Steven directs a call center with 600 employees. When he arrived, the center had just participated in a culture survey that measured employee engagement.
The survey results were well below the company’s average.
Steven and his partner in HR developed a plan to enhance influencing skills to create positive change. They experienced incremental change over the course of the first few months. The improvements were slow and steady, and Steven believed they were a solid foundation for change that he and his team could maintain.
And then something happened. Steven and his team saw an acceleration. This acceleration led to improvement in culture indicators, productivity measures (4 months in a row), customer service (achieved a rank of number 2 in customer service across the entire company), and quality (achieved a rank of number 1 in their region).
How did they do it?
Steven and his team of leaders made commitments to use influence skills. Each leader (the director, the 6 managers, and the 30 supervisors) agreed to hold five 3-minute conversations each day. These conversations focused on what was working to provide positive reinforcement to the agents. The conversations were designed to be held on any level and across reporting relationships.
The managers and director agreed to be on the floor at least 30 minutes per day. They wanted the supervisors on the floor for longer periods of time coaching, developing, and influencing the agents in positive ways. They wanted supervisors to help. Real-time coaching was put in place as an all-hands-on-deck period of time when all leaders (director, managers, supervisors) were out on the floor for a 60- to 90-minute period one time each week. The goal was for coaches to demonstrate mostly positive coaching during this time period. This also provided time for managers and the director to see the coaching in action.
These leaders also agreed to share their best examples each week in a structured group reflection session. Each group of managers would meet with their team of supervisors, who shared what they were trying to accomplish, what happened during the conversation, and what they did to have a helpful interaction.