Workforce Management in the Age of the Millennial Worker
While every contact center agent should have the same goal – providing a great customer experience for every customer regardless of channel – not all contact center agents are the same. They will be motivated by different things, respond to different models of training and need a personal touch in coaching from their managers. Workforce management can go a long way toward helping get the best out of each employee, but only if managers using the solutions know their employees well. Since Millennial generation employees now make up the lion’s share of the workforce, managers need to understand what motivates these younger workers.
According to Guido Stein writing for Forbes, Millennials as a whole do possess characteristics and motivations that differ significantly from earlier generations in regards to the workplace. But they also want to succeed, and this means offering them encouragement in a way their parents, the Baby Boomers, may not have required.
“Millennials, especially ‘junior millennials’ (those born in the nineties), have grown up in a culture of immediacy, surrounded by stimuli,” wrote Stein. “They are impatient, eager for new experiences, and they thrive on short-term goals with visible results. Managers must help them identify opportunities to develop new skills. For example, managers can maintain millennials' attention by frequently assigning new and different projects or temporary positions within the same company. Most importantly, millennials want to be able to ‘level up’: this is, after all, the video game generation.”
For this latter point – the video game generation – the “gamification” of contact center solutions such as workforce management and customer relationship management can help provide shorter-term validation for the efforts of Millennial workers. It’s also critical to remember that Millennials watched their Baby Boomer parents work long hours (often at the expense of their families) and they’re not so keen to repeat the experience. Flexibility in the workforce management process is vital to retaining Millennials.
“Expert multitaskers, today's constantly connected young workers expect flexibility and autonomy in their work,” wrote Stein. “They do not want to be tied to an eight-hour office schedule: they do not share previous generations' elevated view of in-person collaboration, or of marathon work sessions within the confines of an office. They just care about results.”
Money, once the great motivator of previous generations, isn’t the only tool to lure good performance out of Millennials. Younger workers also value a good working environment: the attractiveness of the work itself, mobility (both geographical and between assignments), the opportunity to meet people and network, and a relaxed atmosphere.
That said, Millennial workers do want to grow and learn so they can advance. While many managers might find younger workers’ quirks to be challenging, it’s important to remember that these employees do bring some valuable things to the table their parents did not: the ability to multitask, a positive attitude toward change and technological know-how, a critical characteristic in a technology-driven environment such as the call center.
Edited by Alicia Young