Creating Individual Employee Contribution Summary Reports to Increase Productivity and Employee Engagement
– We have all read the research and survey results. Whether published by an accredited institution or as part of your company’s internal employee satisfaction survey process, “compensation” is not one of the top factors leading to higher employee engagement. Instead, when it comes to increasing employee morale, communicating clear expectations of the job and recognizing employees for good work are at the top of the list.
One of the benefits of managing a Customer Support team is that communicating expectations and recognizing work well done is much easier compared to other departments. Because of the transactional nature of the customer support function, several different metrics can help management better understand the performance of each individual on their Customer Support team.
This data is also readily available. With a few mouse clicks, a quick email or phone call you have all the data you need to analyze your team. For example,
- Who closed the most cases?
- Who answered the most calls?
- Who published the most useful knowledge content?
- Who has the highest customer satisfaction score?
With all this data at your fingertips to help you assess individual customer support employee performance, consider asking yourself these three questions to determine if you are leveraging the data to effectively help your team achieve their full potential:
- Are you looking at a comprehensive (complete) list of all available metrics to access the performance of individual support employees on your team?
- Are you as fair as possible to leverage the data to get the most accurate view of an individual employee’s results?
- Are you being transparent and sharing the data with your staff (opposed to only looking at the data behind closed doors or with a small group of managers)?
Unless you answered “yes” to all of these questions, then there is more you can do to increase employee morale by setting clear expectations with your team on what they need to do to succeed. If you answered “no” to any of these questions, then you should consider creating and publishing comprehensive Individual Contribution Summary Reports for each customer support employee in your organization. An Individual Employee Contribution Summary Report is a one-page list of transactional results that highlight all the accomplishments of the individual employees on your team over a period of time. Ideally, these reports are generated monthly, but you could consider creating them bi-weekly or quarterly as well. When used effectively, these reports can help improve employee morale and increase employee performance and productivity.
Think of the Individual Employee Contribution Summary Reports as the Baseball Card for Customer Support Professionals.
A well trained, high performing baseball player is accountable to the level they perform to continue to advance in their career. A Professional Baseball Player’s performance is also measured by standard metrics. The metrics that have been identified to measure a baseball player include hits, home runs, strikeouts, and RBIs (just to name a few). All these metrics are counted and recorded for each baseball player on the team. Once recorded, the results are provided to the baseball player and also every other player on the team. Furthermore, the results are placed and distributed to the world on a baseball card and published and constantly updated on the internet. Talk about pressure!
The job of a customer support professional is very similar to the job of a professional athlete. Just like in sports, the performance of a customer service engineer can easily be measured by standard metrics: calls received, cases resolved, knowledge content published, customer satisfaction results, etc. So why would you treat the Customer Support Professionals on your team any different than the way the Major League treats their pro athletes? They are both professionals.
Your customer support employees want to be treated like professionals. Higher performing athletes expect that their results (stats a.k.a. athletic metrics) will be more visible the better they are. If you are managing the best employees in your industry, then as professionals, your team should expect that their performance is going to be measured as well.
Like professional athletes, high performing customer service professionals want to be accountable for their service results including productivity, knowledge contributions and customer satisfaction scores. If you have done a good job hiring, you have a team of hard working professionals that come to work wanting to perform at a high level to be successful in their career. It is important that these customer support professionals know how well they are performing to reach their full potential. If you aren’t effectively leveraging individual customer support employee metrics to increase productivity, you are missing out on an amazing tool that will help ensure your team is more productive.
If you are currently not leveraging this data effectively but you are ready to make a change, then you should consider these steps.
5 Steps for Implementing Effective Individual Employee Contribution Summary Reports
So once you see the value in the Individual Employee Contribution Summary Reports, then it is time to make sure you are effective implementing a process for generating the report. This will take time and effort to implement, but once it is in place, it will begin to pay off with an increase in employee morale and productivity.
Step #1: Get Employees Involved in the Process
As you work toward being open and providing individual results to customer service employees, it is important that you get them involved in the process. Consider bringing in a small group of employees to help build the process and reports. Be sure to explain why you plan to move forward with creating individual contribution reports, why it is important and what you are hoping to achieve. While you want to get employees involved in the process, you need to make sure that management is still leading the process. Getting employees involved in the process and enlisting their help to design the reports will help get buy-in. If your employees are aware of why and how you are gathering the data, then they will also be able to help ensure accurate data as well.
Step #2: More is Better
Once you have the initial reports generated, expect that the reports will change and evolve over time. Although there is not a “one size fits all” template that you can use, below is an example of what one might look like. You should also make adjustments to your contribution reports to match the process and operations of your business. At some point be prepared to have an employee approach you to let you know that the contribution analysis is not fair/accurate because it does not factor in all aspects and attributes of the customer support employee’s work. When this happens, get the employee involved to help determine a way to include the missing attribute. When it comes to customer support contribution reports, more is better, and you should do your best to include as much quantitative and qualitative data as possible on the report to paint the most accurate view of a single employee’s contributions in a given period.
