Having read an article in Call Centre Helper which collated tips to inspire, engage and reward call centre agents, I started ruminating on what a tricky business that must be. A call centre workforce represents a company, it collectively espouses that company's values and jointly delivers its customer service. Often congregated in one office, under the unifying umbrella of a particular department or team, your agents can easily be seen as a uniform collective.
However, what that office really comprises is a group of individuals with different abilities, priorities, likes and dislikes. I baulked at the suggestion that being allowed to wear my own jeans for a week would motivate me or improve my work ethic, but warmed to the idea of extra holiday for 100% attendance. I'm sure you would not have to go far to find someone with a directly opposing viewpoint.
Naturally, managers can't go so far as to tailor individual rewards schemes for every employee and I'm sure that many of the ideas featured in that article are, if not universally popular, of enough general appeal to be worth doing and to have a morale benefit on the office as a whole. Who doesn't like being taken out to lunch once in a while?
Equally important for managers, I believe, is to foster an environment of communication, one in which your employees feel fairly treated and able to raise significant or ongoing concerns without fear of reprisals. Conducting regular employee surveys is a visible and transparent way of letting your employees know that their opinions and contributions are valued and respected and it's considerably less embarrassing than doing a conga with the other managers for your employees' temporary diversion.