Ever heard the saying, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy?” Well, that sentiment just as true for adults as it is for children. No matter what line of work we’re in, if there is no element of fun or play in what we do, burnout looms just around the corner.
Of course, different things spell fun for different people. For some, pure enjoyment of their job provides the needed element of fun. For others, working hard becomes a game in itself, as they do their very best in order to scale that corporate ladder, or earn the most money possible. But most people enjoy a little light-hearted fun interspersed throughout their workday, as well, to keep them motivated and boost their morale on a day-to-day basis.
What forms can this everyday fun take? Just about everybody loves a friendly competition. And what better environment for such a contest than a contact center? Goals unify individual agents and the center, and implementing games or fun activities can lighten the atmosphere and strengthen company culture.
Set up a white board or a chalkboard at the front of the room. You can write each agent’s name on it, and leave a space for tally marks beside each one. Or, if you want to get really elaborate, you can decorate a bulletin board to look like a racetrack, and make a horse for each employee.
Then, instruct your agents to raise their hand each time they make a sale. (If your call center does not handle sales, adapt this to your own needs. For example, have employees raise their hand each time they help a caller successfully, without having to transfer the call.) Move the agent’s horse a space ahead, or make tally marks on the board beside his or her name, to mark each success.
After a predetermined amount of time has passed – which can range from the afternoon shift to one full month, or anything in between – reward the employee with the most successful calls. Prizes can be anything, from candy to gift cards – the spirit of competition and the recognition are what really matter.
You’ve heard the old sales encouragement that every ‘no’ just takes you one step closer to a ‘yes.’ Well, show your employees that you believe it by celebrating those hang-ups and no’s. Set up a board or a racetrack as before, but this time, have agents raise their hands when they’ve just been hung up on. Prizes can be awarded as before. If your contact center is a help desk, rather than a sales force, you could turn this game on its head, and celebrate those who turn the angriest customers into satisfied ones by the end of each call.
Raise money for a favorite cause by letting your employees dress down for a day. Charge a certain price to receive a ticket that exempts employees from the standard work dress code. They could be allowed to wear jeans and a T-shirt instead of slacks and a pressed shirt. Take it a step further by fining people who participate in the dress down day without having bought an exemption ticket! You could allow this option any day of the week or just for a specific day, such as Friday. If your work already has a casual Friday, consider having the charity dress down day on Monday or Thursday instead.
Kick it back to the 80s, have Halloween in July, or fast-forward to the future by encouraging your employees to get creative and dress according to a certain theme. Have lunch catered that day and craft it around the theme as well. Make it a potluck! For example, a Hawaiian theme could include a fruit platter shaped like a palm tree, ham (for a pig roast), cucumber salad, shrimp skewers, and fruit punch. Consider having games/contests revolve around the theme (limbo contest or hula dancing) for additional entertainment and teambuilding.
Allow your employees the opportunity for professional growth by hosting developmental courses on-site once every quarter. Courses can range from individual development to teambuilding exercises. Such professional courses benefit the employees by providing an opportunity to enhance or refresh their skillset while boosting employee retention for the employer.
Another option is to take a weekend retreat. Off-site courses allow employees to physically and mentally remove themselves from the office and entirely focus on the coursework at hand. They may also feel less restricted by being in a different location, allowing them to open up more and fully engage with the process.
Show appreciation for your employees by celebrating their milestones. A cake, card, and some balloons can do wonders for overall moral and makes the celebrated person feel that their employer cares about them as an individual. Retirements, birthdays, weddings, and graduations are all important milestones to celebrate. Consider too sending flowers to a sick employee or throwing a goodbye party for an individual moving on to a new company. It does not need to be extravagant: The fact that you are even recognizing them is enough for most.
Rewarding employees with small tokens of appreciation for winning games, will bring a more relaxed, and yet more focused atmosphere to your contact center, as agents compete, all in a spirit of fun.