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an in-depth guide

Workforce engagement management (WEM)

Running a contact center team? Want to better understand how a good WEM solution can help both agents and supervisors perform at a much higher level? Book a product tour to see how Dialpad's AI-powered customer engagement platform can work for your team!


Managing a workforce is no easy task. Contact center managers need to keep things running efficiently, keep customers onside, and keep employees motivated—in an industry where staff turnover is super-high.

It goes without saying that you need the right tools to achieve this. Workforce management (WFM) software is part of good contact center solutions, but larger businesses may find they need a few extra elements.

Let's take a closer look at the evolving world of workforce engagement management and see how a good contact center solution can help you stay on top of employee engagement, customer satisfaction, and quality management.

What do we mean by workforce engagement?

In the context of contact centers, workforce engagement refers to the business' approach to motivating and empowering agents and supervisors to do their best work. Successful workforce engagement often requires clear communication, skill development, recognition, and feedback, which ultimately all work together to create a positive environment where agents can thrive.

What is WEM?

Workforce engagement management (WEM) aims to solve the overarching issues of staff management, optimization, and churn, without sacrificing customer experience.


WFO, or workforce optimization, is specifically focused on how you optimize productivity and reducing costs in order to maximize customer engagement. (You've probably heard of names like Calabrio or Verint.)


Workforce management (WFM) refers to the process of scheduling and managing your staff, which, like WFO, is a sub-section of an overall WEM strategy.


QM (quality management) is the process that a business takes to ensure consistently great service. With QM, contact center leaders can get very granular, down to analyzing individual customer calls to make sure agents are adhering to compliance requirements, company playbooks, and so on.

While a customer-focused approach is great, businesses are now realizing that employee experience and wellbeing are critically important for a great customer experience—and a successful contact center.

👉 Side note:
Between Dialpad and Playvox, you get the full spectrum of WFM and WEM tools for contact centers, as well as unified communications—it’s the complete package!

How does effective WEM in a contact center improve culture and performance?

Improves agent retention

The job of an agent can be a thankless task, dealing with high call volumes and irate customers. WEM tries to address that with the right management and the tools­—meaning the workload will be less stressful, and your customers will have no reason to complain.

With better staffing and robust training, agents can answer calls quickly and give their full attention to each one, as well as having access to customer information through integrated CRMs. It’s rewarding when they solve a problem the first time and earn the customer’s respect.

The opportunity for feedback and career development also increases the likelihood of agent retention. Today, employees are used to frequent job changes, and this will likely become even more common with the next generation—taking care of agents is key to reducing your turnover.

Improves customer satisfaction and loyalty

Effective forecasting, scheduling, and training goes a long way toward keeping customers happy. They won’t have to spend ages on hold or get passed around multiple agents—smart routing tools mean they’ll always be directed to the most suitable person.

This also means your abandoned call rate will decrease, as agents can pick up the phone before the customer has a chance to slam it down in frustration! This uptick in your metrics will keep everyone happy and motivated.

Great customer service makes callers feel that your business really cares about their needs. Satisfied customers give good feedback and leave good reviews, as well as sharing their experience with others.

Improves customer lifetime value

A better customer experience also breeds long-term loyalty, which is not to be underestimated. It’s six to seven times more expensive to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one!

Since customer lifetime value (LTV) represents the total revenue generated by a customer over their entire journey with your company, encouraging them to stick around will certainly boost your bottom line.

A dedicated customer experience (CX) platform can help you do that. Dialpad's built-in artificial intelligence technology is designed to give your customers self-service options and provide faster answers with its unique blend of conversational AI and deep semantic search.

Helps optimize contact center budgets

A good automation tool doesn't just streamline your workflows. It can provide more accurate forecasting and show you how many staff are needed, so you won’t be paying someone to sit around when there’s no work to do—nor will you have to call agents in at the last minute (and pay extra) to help with a sudden rush.

And with lower staff turnover, you'll also spend less on recruiting and onboarding new hires!

Helps contact centers maintain compliance with privacy regulations

Training agents on your products or services is one thing, but there's the compliance and privacy regulations piece too. Again, having a good communication platform can be very helpful—Dialpad, for example, can automatically pop up notes on agents' screens to remind them of the rules during calls when certain keywords are spoken (like "credit card number"). With its open API, you can also set it up to automatically pause recordings, for example, as credit card information is being entered.

