that the manager did not even think of.

There are opportunities every day to involve employees in workplace decisions. Some issues are best concurred with collaborative efforts. Pursuing input and feedback will increase commitment to the task at hand and result in more satisfied, engaged employees. When you are presented with difficulties and questions, remember you have valuable resources just waiting to be Asked.

This article was published by CallCenterCafe.com (http://www.callcentercafe.com.) The CallCenterCafe.com team is dedicated to providing call center professionals with tools to make their job easier and less time consuming. If you would like to join our bi-weekly newsletter please do so by going to our home page (http://www.callcentercafe.com.)

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