Using games in the contact center can change associates’ behavior, by boosting motivation, engagement and performance. More importantly, it creates fun! Games can even be used as a wanted distraction during more stressful and demanding times.
Professor B.J. Fogg, an experimental psychologist at Stanford University, outlines three elements that must simultaneously converge for a change in behavior to occur:
- Motivation – the chance to win, receive rewards or gain recognition
- Ability to carry out a task – by facilitating it, or breaking each task into bite-size chunks, increasing the perceived capability for the user trigger
- A trigger or cue – to complete the action
Games help create these elements while promoting a positive work environment that rewards and recognizes associates. Aligning competitive games with strategic goals focuses the team on those goals and helps boost the brand’s performance as well.
Below are 5 tips for setting up motivational games and engaging your team.
1. Determine the behavior or metric you want to affect.
- All games should have a purpose. Whether improving morale, emphasizing perfect attendance or decreasing Auxiliary time (AUX, when an agent is unavailable for calls) , the game should be focused around improving or sustaining a particular behavior.
- Games can serve multiple purposes, but there should be a primary. This will help you in later steps to establish an engaging and clear contest.
- Assess the talent of your team to make sure everyone has realistic opportunities and is involved in the fun and the challenge.
2. Set your individual and team goals.
- Identifying the goals to be achieved will signal to the team how they participate. Individual goals will motivate people to do their best, but can sometimes have an opposite impact if the agent is new or a lower performer. This is where team goals can keep someone in the game. Team goals will encourage communication, training and camaraderie across the group. Often times, achieving team goals are the most fulfilling of the challenge.
- When setting goals, use the SMART program. Goals should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time Bound.
- If the end result is an improved metric, work with your forecasting team to set low, medium and high goals. You can align tiered rewards accordingly. This will help the participants see progress and remain motivated through the length of the challenge.
- If the focus is on morale and fun, be sure to choose topics that are relevant and inclusive of as many people as possible. Not everyone is familiar with filling out a March Madness bracket, but if you include team mascots and uniform colors it can become more inclusive. It is particularly fun when the person who choses by colors beats the local college basketball guru.
3. Define the rules and rewards.
- Rules must be clear, concise and well thought out. You want your friendly competition to be free of arguments or accusations of cheating.
- Create a conflict resolution process. There should be a “commissioner” internally and a potential third-party tie breaker if necessary.
- Plan for as many exceptions as possible. For example, what happens if the system goes down or call volume is too low?
- Rewards should also be clear and if there is a calculation involved to determine the reward, provide a simple formula to help associates understand. The best motivation in achieving the goal is knowing where you stand.
- Remember that rewards can be something other than monetary. Lunch, coffee, time-off or one-on-one time with a senior leader can be even more valuable.
- Make all rules and rewards public. It will be your responsibility that everyone knows how to play and how to win.
4. Choose your game.
- Be creative. Remember that fun and engagement are at the heart of the competition.
- Decide whether to focus on single behaviors or be more complex and assess associates on several factors.
- Identify the people and process for updating game results. This will create accountability and keep the challenge top of mind.
- Determine the timeframe. Will this run for a season, sale period or some other time? The goal is to keep interest and excitement up.
5. Have fun and celebrate!
- Be the biggest cheerleader! Show that you are part of the team and find a way to participate by dressing up, passing out snacks, giving an impromptu reward or just being present.
- Regardless of the outcome, make sure to celebrate the end of the competition. Even if you are short of meeting goals, be sure to have planned for the celebration of the effort or any progress.
- Use the rewards to create excitement and anticipation for the next time.
- Rewards and ceremony should be significant enough to make the recipient feel special and motivate associates.
Using games and competition to engage your team will require some time investment, but it will be well worth the effort. Games are a win-win for associates and customers: The boost in workplace motivation will translate into increased associate engagement and better customer experience.
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