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Supervisors Play a Super-Sized Role in Agent Morale

August 23, 2018

Glengarry Glen Ross. Office Space. (Spoiler alert!) Horrible Bosses.

What do all these movies have in common?

Correct. They are all about the grim existence of workers trying to survive under the tutelage of bad supervisors.

We’ve all heard about the high level of disengagement among workers. Gallup’s State of the American Workplace report suggests that two-thirds of employees are not engaged at work and more than half are looking for new jobs.

Abig reason so many workers are less than excited about their current jobs, and the majority are looking to jump ship, involves having bad bosses.

Bosses matter,” notes this McKinsey & Co. report. “They matter because more than 95 percent of all people in the workforce have bosses, are bosses, or both.”

The research firm adds that bosses set the tone in the workplace. And it says dealing with their immediate boss is the most stressful part of the job for more than 75 percent of employees.

So what makes for a bad boss or a good boss? And what can companies – and contact centers in particular – do to make sure they elevate and hire people who are suited for supervisory roles?

As we all know, bad bosses come in many flavors.

There are those that just don’t seem to care. They ignore employees, miss deadlines, and are unresponsive to employee and organization needs. This behavior may be due to an overly heavy workload, their own lack of engagement, a lack of social skills, or just a personality trait.

Of course, some bosses can be just plain mean. They may belittle workers, take credit for the work of others, and generally make everybody feel uncomfortable and afraid to interact or share new ideas that could rock the boat.

All that can lead to hire worker/agent churn, absenteeism (for mental health days), lack of innovation and collaboration, and lower productivity and employee engagement.

Good bosses, meanwhile, create a sense of community to which workers want to contribute. They greet their workers during every shift.

They speak loudly when a worker or the organization at large has something to celebrate. And they take people aside quietly and constructively when things need to change.

Companies need to remember all that in hiring, promoting, and reviewing supervisors. And they should convey these messages to contact center managers and other leaders with whom employees interact daily.

Customer experience has fairly recently become a big focus for contact centers. To deliver great CX and meet other business goals, contact centers need to pay attention to employee experience as well. And having the right contact center management in place may be the most important thing they can do to achieve that.

Edited by Maurice Nagle