Why evolving away from metrics pays off

Metrics, KPI’s and SLA’s have been around for a very long time, yet there has never been any scientific proof to show that bombarding employees with this information will help you and your business achieve it’s goals.

In fact the recent spot light on mental health, wellness and engagement proves that the opposite is true. Let’s take David Rock’s SCARF model as just one example of the work Neuroscientists have done to discover what makes people happy and motivated in the workplace.

The diagram above shows that by using MRI scans of the brain, neuroscientists have proven that when any of these 5 elements are triggered your employees will either move towards, or away from the Threat or Reward Response. The Threat response will trigger a “Fight or Flight” response, which slows down cognitive function and increases things like absenteeism, stress, errors, staff turnover and employee satisfaction. Whereas, if we are able to improve all or any of the SCARF elements our employees will experience a release of the chemical Dopamine, lower blood pressure, less stress along with improvements in performance, problem solving, motivation, engagement and mental health.

Now you’re armed with this knowledge, take a look at the Wallboards and Dashboards you have in your work environment, or on employee desktops and start to look at each of the SCARF elements:

Status: If for example your wallboards are set up to sound an alarm, or flash up a Red warning when calls in Q exceed a certain number, this is guaranteed to reduce the Status of your agents because it makes them feel like you don’t trust them and reminds them they have failed every time this alarm is triggered.

Solution: Create a more intelligent trigger that looks at more than just one metric, so you sound the alarm ONLY when things are bad and for the rest of the time you trust your agents to do the right thing “empowerment”. The way we do this with Optymyse is to create a trigger that takes into account the number of available agents and if there are agents available, we won’t trigger the alarm because we trust them to answer address the back log of calls in queue. This approach also triggers Fairness in a positive way.

Certainty: This one is easy, when agents are trained they are bombarded with information, which the human brain is incapable of storing so they forget 70% the moment they walk out of the training room, so its normal that new agents feel a huge amount of uncertainty.

Solution: Schedule or trigger training tips to appear on wallboards and dashboards so agents feel more supported throughout the day, plus schedule any changes or outages that you know will impact your customers to appear on screen before it happens. This is a very powerful way to reduce stress and improve employee satisfaction and performance.

Autonomy: See Certainty!

Relatedness: Humans need to feel connected, it’s an emotional need, which when met has a hugely positive impact on wellness and mental health.

Solution: Schedule messages of congratulations and encouragement, this will build team spirit and will tick the Relatedness box and take very little time.

Fairness: This was touched on earlier but cannot be underestimated, if your team feel their work load is unfair they will move towards the Threat Response and your problems will get worse.

Solution: Let them know when things are “Crazy Busy” and show them you appreciate them, in our case we’d open up Optymyse and add a message to all screens with an image that represents gratitude. For example “It’s getting busy guys, you’re all doing amazing work, Thank You!” You can even trigger these messages based on your metrics.

Finally, you can reduce stress by replacing metrics with images, this Optymyse template has three images on the left hand side, they each tell agents what’s happening from a call handling perspective, but because they are not numbers they are not as stressful and the brain can react to them faster than text.