When it comes to agent engagement age is just a number

I must admit to not being a teenager any longer, and I was never into video games - I vaguely remember owning a Super Nintendo Entertainment System back in 1994, and trying to fly like an inebriated seagull at a holiday family get-together around 2009 (was that a Wii Fit?).

However, I am now a firm believer in gamification as applied to the workplace. And unlike the video game industry, gamification is serious business - as long as the structure of the games is directly applied to reaching objectives. Why not make our daily tasks and projects a little more engaging?

And a topic related to gamification that has come up several times recently, with partners, customers, and potential clients has prompted me to cover today's topic: engaging more established, senior employees.

Are you effectively engaging your older workforce?

I will avoid the over-utilized generational platitudes and simply concentrate on a specific demographic - employees, or in this case, contact center agents, over the age of 35.

Did you know that, in fact, more gamers are over the age of 36 than between the ages of 18 to 35 or under the age of 18?

Gamer demographics.PNG

They are also mostly men, but by a slimming margin. Men make up 52 percent. But even considering these statistics, the important thing to remember is that game mechanics have been applied to the workplace since the early 20th century - in the guise of rewards, loyalty programs, and incentives for hard work.

The bottom line is: everyone has an "engagement factor". The challenge is figuring out what that engagement factor is for each and every contact center agent.

Adjust your engagement program to your workforce demographics

Employers should recognize how job seniority, experience, age, and maturity will affect the mix of motivational factors that create an engaged workforce.

27% of contact center workers are 35 or over.

27% of contact center workers are 35 or over.

Gamification is also widely leveraged by the eLearning industry, and many traditional adult education institutions have also begun to incorporate game mechanics in their curriculum.

In addition, businesses are leveraging gaming concepts in the workplace for training older employees on new processes and procedures.

A relatively recent example is Deloitte Consulting, where they used gamification to increase collaboration between management consultants worldwide across all age groups.

Structured gamification involves exploring various methods, adopting those that work, and eliminating those that do not provide the desired results - across all demographics.

Here are some gamification guidelines compliments of our in-house experts:

  • Adapt your gamification program to your employees, not the other way around. 

Every workplace is comprised of employees that each possess a unique mix of preferred motivators. Try to find the sweet spot for your chosen approach, where introverts are not made to feel singled-out, as they might with aggressive contests featuring publicly displayed leaderboards, and where competitive folks can still feel like their efforts will bring commensurate rewards. 

Try setting up a contest with specific groups and keep them on separate notification lists. It might be a more conservative approach than having everyone's name up on the wall, at least for some.

  • Make sure you have a "gamification champion" in each department

That person can easily be the department manager, or contact center supervisor. As long as they are committed to the program, and continue to implement and support the technologies or solutions that drive it, success is almost always ensured. (We literally guarantee ROI on our solution within 3 months).

  • Integrate your corporate objectives and department KPIs

The worst possible approach you could take would be to isolate your gamification program to a diversion that takes away from the mission at hand.

If you want to drive customer satisfaction up to 85% overall, gamify the contributions that each and every employee makes towards that objective.

Perhaps you are looking to measure and improve schedule adherence or MTTR statistics in your technical support department - just make sure agents are recognized and rewarded for helping you get there, and the best way to accomplish that is with a properly integrated gamification strategy that supports your overall goals - both operational and motivational.

Remember to include everyone

Gamification works best when everyone is on board - don't assume that older or more experienced agents will not be interested.

When properly deployed, an engagement program that incorporates game mechanics is actually one of the best equalizers for the workplace: everyone is given a fair chance to gain recognition. Don't let the squeaky wheel always get the grease...