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Finding the Right Work-Life Balance is Essential for the Millennial Generation


By Donna Fluss

View this document on the publisher’s website.

To deliver great service, contact centers need to hire the right number of employees so that an appropriate number of agents is available to address projected number of interactions (calls, emails, chats, SMS, social media, etc.) for every 15-minute interval of the day. This is conceptually simple, but difficult to do in practice. Workforce management solutions are not perfect at forecasting volumes, and when the results are off, it’s generally agents who are asked to “give” and be flexible with their schedules. Well, this hasn’t necessarily been a good approach in the past, but the aging baby boomers were at least more accepting of last-minute schedule changes than the up-and-coming millennial generation, who see their personal time as sacred.

A great way to accelerate your shop’s agent attrition has always been to tell people that they need to frequently adjust their personal lives to accommodate the changing needs of your contact center, but the millennials take this to a whole new level. If they don’t quit on the spot, just give them a few days to earn gas money and many of them will be “out of there.” But, please don’t judge them until you listen to their calls. Just because they don’t share your after-hours work ethic and long-standing commitment to your employer doesn’t mean that they won’t be highly dedicated to your company during their working hours. Millennials may not exhibit a lasting dedication to your business, but how dedicated is the business to them? Things have changed.

Here are some workforce management tips that will help keep millennial-generation contact center agents, as well as other employees, more satisfied. Just because the millennials have a different approach, it’s not entirely wrong. Maybe they know something we baby boomers didn’t.

Contact center workforce management dos:

  • Allow agents to select the hours they want to work
  • Allow agents to split shifts
  • Allow part-time schedules
  • Allow agents to easily change their schedules
  • Accommodate public transportation schedules
  • Allow work from home
  • Immediately approve/reject time-off requests
  • Give agents autonomy in requesting/swapping shifts, hours, breaks, meals
  • Incent agents to work when most needed
  • Allow voluntary overtime and early leave when practical

Here are a few things not to do when managing millennials:

  • Require agents to change their personal commitments for work
  • Require agents to work consecutive shifts
  • Require everyone to work standard days and shifts
  • Require a 40-hour work week for all employees
  • Make agents wait weeks to be granted or denied a schedule change
  • Have the same start time for everyone
  • Pay people less when they work from home
  • Make agents plead their case to their supervisor
  • Play favorites
  • Under-staff on busy days
  • Demand shorter lunches, overtime and forced time off