I didn’t realize all of the features available using Microsoft Teams for meetings and collaboration. This virtual class from a Microsoft training specialist covers tips to make the most of your Microsoft Teams meetings from beginning to end.
As COVID19 continues to be a global health crisis, don’t forget to take care of your mental health. In a time of uncertainty and isolation, there are steps you can take to maintain your mental health while working remotely. Fast Company has a few ideas to get you started. Tips range from acknowledging the impact to recognizing your needs to streamlining work and more.
Now more than ever in 2020, companies need to reach out beyond a traditional Thanksgiving pat on the back. As COVID-19 has taken away traditions such as a company potluck or group volunteering activities for the underserved.
In regular times, over 66% of employees say they will leave an employer of they don’t feel appreciated. Showing employees on a regular basis that you appreciate them is always important but during holidays, you may want to go beyond the standard format.
Here are three other options you may want to use.
- Unless you have been living under a rock, we have all had a “Zoom” meeting. The company Zoom offers to reimburse employees for any book they purchase. This is a great idea as it gets us away from screens. You may offer to set up a book club or use lists of books for people to choose from so they can have non-work conversations about each book they are reading
- Mail a personal hand-written note to their home. Getting physical mail is rare these days so sending a note directly to their home will be seen as a nice gesture as it does take more effort and thought than sending a digital note or dropping something off at their desk.
- Many of us have been forced into becoming set design and lighting experts to put our best face forward on endless video calls. Why not provide a custom back-drop or lighting packages to help everyone look their best.
However simple or elaborate the gesture is, remember to be authentic, and all gifts will be greatly appreciated.
How Zoom Can be Mis-Used
Ok show of hands, how many of you have had a Zoom Happy Hour? Or what about birthday parties and game night? In this crazy time of harboring in place, companies are scrambling for ways to keep employees connected, meetings on schedule, and finding ways to keep the doors open.
So beyond the recent security stories I am hearing about, there are situations where Zoom or other video collaboration tools may not be the best tool of choice.
- Sometimes just a good old conference call will do the trick. I sat through a painful video call as many of the participants kept dropping or speaking in jerky responses. If you really don’t need to “see” the attendees then just use phone or VOIP connections
- Training someone on a new piece of equipment or software application. Zoom is great to walk someone through what they need to do but they really won’t learn unless they can perform more “hands-on” activities. There are many applications out there that will allow you to build software simulations or like our ACES simulation software. Giving employees the ability to engage in a realistic hands-on situation is best done outside of a live video call.
- Employee performance review – again may be better done over the phone vs. video as if the connection is “iffy” it may take away from your message and the identified performance improvements you are trying to communicate.
- Showing appreciation – how about sending a physical card or letter vs. setting up a video session. This is a personal touch that will go a long way. My 90-year-old mother beams each time she mentions how much she enjoys the letters that I send to her on a quarterly basis. Needless to say, I get a lot of eye-rolling from any of my 12 siblings who may be in ear-shot of this. Why do you think we all get excited when that Amazon box shows up? We know what we ordered but it’s the emotional experience of opening a letter or package that makes it more special.
- Last but not least — don’t try to multi-task when in a video call (bathroom breaks). We’ve all heard some horror stories so stay focused on what you’re doing when participating and don’t distract the other participants.
If you have spent any time in a contact center you’ve probably heard of the term “nesting”. It’s that phase for newly hired contact agents after they have had some initial classroom training but aren’t quite ready to go on their own.
On average, the ramp-up time for new agents is for two weeks. This doesn’t really give these agents enough time to digest all of the information they will need to be successful – at most, they will be able to greet the caller properly, and ask how they can help the customer.
To add to their pain, many companies are putting in place self-help tools for customers to use which means by the time they reach an agent, it’s a more challenging situation to handle.
Luckily there are some alternatives to this stage of onboarding. A term I heard recently was “phased nesting”. Meaning don’t force all agents hired at the same time to move through the onboarding process in lockstep. If you notice an agent is moving along faster than some of the others in the group – allow them to progress. This will maintain their engagement and self-confidence while the others moving slower are given more time to adapt to their new tasks.
One alternative we recommend is using our ACES™ simulator. ACES (accelerated engagement contact system) allows you to deploy realistic immersive simulations that use a phased-in approach to help agents get hands-on experience, with automated feedback from our built-in digital coach. This reduces the risk of taking a live call with an inexperienced agent and gives your managers the ability to see who is truly “floor ready” before placing them into the production environment.
To see ACES in action you can view some video samples by watching our Videos
Studies have shown that simulation-based training is the best way for learners to retain knowledge and decrease the time it takes for mastery of a new skill.
- Quicker return on your training $$ – by providing this level of active and immersive learning, your organization will see a greater return on the money you invest in recruiting, retention and customer satisfaction
- Greater employee satisfaction – the faster an employee feels confident about their job, the higher their employee satisfaction. This has a direct impact on customer satisfaction but will also reduce the risk of poor moral or wasted time re-training employees who need more hand-holding
- Removing the risk of practicing on real customers – I can’t tell you how many times I hear that call center employees transition from the classroom to the production floor with little or no practice time. This is a huge risk to your organization.
- Reducing time to recognize a bad hire -using a simulator will allow your organization to road test an employee’s skills before putting them on the front line. This will also help you to determine if an employee is just not making the cut.
I had a blast interviewing Judy, she is truly one of a kind and has a great theory on how to train your contact center employees. In this episode, Judy explains her LAMA approach to talking to anyone on the phone, it’s all about making that person feel good and treating them with respect.
In our last show, I interview Thomas McCoy, who is a best-selling author, consultant, and President of the Employee Engagement Institute.
He has over 35 years experience developing high-involvement, high-performance cultures. He developed the Applied Employee Engagement System™ that has been used by over 200 companies in the U.S., Europe and South America. He has written 2 books on the topic and sold over 25,000 copies.
He developed and taught a two-day seminar on How To Develop a High Performance Culture at George Washington University.
He has been quoted in Newsweek, featured in the Wall Street Journal, and nominated for the Michael J. Losey award for his work in the field of Human Resources.
In 1996 he developed ESP, “Expanding Sales on the Phone,” one of the first training programs for agents that incorporated dynamic branching. He holds a Lean/Six Sigma certification from Villanova University, a coaching certification from the Johnston Institute and is a graduate of the University of Minnesota.
He is a Marine Corps veteran and a board member for Support KC, a non-profit organization that helps other non-profits to achieve their mission.
He and his wife Cathy are the parents of two young men.