Running a call centre requires a great deal of thought, planning, care, and management. A big part of successful management is having a detailed plan of attack. Within your overarching master plan, you'll find you need to create smaller, more targeted plans for different aspects of management. When assembling your plans-within-plans, don't forget to include an employee management plan. Call center managers would do well to come up with a comprehensive and effective employee management plan to ensure that every employee is properly utilized, trained, and making a positive contribution to the company.
Let’s keep that in mind as we take a look at what an employee management plan is and what it should look like when utilized effectively. We’ll also address some of the challenges managers might face when creating an employee management plan.
What is an Employee Management Plan?
The first thing we need to establish is what exactly an employee management plan is. Simply put, an employee management plan is a detailed outline of goals for improving and maintaining great performance. It also details expectations for training and clearly defines company goals. It’s a way to give your employees a plan for their success, and ultimately improve the profitability of your company. A well-thought-out employee management plan can give your company a framework within which staff members can operate to achieve maximum performance and profitability.
What Makes an Employee Management Plan Effective?
There are a few aspects you’ll need to cover to ensure your plan is effective. Let's go over them below:
Training. An effective employee management plan will detail expectations for proper training. Thorough training and ongoing professional development are important factors in combating the high turnover rates that call centers tend to experience. If you allocate the necessary time and resources to ensuring your employees are properly trained, you’ll find your business will benefit from a number of different advantages, not the least of which is customer retention.
Goals. You can't expect your employees to be successful in achieving their goals if you haven’t clearly defined what those goals are. Make sure all goals are identified and defined in your employee management plan; and be sure to accurately communicate them to your staff. Don’t forget to include space for personal/individual goals — managers should consult with staff to help them set measurable personal goals that will help them develop and hone their skills and further competency levels in their work. Goals should be specific, clear, realistic, and challenging. Remember to reinforce these objectives with recognition, praise, or incentives, for example, to keep inspiring above-average performance.
Company Vision. It’s also important to include your company's vision in your employee management plan. Your company vision outlines your company’s ultimate goal and purpose. Including this in your company's management plan will make your plan more effective because it will work to shape everything you do as a manager — think of it as a way to keep your eyes on the overarching prize. It’s difficult to find any sort of success if you’re never aiming for anything.
Employee Retention. You can’t escape the fact that the call center industry does, unfortunately, tend to experience high turnover rates. You can, however, work proactively to minimize turnover and its detrimental effects in your call center by ensuring your employee management plan includes a sound plan for employee retention. Consider ways you can keep employee morale high and inspire your employees to greatness so they won’t feel the need to look for work elsewhere. This will help you save money and ensure your overall business flow is as smooth as your call flows.
Company Policies. Part of a successful employee management plan is … a well-outlined company policy. Outlining and enforcing policies may be the least enjoyable part of your plan, but it’s very necessary. EmploymentLawHandbook.com offers a few compelling reasons why:
- They help employees know what is expected of them with respect to standards of behaviour and performance.
- They set rules and guidelines for decision-making in routine situations so that employees and managers do not need to continually ask senior managers what to do.
- They help you to adopt a consistent and clear response across the company to continually refer to situations involving employee interaction.
- They allow you to demonstrate good faith that employees will be treated fairly and equally.
- They allow you to have an accepted method of dealing with complaints and misunderstandings in place to help avoid favouritism.
- They set a framework for delegation of decision-making.
- They give you a means of communicating information to new employees.
- They offer you protection from breaches of employment legislation, such as equal opportunity laws.
Job Positions/Descriptions. When running a call center, it is important that the expectations of each job position are clearly laid out. When you are managing a large group of people, it is vital that everyone knows their specific job descriptions in order to keep things running smoothly. Having this information included in your employee management plan will ensure that everyone is properly utilized, appropriately trained and providing a positive contribution to the organization.
Be Ready to Face Challenges
One of the greatest challenges you will likely face when creating an employee management plan is tailoring it so that it is relevant to your employees. There aren’t too many things employees dislike more than feeling their manager is out of touch with what goes on in the day-to-day operations of their organization. To come up with an effective plan that’s relevant to your staff, it’s always a good idea to first discuss your plan with your employees. Instead of assuming, just ask. Ask about details such as their goals and expectations for their jobs. Ask them about areas in their job where they might struggle. This will help you know where to focus when it comes to ongoing training.
As you speak with your employees, you’ll start to get a sense of where their strengths and weaknesses lie. This will help in shaping your plan, as it will enable you to customize it in a way that plays to their strengths but also helps them improve in their weak areas. Taking these simple steps when putting together your employee management plan will go a long way in ensuring your plan remains relevant and effectively accomplishes what it sets out to do.
In addition to remaining relevant, employee management plans may face challenges in the implementation phase. Plans and policies aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on if you don’t properly implement or enforce them. You've probably experienced the inevitable pushback that follows when employees are introduced to new standards, processes, and procedures, so it’s necessary to prepare for this to ensure your employee management plan effectively fulfills its vision. We’ll revisit this topic soon in a second post that will discuss how to successfully implement your employee management plan.
Connect First believes that empowered people can create elegant solutions to complex problems. To that end, our focus is on empowering our staff to create customer-centric contact center solutions, and empowering our customers to better solve the challenges they face in the contact center industry. With 12 years of people-centric business under our belts, we’re proud to offer a robust suite of cloud based call center software solutions, designed with real people and real challenges in mind.
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