Workforce engagement management (WEM) is an approach for increasing customer service agent engagement. Engaged agents are committed to their employer, which includes helping the organization meet its business objectives. In a contact center, this typically means delivering exceptional customer service and meeting individual KPI targets.
What is workforce engagement management?
Gartner coined the term to refer to a set of software tools that can impact agent engagement throughout the employment life cycle. This includes hiring, onboarding, training, scheduling, developing, motivating, and more. WEM, with its employee-centric focus, is an evolution from workforce optimization (WFO), which was more focused on optimizing labor productivity and managing labor costs.
The evolution was driven by changing agent demographics and a need to address the high employee turnover rates that have historically plagued contact centers. In fact, the increasingly younger workforce, with their propensity for frequent job changes, would have sent agent attrition spiraling if not addressed. WEM still includes a labor management component, but the older WFO model has been expanded so that WEM increases the focus on performance and quality management. The jury is still out in terms of results, but an initiative that puts agents front and center is very likely to succeed in its goal of increasing engagement.
Workforce engagement management efforts show promising possibilities to increase agent engagement and retention. Additionally, they can support other important contact center goals. A holistic approach to WEM includes a collection of software tools working in concert. Organizations trying to increase agent engagement should ensure there aren't any gaps in their solution set.