What is Workforce Engagement Management (WEM)?

What is Workforce Engagement Management (WEM)?
Workforce Engagement Management is a suite of software tools aimed at making employees happy and productive. The term is used primarily by contact centers. WEM focuses on the human aspect of work, recognizing that happy, engaged, and fulfilled employees provide better experiences to the end customer.

Customer experience (CX), is a hot topic in the world of contact centers these days, and WEM software plugs directly into improving CX.

WEM evolved from WFM and WFO

WFM stands for Workforce Management. (Notice how that term lacks the word ‘engagement?’) This outdated practice focuses on software that increases call center productivity and output with little regard towards how the agents feel about it. Call duration limits are strict, breaks are policed, and quotas rule supreme.

WFM eventually grew into WFO, or Workforce Optimization. It keeps much of the WFM philosophy but is more holistic. WFO includes things like quality assurance monitoring, customer feedback surveys, agent coaching, and learning resources.

Out of WFO came Workforce Engagement Management, which still pays attention to hard metrics from WFM, but builds upon and puts strong emphasis on subjective aspects of the job, such as:

  • Recruitment and onboarding
  • Assistance and task management
  • Recognition and reward
  • The voice of the employee

Workforce Engagement Management covers the full employee lifecycle

Under WFM, the employee was simply a line on a spreadsheet. Anyone with a horror story about working in a call center was probably subjected to WFM practices.

In WEM, the core philosophy is that a happy, engaged employee will:

  • Stay with the center longer, reducing turnover and hiring costs
  • Deliver a better experience to the customer, which leads to all kinds of benefits for the end-client (such as brand loyalty, customer retention, higher revenue)
  • Be an advocate for the contact center, increasing the odds that it will attract further talent

To ensure that employees feel engaged and are fulfilled at work, WEM must cover the full lifecycle of the employee. A good WEM system will address:

  • Recruitment. Tools and processes that not only attract talent but communicate the job details accurately.
  • Onboarding. Getting a new employee up to speed and feeling welcome in their new job is critical. Most organizations (let alone contact centers) have weak or non-existent onboarding. This task may be relegated to a siloed HR department or reduced to reading a few documents. WEM ensures that this is a deep and meaningful experience.
  • Coaching. Distinct from training, coaching is usually a more intimate and tailored experience, focussed on navigating individual strengths and weaknesses. Training programs under WFM are about quantity over quality. Coaching is the opposite.
  • Task management. This component is the job—the stuff the person was hired to do. A WEM framework integrates a smart system for how tasks are created, delivered, and completed, tying it to all other relevant aspects.
  • Goals and career advancement. Business goals, coaching, and tasks all feed into personal and departmental goals. WEM streamlines these things into clear pathways, rather than a vague idea.
  • Reward and recognition. Sometimes customer service can be a thankless job. People who put in extra effort, hit their goals, or overcome difficulty deserve recognition (and in some cases, an actual reward).
  • Offboarding. When someone leaves the contact center, it can be a great opportunity to learn from them and part on good terms.

What to look for in a good Workforce Engagement Management platform

WEM is a collection of many pieces of software that talk to one another. The best-in-breed WEM providers have an all-in-one solution, packaging WEM together with contact center software itself (e.g. Genesys Cloud CX).

If you already have a Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) provider and want to add in WEM functionality, here are components to look for:

  • Quality monitoring. The ability to record and evaluate agent interactions across any channel. This used to be limited to audio, but monitoring can now include speech-to-text screen recording or chat transcripts.
  • Coaching. A system to schedule coaching appointments and tools to guide both coaches and those being coached.
  • Voice of the employee systems. Extending beyond basic surveys, these are rich feedback systems that collect feedback from multiple channels, help employees connect with one another, and help leaders translate it all into action.
  • Gamification. This feature provides fast and digestible feedback loops, usually in a visually pleasing and story-bound manner (e.g. rank up in your journey!) The idea is to motivate progression and performance while supplying important metrics.
  • Analytics and dashboards. Data from all aspects of the WEM are fed into prebuilt and/or custom algorithms. These output digestible datasets can be either passed to analysts for further interpretation or sent directly to decision-makers.
  • CX insight. A good WEM should prioritize the data and insight related to the customer at the end of the agent interaction.
  • Performance management. The foundational WFM principles still need to be captured. Call times, quotas, ratings, etc. should be captured and presented in context with all other aspects of the job.
  • Team communication tools. This system should be able to “talk” to the rest of the WEM system, and ideally to the full CCaaS suite. Integrations of this nature dramatically speed up internal information sharing, cutting out the need for ugly email chains and inefficient meetings.
  • Knowledge management/knowledge base tools. Many issues can be solved through a self-serve process. A robust internal knowledge base will not only document employee FAQs and common issues but be able to intake and prioritize new issues (or update old ones with recent information).

Finding the right WEM for your organization

Inflow focuses strictly on providing the highest quality communication products and services. We will help you find a WEM solution that fits your organization’s needs no matter what contact center solution you currently have. Let’s have a chat!