Company culture is synonymous with shared values — and shared beliefs, shared working processes, shared operational goals…you get the gist. But what about the employees who simply weren’t built to run with the pack? Should managers tweak company culture to allow space for individuals, or should they ditch the employee to maintain the emphasis on a shared culture?
The truth is, company culture should always be inclusive. However, it should also be a conduit that allows individual contact center agents or managers to shine, especially at a time when studies show contact center employees are craving independence more than ever. Here’s how to create a culture that fosters independence via intrapreneurship, and how it can benefit your organization.
Move Over Team, Contact Center Agents Crave Independence
The research and data team at Balto’s Conversation Excellence Lab recently surveyed more than 2,000 contact center agents about their dream job, career, or industry. An overwhelming majority responded with a desire to gain a skill or switch careers, and 14% reported they’d want to work for themselves. While that number might seem small, it is not an insignificant percentage.
Of the 150 million in the United States workforce, roughly 10.7% identify as self-employed, a lower percentage than those who’d prefer to be self-employed in the contact center industry. Even more, 92.5% of respondents who would prefer to be self-employed are frontline employees who have between a high school and two-year college degree education.
These findings suggest that many frontline agents may feel limited in their corporate growth by their education level; therefore, they find working for themselves an attractive path with flexible schedules and control over customer interaction as added perks. So, yes, company culture must be inclusive. But it also must allow agents to explore individual independence with varying levels of personal control.
Benefits of Intrapreneurship: Internal Entrepreneurship at Contact Centers
Is there a magical way to foster independence and still maintain shared company culture? The answer is yes, via intrapreneurship! Intrapreneurship is essentially internal entrepreneurship or a system that allows employees to act as entrepreneurs within an existing organization. Rather than create new business ideas, intrapreneurs innovate new solutions to improve their current company.
Intrapreneurship is a fantastic way to stimulate contact center agents who are longing for independence and even benefits the 61% of agents who are looking to gain a new skill. This system encourages agents to tackle problem-solving from new angles, flex their individual skill sets, and practice leadership among their teams. But the benefits don’t just stop there.
Facilitating intrapreneurship opportunities in the contact center boosts company growth, talent, and yes, even culture, according to Deloitte. Increased intrapreneurship opportunities help improve employee retention and job satisfaction, and can even boost employee morale and productivity. In other words, it’s a people-centric, bottom-up approach to building your team culture.
How to Nurture Agent Independence Among a United Team
Sure intrapreneurship sounds great, but how do you implement that kind of a system in a bustling contact center? The key to initiating intrapreneurship in your contact center is to identify the key benefits that are important to your workforce — like learning a new skill — and incorporate them into your work environment, especially carving opportunities for independence.
For instance, some companies, such as Google, practice intrapreneurship through a 20% program where employees can dedicate 20% of their time to approved, cross-departmental projects that serve the greater growth of the company. That program produced results that went on to form the foundation of popular applications like Gmail and Adsense, just to name a few.
However, not every company has the freedom to dedicate one-fifth of an employees’ time towards internal investments, as time is money. If this isn’t an opinion for you, there are still plenty of ways to encourage people-centric, bottom-up intrapreneurial activities. Consider employee resource groups, lunch-and-learns, social groups around common interests, external training webinars, and educational conferences to support individual growth.
Insight from Frontline Employees to Fine-Tune Your Contact Center
Now is the time to identify your entrepreneurial-minded employees and learn what they need to be happier in their roles, particularly if they’re seeking independence within your shared company culture. Not sure where to start? The Balto Conversation Excellence Lab reports are gold mines of data, especially the latest report, Contact Center Agents and The Dream of Self-Employment. Never miss out on new reports by subscribing to future Conversation Excellence Lab reports today.