Key Takeaways from the IARE WFH and Hybrid Leadership Strategy Webinar

Managing remote agent programs in a virtual or hybrid environment presents many challenges. This past December, several IARE members came together to discuss the greatest obstacles they have dealt with and the best leadership strategies they have found. During a QA session with Vicki Brackett, author and leading expert with more than 20 years of experience managing contact centers and creating virtual training programs, they identified the most successful methods they have employed. In this webinar, she offers several insights into managing remote agent programs, the fallacies to which many contact centers fall victim, and the most effective strategies to overcome them.

3 Fallacies Workforce Management Teams Fall Victim To

Before you can decide which management strategies will be most effective, you must identify your pain points. According to Vicki, you must address these three fallacies to “stop the bleeding” in order to retain agents and lower your attrition rates.

  1. Putting the tech-cart before the horse.

The first mistake many contact centers make is relying on the software to solve all your problems. However, your systems are only a tool for implementing your management strategy. Therefore, you must have the processes and programs in place to support the new technology. It is best to customize the software to your leadership program, not the other way round.

  1. Relying on spot events for employee engagement

Another common fallacy is relying solely on spot events for employee engagement. Although it may initially increase, these gains are short-lived because there are not enough interactions to sustain them. So, you need to have other means to connect between the events.

  1. Great QA scores and coaching will get you to top-performer status.

The final point Vicki focused on was the reliance on QA scores and coaching to reach top-performer status. No matter how good your managers are, long-term improvement must begin by building a solid foundation and forming real connections with your remote agents. That’s why you must incorporate all facets of employee engagement in your leadership strategy.

The Best Leadership Strategies in a Remote or Hybrid Environment

After assessing and correcting these common mistakes, the next step is to implement the best leadership strategies to create cohesion and improve communication in a hybrid environment.

Establishing Transparency 

The easiest way to engage remote employees is through honest communication. Share your concerns and recent challenges. Although you may feel your leadership has complete transparency, your agents may think otherwise. If you aren’t sure how your team views your management style, then just ask them. Personalizing communication and opening yourself up to feedback makes you more approachable. It also makes you and the entire management team more visible to the employees.

Clear Communication 

Since you are dealing with remote agents, you have to find new ways to mimic and recreate the daily social interactions you used to have in the workplace. Touch base through virtual meetings and use webcams to put a face to names to make it more personal. You can also create more communication feedback loops using digital tools like surveys, online forums, and virtual suggestions boxes.

Building Trust 

Most importantly, you must establish an atmosphere of trust and open communication. Trust can’t be demanded. only earned. One easy way to do this is by opening yourself to feedback and timely responses to your team. If you fail to respond or acknowledge their concerns, it can alienate remote workers even more.

Adapting in New Environments

Unfortunately, there is no single strategy or software program that will solve all your problems overnight. It takes time and continued efforts to find the best leadership strategy for your company. However, webinars and roundtables allow people to discuss challenges and share resources. Furthermore, it gives everyone the opportunity to find new approaches and learn from the experiences of those facing the same obstacles. While it may require a complete rethinking of the way you lead, employing these three strategies will help you avoid the common pitfalls as employees adapt to working in remote and hybrid environments.

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