How to retain agents during the Great Resignation

24th Feb 2022

The Great Resignation continues to wreak havoc on U.S. employers, impacting nearly every industry from healthcare to retail to manufacturing. 

This is not a short-term fad of fed-up workers quitting their jobs and then immediately regretting the decision. If anything, the Great Resignation seems to be gaining steam. Last year, millions of Americans quit their jobs, with more than 4.5 million handing in their resignations in the month of November alone, according to the Labor Department

This was nearly a 9% increase from October, which exceeded September’s mark of 4.36 million. The total U.S. workforce is around 165 million. When the final numbers for 2021 are tallied, they will likely show that more than a quarter of U.S. workers resigned during the year.

Why are so many people ditching their jobs? The main reason people are quitting is that they’re finding positions with higher pay. But money alone doesn’t tell the whole story. Research from McKinsey found that what employees really desire, in addition to money, is meaning, shared identity and a sense that they’re valued. Employees want a deeper understanding of the corporate mission and their own role within the organization.

The reality is that employees are the lifeblood of any CX organization. But, in the face of the Great Resignation, it’s harder than ever to attract and retain great people.  Here are five ways to get ahead of the Great Resignation and build a winning culture that instills loyalty and inspires CX professionals to stay for the long haul. 

1: Provide CX employees with immediate opportunities for growth.

Day one for every new CX hire should begin with a view of what is possible at your organization, including leadership development and job advancement. By making a commitment to career enrichment, you enable employees to craft a path for their future early in their tenure. 

For instance, at ibex, 90 to 95% of our frontline leaders are homegrown call center talent that were equipped and trained to be supervisors. The use of personalized coaching technologies can also help supervisors and managers quickly track, measure, and act on agent performance needs on an individualized basis and identify personalized KPIs and goals.

2: Build an employee-first culture 

It’s critical to build an employee-first culture that gives your CX professionals the best tools to effectively interact with customers, while also providing them with the best services to improve their lives. During Covid, for instance, ibex invested approximately $13 million in employee health, safety and wellness to help identify, slow and stop the spread of the virus in our facilities. Those investments included transportation for our employees to and from our facilities, high-grade disinfection of our CX delivery centers, company-paid vaccinations, and technology investments.

3: Getting highly immersive with employee engagement

The job of a customer experience provider can be very stressful.  That’s why it’s important to introduce fun and social activities that allow employees to separate themselves from the actual work, even for just a few minutes. Beyond having fun, it’s also important to recognize, reward and celebrate frontline talent that go above and beyond in the line of duty.

4: Leverage AI to personalize the recruiting process

The use of artificial intelligence can help to simplify the recruiting process by providing realistic job previews and creating a better experience for the candidate. For instance, AI can help CX organizations identify candidates that traditional methods often overlook. AI can also predict the likelihood that a well-qualified candidate will be open to new job offers, thus improving the quality of hiring.

AI technology is also proving to be massively impactful on the job. The technology can help CX professionals tee up answers or suggestions in real time to better serve customers. AI can also help anticipate when customers are about to get frustrated or lose their cool so agents can head that off in time. Essentially, AI can notify agents based on customer indicators and behaviors, enabling them to take action while a call is in progress to alter the course of an interaction, leading to improved outcomes, happier customers, and more effective CX agents.

5: Empower CX professional to make a difference

Finally, it’s critical to empower the call center agents to truly make a difference. Agents are on the front lines and consistently see the same CX issues. They often have great suggestions to improve the customer experience and empowering them to raise their hand and volunteer their ideas will spark positive change. 

Final takeaway

The Great Resignation is not a fleeting fad that companies can afford to wait out—or worse, pretend doesn’t exist. It is a real problem for corporate America right now, and will continue to be a challenge going forward. But fortunately, it is a problem that can be solved. By treating your CX professionals with the respect they deserve and promoting a culture of care, you can retain your workers and win their long-term trust and devotion. That’s good for them—and for you.


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