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Call center agent satisfaction: A manager's guide

This guide to improving workplace performance offers tips on making employees satisfied and motivated.


A Manager's Guide to Improving Workplace Performance

Excerpted from "A Manager's Guide to Improving Workplace Performance," by Roger Chevalier. Copyright © 2007 Roger D. Chevalier. Published by AMACOM Books, a division of American Management Association, New York, NY. Used with permission. All rights reserved. For more information about this book and other similar titles, please visit AMACOM. This book may also be purchased at or Barnes &

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Chapter 4: Motivating Your Players

In an attempt to determine what factors lead to worker job satisfaction, psychologist Frederick Herzberg conducted a study in which people were asked to describe their most satisfying and dissatisfying experiences on the job and to give the reasons why. They also were asked to describe their levels of performance in the two experiences.

Dissatisfaction on the Job

In the same survey, these same people described their least satisfying experience on the job. The factors that appeared were not the absence of motivators but the presence of a different group of factors. These latter factors were originally called hygiene factors, reflecting Herzberg's earliest work with the pharmaceutical industry. He used the analogy of hygiene as being a way to avoid illness (dissatisfaction on the job) and because the factors appear to be related to lower-level needs. These factors associated with dissatisfaction are now usually described as maintenance factors since they "maintain" people on the job but do not promote performance above minimal levels:


  • Policies and administration: Employees indicated that they had problems with their organization's policies and administrative procedures.
  • Quality of supervision: Employees indicated dissatisfaction with the quality of supervision they received.
  • Relationships with others: Employees indicated dissatisfaction with the interpersonal relationships they had with seniors, peers, and subordinates.
  • Work conditions: Employees indicated that they had problems with the work environment and conditions.
  • Salary: Employees indicated that their salaries did not reflect their performance or their contributions to the organization.
  • Impact of the job on personal life: Employees indicated that the job had an adverse effect on their personal lives.

    How many of these factors were present when you had your least satisfying work experience?

    What You Can Do

    As a manager, you need to realize that you can maintain your employees by providing a safe and secure work environment where their lower-level needs are satisfied (maintenance factors). You can also motivate them when they have an opportunity to achieve, grow, and be recognized to satisfy higher-level needs. Maintenance factors will not motivate workers after the related lower-level needs are satisfied; motivators are necessary to sustain performance. Let's take a look at several types of motivators.

    Job Enrichment

    A technique that adds opportunities for employees to fulfill their higher-level needs is job enrichment. By enriching their jobs you can ensure more opportunities for them to take pride in what they are doing. Remember, of course, that you must ensure that their lower-level needs are met to some reasonable degree before attempting to enhance their jobs.

    There are certain core dimensions of a job that come into play as you enrich the jobs that people are doing:


  • Task identity: Employees can identify more with the final product; they produce an identifiable product that they can take pride in making.
  • Task significance: Employees can see how their work affects the finished product, the others whom they work with, and the customers who will use the product.
  • Variety of skills: Employees use many different skills to complete their work.
  • Autonomy: Employees make decisions regarding how the work process is done, such as the production schedule and procedures to do the job.
  • Feedback: Employees receive timely, specific feedback on the quality of their work.
  • Responsibility: Employees are given responsibility for the completion of the tasks.

    Read the rest of this excerpt and download Chapter 4: Motivating Your Players

    Read other excerpts and download more sample chapters from our CRM and call center bookshelf

    To purchase the book or other similar titles, please visit AMACOM.

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