Contact centers can also set up exception lists so that calls are automatically excluded from being recorded, since certain states are two-party consent states:

Contact center edit exception list

Important elements of workforce engagement management

It’s up to you to decide how you’ll implement WEM, but here are a few crucial elements:

Recruitment and onboarding

This process should set the standard for employee engagement, with clear expectations, comprehensive training, and the chance to ask for clarification. Your staff should quickly become familiar with the tools and processes used in your contact center.

Evaluation and improvement

Managers and staff should know which metrics will be used to measure agent performance and what represents a good or bad score. You need a WEM solution with centralized analytics to show who’s excelling (and who’s struggling), as well as defining clear protocols for improvement.

Performance management

When a manager spots an issue or an agent needs help, they should be able to easily access smart coaching tools. Gamification is another way to boost employee engagement.

Time management

This includes contact center forecasting, scheduling, and intraday management—that’s where you prepare yourself for unexpected changes in staff levels or call volumes, and reforecast targets accordingly. Customer self-service tools and other features like an auto attendant or IVR are also super-handy for busy periods. Fun fact: Dialpad comes with built-in analytics and heat maps that show you things like average speed to answer and call volume patterns:

Heat map average speed to answer in dialpad contact center v4 blog size

Task management

Create workflows that spread tasks out fairly, help everyone understand their roles, and provide agent-assistance tools (like Dialpad’s pop-up Real-time Assist cards). You can also enable shift-bidding and schedule-swapping, empowering employees to tweak their own workload and showing that you trust them.

Employee recognition

The aim is to improve the agent experience, which can be even harder with remote workers. WEM makes sure that all employees have a voice and are recognized for their good work, as well as demonstrating transparency and connectedness.

Recent data on CX and employee attrition impacts on business

As we mentioned earlier, it’s an unfortunate fact that contact centers suffer from high staff churn. The industry has turnover rates of 25% to 35%, and the organizational cost could be as much as a whopping 150% of an employee’s yearly salary.

And it’s not only employee attrition that affects your bottom line. In the US alone, companies lose nearly $700 billion in revenue due to poor customer service. It’s clear that contact centers need to address the way they treat both agents and customers if they want to remain profitable­. They also need to keep in mind that in the modern environment, competitors are only a mouse-click away.


Grab the Contact Center Playbook, which breaks down everything you need to know, from setup to staffing to optimizing—with examples from real contact center teams across different industries.

Critical capabilities of workforce engagement management software

Meeting staffing needs—forecasting and scheduling

WEM aims to ensure your contact center is neither overstaffed or understaffed, striking a balance between maximizing coverage and minimizing idle time.

If you’re managing 50+ agents, you definitely need advanced workforce management tools to help you predict how many staff are required, and to organize the schedule. Providing employees a good work/life balance while accommodating business volume demands is tricky without automated assistance from modern solutions equipped with AI.

With Dialpad’s contact center software, you can use heatmaps to visualize call volume patterns and average answer speed, while our fully integrated Playvox WFM solution adds real-time forecasting and automated omnichannel scheduling.

Playvox Scheduling
🔎 A closer look:
These tools helped Smart AutoCare move its 150-seat contact center from Excel to automated forecasting and scheduling—check out their story here.

Performance evaluation

To give effective feedback, you need to first gather and analyze the right activity data. WEM solutions should empower you to easily evaluate the overall performance of your contact center and see metrics for individual agents, as well as specific teams.

Playvox, for example, gives you real-time data from voice, chat, social, and ticketing platforms to help you monitor adherence (agents sticking to the plan) and occupancy.

In general, look for tools that let you measure average answer times and frequency of first call resolution, and AI which provides sentiment analysis to determine if your callers are happy. In Dialpad, a supervisor can quickly scan all active calls and monitor sentiment. If a call looks like it's going south, they can read the live transcript before deciding whether to jump in:

Sentiment analysis single item v2

Coaching to drive performance

WEM is also about personal and professional development, so you’ll need a way to provide ongoing training for all agents. Coaching tools might include call recording, battle cards, training courses, and assessment quizzes. Quick tip: Always allow agents to offer feedback on how they think the coaching is going. It'll help you improve the coaching!

🤔 Did you know?

