On Dec, 2 2022
More and more, contact centers are turning to Gen Z (born after 1997) agents to staff up and help resolve customer issues. However, keeping this generation of agents happy can be a challenge. Whether it’s their preference for remote work or their desire for employer accountability, the Gen Z workforce seeks out different “must haves” than older agents.
To help with keeping Gen Z agents happy, contact centers are turning to sophisticated workforce management (WFM) technology to handle when and how they work. Below are some WFM solutions that are utilized to improve contact center success and build trust when managing the Gen Z agent workforce.
Accept/decline shifts from anywhere – Gen Z agents in general live an active lifestyle. Being able to accept or decline shift opportunities from any location through their phone meets their need for convenience. This feature singlehandedly reduces the possibility of an agent missing out on shift opportunities because they are not in front of their computer.
Flexible time off options – Seeing in real-time the exact percentage chance of a time off request being accepted before it’s submitted can be a game changer for Gen Z agents. It lets them be smarter about choosing time off dates and reduces back and forth conversations about availability. Another option is fully automated time off bidding. With this solution, all agents can place a bid for days off based on performance or other metrics. When utilized correctly, this can motivate Gen Z agents to work harder and thus ensure they get the days off they really want.
Shift bidding – Sticking with the bidding theme, another way for Gen Z agents to avoid working on a specific day is through shift bidding. Agents can bid on blocks of shifts created by a WFM admin and avoid days they don’t want to work (such as Saturday). However, as a tradeoff, these blocks can be created so popular days off are paired with other shifts at unpopular times. Just like with time off, each round of bidding can be configured to incentivize performance.
On the fly automated shift swaps – Gen Z agents can be spontaneous. Modern workforce management software, when configured properly, allows for automated shift swaps. For example, a Gen Z agent can put a shift up that they want to swap out and get paired up with an agent with similar skills who is willing to work during this time. As a trade off, the agent who takes on the shift gives back one of their shifts later in the week to the Gen Z agent. The WFM software validates the swap immediately to ensure parameters such as overtime hours do not occur because of the swap. If everything checks out, the shifts are swapped, and the Gen Z agent now has the day off.
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Late check-in without a conversation – It’s no secret that texting or in-app messaging is preferred over calling by Gen Z agents. This can be especially true when it means making a call about running late. Instead, an agent can utilize a mobile WFM app to check-in late with just a few taps. They can also state a reason for the late check-in (i.e. flat tire) for their supervisor and WFM admin to see. Best of all, the record of their late check-in is logged automatically within the WFM software. Both their schedule and hours worked are adjusted automatically to account for the tardiness.
Self-monitoring adherence information – No agent likes to be caught off guard. Gen Z agents in particular want to be in the loop around what their boss is looking at in regards to their performance. WFM software can share contact center adherence information with an agent through an online portal which logs specific check-in times, on phone minutes, break durations, and more. This information can help an agent self-correct any behavior they aren’t happy with. Or, at a minimum, sharing this information means an agent shouldn’t be surprised if their poor performance is addressed in the future.
Personalization options – Lastly, Gen Z agents in general enjoy customizing their work experience. One option available within WFM software to express themselves further is a custom photo within the software which can be edited at any time through the agent portal. A WFM admin can monitor each photo upload and approve or deny them as needed. In addition, agents can set up how they receive notifications about shift changes and other news from the same portal. One agent may want to receive a push notification from the app, another a text message, and another may not want either. All three are possible and this preference can be changed by the agent at any time.
In short, sharing information and promoting involvement in the scheduling process through modern WFM technology is an excellent way to build trust with Gen Z agents and keep their morale high. The Gen Z agent population will only continue to expand, so implementing some of these solutions sooner than later will put your contact center in a better position to attract and retain these younger agents.