Also, remember that there is not one metric on the report that will give you a complete view of the employee’s performance. You need as many data points as possible. One employee might be solving the most customer cases; another employee might have the highest customer satisfaction rating and another employee might be adding the most valuable content to the knowledge base. By having as much data as possible, you will have a full picture of the employee’s performance and better access where an employee is doing extraordinary and where they can improve. By including as many metrics in the report as possible, you will also avoid having an employee manage to the metrics. For example, say that you only focused on one or two key metrics. If employees recognize that management is only looking at a few specific metrics, they will do what they think is best to perform in those areas. By exposing all performance metrics in a single view, you are letting your employees know that all metrics are important and that the best employees are well-rounded and performing in all areas.
The report should also provide benchmark data for the employee, so they know how well they are performing against other members of the team. When done effectively, this will create healthy competition and will also ensure that employees are aware when they are pulling their weight and also where they may need to improve. It is ok to compare and ensure that your team is aware of the team average, the top bar for the team and the low bar for the team as well (see example, employee contribution summary report).
Step #3: Adjust the Denominator for time off and special projects/roles
To make the analysis as accurate as possible, put in a “time off” factor to account for employees taking vacation and employees assigned to work on special projects that are not part of the standard customer support functions. For example, if you decide to run the report every month, the report should include the number of cases closed in a month. This is a standard customer support metric. If you take into consideration that one employee might work 22 days in a month and another employee may work 15 days that same month due to vacation or days assigned to other work, then your metric should be “average cases closed per day” in that month opposed to “total cases closed” in that month. You can calculate many of the metrics to “average per day” by dividing the transactional metrics by the number of days an employee works on standard customer support work in a given month. By adjusting the denominator and putting most of the transactional data on a “per day” basis, you will have a more accurate view of performance (see example below). This is helpful when comparing one employee’s performance against another employee’s performance.
Additionally, you might have employees assigned to special projects (for example an employee working on system changes, user acceptance testing or implementations) or in special roles (for example working in a role where they are required to attend and participate in weekly meetings with product management or development teams). In this case, at the beginning of the month determine how much time you want the employee to allocate to working on the special project or how much time you want them engaged in a special role. This will help them manage their time by knowing how many days their management is giving them to complete work outside of the normal Customer Support functions and this additional work will not impact their contribution report results.
Step #4: Anticipate Resistance as First
For some, change is not easy. If you have not given your employees this type of visibility into their performance, you might get some resistance at first. Getting your employees involved in the process (involved in the process not managing or leading the process – see Step #1) will help to alleviate some resistance. Over time most employees will adjust to the process as long as you listen to and respond to their concerns. Many concerns can be addressed by making adjustments the report. You will also find that most high-performing employees will embrace the process because it will help achieve the following benefits:
- It will help ensure that high performing employees are being recognized for their good work.
- It will help high-performing employees know that every employee on the team is accountable for contributing to the team’s success (no one is allowed to slide by under the radar) and high performing employees will appreciate this.
- It will better highlight employees that just are not cut out for the job.
- It will help ensure transparency between employees and managers communicating with employees the expectations of the job.
Step #5: The Conversation to Accompany the Report
Once you publish the report, don’t miss an opportunity to sit down to review the report individually with each employee during a special employee/manager 1×1. This should happen every time you publish the report. In the meeting, review with the employee the entire report. During the meeting, you will have an opportunity to find out if your employees have any concerns with the report. During the meeting, make sure to highlight where the employee is doing well, and then you can discuss where the employee can improve. A comprehensive Individual Employee Contribution Report will give you an opportunity to highlight employee strengths and areas where they can put more effort. Make sure the discussion is a dialog and do your best to always end the conversation on a positive point to help motivate the employee to improve.
When you decide to move forward with Individual Employee Contribution Summary Reports there are some final points that you will want to consider:
- Depending on your corporate culture, you may need to consider how widely you distribute the results. For example, you may decide to only share the reports with the managers and the individual employees. Other companies may decide that publishing the results more broadly (even just the team averages) is more appropriate. At a minimum, you should at least provide the reports to the person accountable for their performance, the employee.
- Some countries do not allow you to publish employee performance results and these employees may need to be excluded from the process, or you may need to get approval from a worker’s council (Works Council) to include these employees. If your company has any customer support employees in countries with Works Council, you should consult with HR before including those employees in the process.
- The Individual Employee Contribution Summary Report is just one of areas that should be used to assess a customer support employee’s performance. Other variables should be used as well including documentation skills, case/queue management, customer service soft skills and established corporate competencies.
A regular and comprehensive Individual Employee Contribution Summary Report can be an effective tool to highlight the accomplishments of each Customer Support employee’s performance. When implemented and leveraged correctly, the reports can help set proper expectations with your employees. The reports will also help you recognize and acknowledge high performing employees, and will help increase productivity and employee morale.