As well as listening in to calls or viewing live transcriptions, Dialpad lets managers and supervisors to “barge” in on calls, which isn’t as obnoxious as it sounds—it just means they can offer help if the call is going south!

Workforce engagement management analytics

Your WEM platform should have easy-to-view dashboards and reports that show you what’s happening in every corner of the contact center, to help with performance management and agent engagement. But what types of analytic should you be looking at?

Dialpad gives you speech analytics, Custom Moments (revealing new problems or repeated competitor mentions), sentiment analysis—plus text analytics, because customer service isn’t just about voice calls! (The added Playvox functionality provides deeper insights into adherence, occupancy, service levels, and forecast accuracy.)

Quality management

Besides keeping a close eye on employee engagement, managers have to ensure they deliver consistently high-quality service. There’s a lot to think about, so it’s good to centralize all interactions in one platform—again, the fully integrated Dialpad + Playvox solution is designed for this.

Playvox QM adds robust quality management to Dialpad's cloud contact center functionality, integrating with customer service and CRM platforms like Salesforce, Intercom, Zendesk, and more:

Salesforce Post call logging Dialpad integration v2

Voice of the Customer (VoC) relevance

Voice of the Customer is a big thing in WEM. Customer feedback doesn't cost anything, and it can give you great insights into specific agent performance and help you spot issues, make customers feel valued, and improve your customer experience.

What's underrated, though, is that with the focus on employee engagement in WEM, you can also use VoC surveys to capture ratings and feedback, and pair it with agent evaluation data to identify issues and provide more effective training.

Voice of the Employee (VoE) programs

As you might expect, VoE is at the forefront of WEM. It involves asking employees for their feedback, giving them an official channel to express opinions and concerns, without fearing the consequences. Managers can use these insights to engage and motivate agents, and develop a culture where feedback is encouraged.

VoE programs often take the form of surveys with questions like: Do you feel your manager values your opinion? Are you proud to work for this company? Are there any further resources you need to do your job?

Employee recognition programs

Beyond just giving agents extra help when needed, it’s important to recognize good work and commitment. This helps keep agents motivated, and can also inspire the whole team to greater things.

Some WEM systems allow staff to earn points and badges based on quality scores or other metrics, or let you give virtual shoutouts. In Playvox, you can create your own customized “Karma Store” to reward agents with points that they can exchange for gifts.

Motivation and gamification tools

As we mentioned earlier, gamification and incentivization help to keep your agents focused on their key objectives and have a bit of fun at the same time.

When you add Playvox to Dialpad, you can access customizable and gamified motivation (including a built-in social Community Wall to encourage team spirit and inspiration).

Other important features to look for in a WEM solution

Call recording

Call recording is another essential feature to look for in contact center software. It helps you avoid disputes, and you can use recordings in training to show agents examples of both positive and negative calls.

👉 Dialpad tip:

To make sure your agents are staying compliant, look for a solution that lets you turn off or pause recordings and delete the data afterward if necessary.

All-in-one team communications

In WEM, communication is crucial—from managers setting clear expectations and giving feedback, to agents raising concerns. And it’s not just about talking shop: Chatting with colleagues promotes wellbeing and prevents loneliness for remote workers.

For a truly unified experience, check out Dialpad’s AI-powered collaboration platform. With voice, video, group chat, SMS/MMS messaging, and contact center functionality all in one place, there’s no need to toggle between apps:

Phone call on desktop mobile app Single Item Card v2

Learning and knowledge management

With a good WEM solution, you're essentially committing to ongoing learning and making sure agents feel confident in delivering efficient service. As well as training and coaching, it’s good to create a knowledge base where agents can easily search for information.

Learning management is built into Playvox, with instructional courses to improve agents’ skill sets. You can track agent results and improvements or deficiencies, and use learning comprehension checks.

Ready to scale your workforce engagement management?

If you want to motivate and retain employees while maintaining quality, efficiency, and customer satisfaction, a WEM solution is the ideal addition to your contact center platform.

Pairing Playvox’s workforce engagement management solution with Dialpad will not only help you reduce costs, but also help your agents become more efficient—and all the tools you need come in one package.

Looking for a fully integrated WEM solution?

Dialpad lets you handle phone calls, communicate with teammates through different channels, and of course, engage your workforce—all in one robust platform. Book a demo, or take a self-guided interactive tour of the app on your own!