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Boost belonging & motivation – through team names!

Motivation and Gamification, Training Planning

teamI’ve written about contact-center motivation and employee promotion before. In the time I’ve been working at Teleopti, I’ve come across a number of customers who don’t have or use team names. In light of all the benefits, I wonder why this is so.

Belonging is a fundamental human need. Being on a team with a name helps reinforce this. Even though it may sound a bit silly and simplistic, I can vouch for the fact that teams that have names will boost their team spirit.

In your former school days, you probably enjoyed being part of a class, group or fraternity. I certainly did. I remember when my name was presented as a member of something, like class 6A, how good the sense of belonging made me feel. Doing things together as a class, it made us feel like one big, happy family. So why not bring this feeling of belonging into your contact center, simply by giving names to the various teams, with which team members then grow to identify?

If your contact center, like most, operates in teams, naming your teams is so easy and the benefits are numerous!

What are the benefits? It imparts a sense of belonging, builds team spirit, increases motivation and can ultimately enhance service and standards. Granted, team names, per se, may not bring about all these benefits at once but it’s a good starting point. Henry Ford captures this so aptly:

“Coming together is a beginning. Keeping it together is progress. Working together is success.”

In fact, why not involve your employees in the naming process, giving them the opportunity to come up with names? Great leaders work among their followers and make them feel valued.

Consider implementing the following:

  • Let each team choose a name democratically and vote on it, if necessary. You’ll find this process will start to gel the team in creating a sense of belonging.
  • Let each team develop a shield, wall pin-up, logo, flag or image. They could also choose a team or someone from the outside to represent: e.g. a football or hockey team, or movie star. It’s fun and once team identities have been established, your work as manager in organizing team competitions will be so much easier.
  • Address teams by their names when communicating. Be consistent in doing so and make it become a natural part of you daily work when posting results, scheduling, etc.
  • Take the time to share information by informing agents in team or departmental meetings. I’m not referring to sharing just standard company news. Every agent and team should be able to see the different contact-center performance statistics, such as speed of answer, calls answered and sales results. Also, by informing teams of the contact-center goals and strategies, and what their role is vis-à-vis these, working as a team towards achieving these further strengthens the sense of belonging as well as the team’s identity and spirit.
  • Keep your teams motivated by involving them in idea-generating sessions, whenever possible. Don’t ignore ideas you receive. Instead, let teams know what you think of their ideas and if you’re doing anything with them. Also, let them know when and how the managers value them. As a leader, take these opportunities to make your staff feel more valued.

As a last suggestion, when you’re up against the wall and things are tough, try to minimize any negative feelings, stress or pressure you’re experiencing. Otherwise, you may find your agents picking up on this, which then rubs off and ends up potentially impacting the whole team adversely.

Remember, doing what I’ve suggested will only cost you a bit of your time; nothing else. Go ahead and give it a shot – you’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain!

– Tommy Palomäki

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