What is workforce engagement management?
Workforce engagement management (WEM) is a strategic approach used by organizations to enhance and optimize employee engagement, satisfaction and productivity. It involves a range of practices, processes and technologies aimed at creating a positive work environment, fostering strong employee-employer relationships and aligning individual and team goals with overall organizational goals.
Workforce engagement is particularly important for customer-facing roles such as sales and customer service since they have a direct impact on the customer experience. WEM cultivates a culture where your employees — especially support and sales teams — feel motivated, valued and productive, driving your organization towards success.
WEM vs. WFM
Workforce engagement management and workforce management (WFM) are two related but distinct concepts. While the former focuses on enhancing agent engagement and satisfaction, WFM primarily concentrates on optimizing workforce scheduling, task assignment and resource allocation. To put it in simple terms, WEM emphasizes creating a motivating work environment — while WFM seeks to manage labor resources efficiently.
WEM vs. WFO
WEM and workforce optimization (WFO) in contact centers share common goals of improving agent productivity and satisfaction. However, WEM emphasizes employee engagement and fostering a positive workplace culture, while WFO encompasses a broader spectrum of practices — including quality monitoring, performance management and compliance tracking in customer service. WEM can be considered a subset of WFO, concentrating specifically on the human aspect of workforce optimization.
WEM vs. QM
Workforce engagement management and quality management (QM) are interconnected in the context of improving organizational performance. WEM focuses on enhancing agent engagement, which contributes to improved customer service and interaction quality. QM, on the other hand, is centered on maintaining and improving the quality of customer service processes. WEM and QM complement each other, as engaged employees often play a crucial role in delivering high-quality support that improves customer satisfaction.
Why do businesses need to invest in workforce engagement management?
Employee engagement is not just a buzzword; it's the basis of organizational success. Engaged agents are more likely to be productive, creative and dedicated — and help promote customer satisfaction and profitability. Investing in WEM is essential for businesses to:
1. Boost agent productivity
A Gallup poll found that engaged employees are 18% more productive. Likewise, when agents feel connected to their roles, they go the extra mile to achieve their tasks and contribute to overall business growth.
2. Enhance agent retention
High turnover rates can be detrimental to a company's stability and culture, especially with highly stressful roles such as customer service. Implementing effective WEM strategies can reduce turnover by creating a positive work environment and meaningful employee experiences.
Learn more: The call center guide to agent retention
3. Improve customer experience
Engaged agents are more likely to contribute to exceptional customer experiences. Their positive attitude and commitment reflect directly in customer interactions, leading to improved customer satisfaction and loyalty.
4. Drive innovation
Engaged agents are more open to innovative thinking and problem-solving. A workforce that feels valued and empowered is more likely to share ideas and contribute to continuous improvement.
5. Strengthen organizational culture
A strong company culture is built on engaged employees who align with the company's values and goals. WEM practices contribute to a positive work culture that attracts and retains top talent, helping you continuously improve the quality of your support.
Components of a workforce engagement model
WEM solutions assist contact centers in empowering their workforce and providing tools to enhance agent performance while maintaining financial efficiency. A comprehensive WEM solution should encompass the following aspects:
1. Communication and collaboration
Communication channels and tools that enable collaboration foster transparency, knowledge sharing and a sense of belonging among employees.
2. Recruitment and onboarding
Efficient recruitment and onboarding processes lay the foundation for agent engagement. These processes establish clear expectations, offer comprehensive agent training and create avenues for agents to seek guidance from the outset. By the end of a successful onboarding process, your agents should feel well-supported and prepared to work independently.
3. Evaluation and enhancement
Both supervisors and agents should be familiar with the metrics used to measure agent performance and customer experience. It's important to comprehend what constitutes a favorable score to be able to work towards improving it.
Ideally, your team should have real-time access to these customer service metrics, enabling them to gain insights into their performance and make adjustments for improvement. Empowering agents to take charge of their growth through self-improvement benefits the organization and individuals.
4. Time management
An effective WEM solution provides insights that aid in superior time management, such as contact center or call center forecasting. Additionally, it supplies metrics indicating the most productive hours, thereby enhancing customer experience.
5. Recognition and rewards
Acknowledging and rewarding employee contributions boost morale and motivation. WEM involves structured recognition programs that highlight individual and team accomplishments.
6. Voice of the employee (VoE) feedback
Within WEM solutions, voice of customer (VoC) feedback has been pivotal. Through call recordings and customer surveys, customer feedback provides insights into employee performance, enabling the identification of potential issues.
Voice of the employee (VoE) feedback is an added element in WEM that augments both employee engagement and the customer experience. It offers the same advantages as VoC but with an additional perspective that further boosts employee engagement.
7. Performance management
Transparent performance feedback through contact center or call center agent performance scorecards, regular evaluations and goal-setting processes are critical to WEM. Constructive feedback helps employees understand expectations and areas for improvement.
What are the applications contained within WEM?
WEM is designed to streamline and automate various processes and improve overall contact center operations. This is accomplished by key applications including:
1. Quality enhancement tools
These tools gather data and employ analytics to enable continuous improvement in performance, supported by evaluations and integration with agent coaching.
