What this call centre can teach you about employee engagement

Truly engaged staff need to feel empowered, says Moneypenny CEO Ed Reeves.

Last Updated: 04 Feb 2019

The UK's largest communications outsourcing service has an innovative approach to employee wellbeing. 

Staff at Moneypenny - or PAs as it likes to call them - are offered an interest free loan of up to £2,000 and were consulted about what they wanted from its new office. As a result the Wrexham HQ now features a tree house and a pub.

It’s clearly an approach that’s paid dividends. The company is a stalwart of the Sunday Times Best Places to Work list and has a staff churn rate of below five per cent, in an industry with an average of 20. But as founder Ed Reeves explains, it takes more than a quirky environment to grow a happy workforce. To create truly engaged employees you need to give them a sense of empowerment.

"We’re only as good as the people who deal with our customers so we’ve built our business around the idea of empowerment.

"We involve our PAs in decisions within the business and we give them the sense that they are in charge of their own destiny. We don't have tiers of managers or anybody walking the floor - as tends to be the norm for call centres - instead each individual employee gathers their own call volume information and reports it when they want.

"It's the same with quality monitoring. Everyone within the business has a number of their calls recorded, and these calls are presented back to the employee and they star themselves and say how they think they could improve.

"It's a self regulating system. If a person isn't answering their calls, their colleagues end up dealing with the over spill so there's that pressure in effect. That peer pressure is a critical element in encouraging that self management.

"The aim is that our staff feel individually responsible for how a call is handled, rather than just a number in a call centre environment.

"It’s been at the fabric of Moneypenny right from the outset. It’s taken some moulding and we’ve had to accept that there are some premises that we need to work around. Initially we let people take as long as they wanted for lunch breaks and that was too far.

"But the overall result is that we have an extremely flat structure, we have exceptional standards and staff who are particularly well engaged. It makes us far more profitable because we don't have to invest in monitoring management or recruitment."

Further reading

For more detail on what empowerment looks like in practice, see this case study of US furniture firm Steelcase. For tips on how to build a company that people love to work, read this piece by Reeves’ co-founder Rachel Clacher. To find out how extreme corporate team building turned around Dreams beds, click here.

Image credits: kieferpix/gettyimages



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