Contact center managers are caught in a triangle: they have to satisfy their bosses by satisfying their customers, which requires satisfied and productive employees. Increasingly, the employees they have to satisfy belong to the millennials of Generation-Y.

While Gen Y millennials are not radically different human beings, the research indicates they do tend to have some characteristics that make them different from preceding generations and worthy of specific consideration.  This is a generation of people who expect to have many jobs throughout their career, as opposed to the single lifetime career model coveted by earlier generations.  They do, however:

  • have a high interest in interaction with bosses, and look for mentors within their environment
  • value the acquisition of transferable skills
  • have skills in using electronic devices for communications
  • have no problem multi-tasking and communicating across multiple channels

Low Agent Motivation a Drag on Your Center? Here's How to Turn it Around!However, they also are not generally inclined to adapt to traditional workforce norms and often challenge the status quo.  They are happy to use systems that drive performance (including gamification) as long as the systems (both human and electronic) are seen as reliable and integrate into their daily routine.  Increasingly, these systems are defining and providing structure to the Generation-Y environment, which is based upon five primary pillars:

  1. Managers find that they need to communicate differently with Generation-Y.  Read through your internal memos and review your verbal message notes to see if they contain concepts that will appeal to your Generation-Y workers.
  2. Development and growth – this generation needs additional help in communicating and interfacing with customers and proficiency in the delivery of content.  Plan for this in your initial and ongoing training programs.
  3. Feedback and coaching – this group excels well when given data and tangible information plus real-time feedback. Individual scorecards and customer feedback dashboards, along with personalized coaching will help you get the most from these employees
  4. Work-life balance – flexibility in scheduling is a highly desirable attribute of the workplace.  Try to allow part-time, split shift, and shift swapping work opportunities.
  5. Work at home – can provide a positive work-life balance as it allows WFM to work around the standard eight-hour shift demands. However, be sure to have the right supervisor tools in place to make this work.

Working with people of Generation-Y is not overly difficult; it simply takes careful thought, a look at the resources on hand and the willingness to become flexible in application.

Tip of the Day: Many members of Generation-Y crave details; their cry is “give me all of it.” The more information you can supply these Generation-Y workers, the better they will perform.

CallTalk is a monthly internet radio program featuring the most innovative managers and thought leaders in the customer contact field, interviewed by BenchmarkPortal CEO, Bruce Belfiore.  “Caramels” distills “Aha!” moments from these interviews into practical, bite-sized nuggets to inform and assist you as a contact center professional.

Topics: CallTalk Caramels, Contact Center Articles, Customer Service