2. Productivity management software
This software empowers both agents and supervisors to drive improvements while utilizing data. Real-time contact center metrics enable agents to gain deeper insights into their workflows, time utilization and more, enabling them to enhance their performance and engagement independently, resulting in a mutually beneficial outcome.
3. Workforce management
Workforce oversight software streamlines much of the daily management responsibilities within a contact center or enterprise. It automates essential tasks, calculates staffing levels to prevent under/overstaffing, predicts contact volumes and more.
As equitable scheduling and task management significantly impact the employee experience, high-quality workforce engagement management solutions are crucial for contact centers, simplifying these processes through automation.
Best practices to maximize workforce engagement management impact
To maximize the impact of your WEM efforts, consider these best practices:
Lead by example
Customer service leadership doesn’t stop with just contact center management — it also plays a crucial role in setting the tone for engagement. When leaders exhibit enthusiasm, transparency and a commitment to employee well-being, it trickles down to the entire organization.
Under Satya Nadella's leadership, Microsoft has been praised for its transformational leadership style. Nadella's focus on customer empathy, humility and a growth mindset has contributed to a culture of engagement and innovation throughout the organization. His leadership approach sets an example that resonates with Microsoft employees and influences the company's overall work environment.
Encourage cross-functional collaboration
Break down silos and encourage collaboration across departments. Cross-functional projects and teams promote a sense of unity and shared purpose.
Google is known for its collaborative work culture, where cross-functional teams often come together to work on projects. For example, their "20% time" policy allows employees to spend a portion of their work hours on projects outside of their immediate roles. This approach fosters collaboration, idea-sharing and unity among employees from different departments.
Some WEM solutions in the market — especially the ones that focus on unified customer experience management (Unified-CXM) — help create this kind of anti-siloed, highly collaborative work environment. With teams equipped to undertake cross-functional responsibilities in the blink of an eye, your organization will find it much easier to work together towards organizational goals and objectives.
Continuously gather feedback
Regularly solicit feedback from employees about engagement initiatives. You can use their input to refine strategies and adapt to changing needs, improving agent productivity and motivating them.
Interesting read: Improving agent productivity with unified customer experience management
Here are some avenues from where you can directly collect feedback from your agents.
Heartbeat calls: Daily/periodic heartbeat calls with your agents are a great place to start discussing any suggestions or feedback, as they can help create a supportive work environment where agents feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and concerns.
Pulse surveys or quick check-ins: These surveys can even be anonymized to encourage honest feedback without worrying about repercussions.
Virtual suggestion box: Implementing a platform that enables agents to submit suggestions and grievances can make them feel heard and, in turn, positively impact your team’s morale.
Discussions with focus groups: On a monthly or quarterly basis, agents can come together as groups and discuss specific aspects of your customer service operations and brainstorm ideas on how they can be improved.
Exit interviews: These interviews help you understand the reasons behind turnover and identify areas for improvement, which helps improve agent retention.
Offer growth opportunities
Provide avenues for skill development, learning and career advancement. Employees are more engaged when they see a clear path for their professional growth, and training them with essential customer service skills helps them progress faster in their careers.
Read more: 8 skills that contact center agents need
IBM's SkillsBuild Program is designed to provide employees with the opportunity to develop new skills and advance in their careers. By offering various learning paths and professional development resources, IBM demonstrates a commitment to its employees' growth and engagement.
Recognize and reward consistently
Recognition should be an ongoing practice, not a one-time event. Regularly acknowledge employee contributions and celebrate milestones to keep their motivation high, and to encourage them to deliver great customer experiences constantly.
The evolution from WFM to WEM
Workforce engagement is more critical than ever in today's rapidly evolving business landscape. However, not all solutions are created equal. While WFM has been a staple in HR departments for years, there's a growing realization that workforce engagement management is one step ahead.
WEM goes beyond the traditional scope of WFM by focusing on managing schedules and tasks and actively engaging employees. It uses measurable data to evaluate engagement levels, identify areas for improvement and ultimately create a workplace where employees thrive.
Today, brands need a comprehensive solution offering features and capabilities to handle WEM and WFM seamlessly. This integration is crucial because it allows organizations to align their workforce management strategies with engagement goals. Instead of treating these as separate functions, a unified platform that combines WEM and WFM sets the foundation for a more holistic and effective approach.
Engage your workforce with Sprinklr’s AI-powered WFM
Sprinklr Service is the solution that bridges the gap between WEM and WFM, offering a powerful, all-in-one platform to engage, manage and optimize your workforce. With Sprinklr, you can harness the full potential of your customer service team driving productivity, job satisfaction — and, ultimately, business success. So, if you're looking to take your workforce engagement to the next level, Sprinklr is the only solution you need.
Here’s a quick gist of what Sprinklr Service accomplishes as a workforce management solution:
Comprehensive workforce analytics that gives you an all-seeing eye on your contact center operations
User-friendly dashboards to monitor workforce performance and productivity
Coaching recommendations enabling a personalized approach to agent training
By embracing a transparent, collaborative and data-driven strategy toward workforce engagement management, you can simultaneously enhance both employee and customer experiences.
Ready to experience WEM at its best? Sign up for a trial of Sprinklr Service, free for up to 90 days!
Frequently Asked Questions
WEM is an ongoing process, evolving with employee needs and organizational changes. Regular feedback and adaptations ensure sustained engagement.
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