So Rewarding

This is the final installment in a series of posts exploring the E-C-R model for performance management in in contact center. If you missed the prior posts, you can find them here: one twothree

There has been no shortage of press coverage over the past year, and most intensely these past two months, about executive compensation.  Even before the AIG, Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch bonus hubbub, terms such as ‘performance pay’ and “retention bonus” have become standard in the compensation vernacular.

As I outlined in the first three posts in this series, any effective performance management system that enables sustainable change requires a complete alignment across expectations, capabilities and rewards.  While we can debate the ethical, moral and logical merits of some of these topical compensation practices, when an organization particularly in our case, a customer service organization is embarking on a performance management system to drive continuous improvement, the rewards system is the most critical lever.  Typically, this is the most difficult aspect of the model to change because it involves many functional aspects of the organization and investment in real dollars.

The old adage in business is you manage what you measure.  The flip side to that is that people will chose the to do the work for which they are directly compensated over the work for which they are “measured”, if they identify a misalignment of the two.  Certainly this disconnect appears more often in functions where performance-based compensation is standard.  But, recognition manifests itself in more ways than just monetary compensation.  Perhaps some of these examples are evident in your organization.

  • Recruiting messages focused on employee satisfaction, yet history of subjective promotions 
  • Marketing customer intimacy, yet sales commission plans focused on new logos
  • Customer loyalty expectation in the contact center, yet AHT still predominates the scorecard
  • Drive for IT innovation, yet no white space time allowed for skunk work projects

So, as you take a closer look at your organization, what messages are you sending?  Are those messages consistent with how you are rewarding your people?  Is the current collective behavior of your organization driving you towards your goals?  If the answer is “no” to any of these, time for a visit to the local performance management chiropractor for a little realignment.  

I hope you enjoyed this series as much as I enjoyed exploring this topic.  There is certainly a much deeper level of understanding needed to implement the E-C-R framework.  But, the purpose of this series was not to provide a project plan.  It was to introduce the framework and, hopefully, get some thinking going about areas of misalignment in your organization that are hindering performance improvement.

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