The Enemy of Engagement

Put an End to Workplace Frustration--and Get the Most from Your Employees

The Enemy of Engagement

Authors: Mark Royal, Tom Agnew
Pub Date: October 2011
Print Edition: $21.95
Print ISBN: 9780814439081
Page Count: 240
Format: Paper or Softback
e-Book ISBN: 9780814417966

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Frustration: The Silent Killer

The Bernette financial call center culture is the envy of the

industry. Turnover is low. Nearly every employee believes in

the mission: They’re helping people buy homes, helping busi-

nesses serve their communities, and helping families achieve

their dreams. Customer surveys invariably show that Bernette

customers are overall “very satisfied” with the help they get

when they call or e-mail. Questions get answered. Problems get

resolved. Customer service representatives are viewed as help-

ful, knowledgeable, and friendly.

By and large, Bernette call center employees are engaged and

committed to the success of the organization. But is engagement

enough? Let’s look at the situations faced by the employees

we’ve met so far.

Lauren made her mark on the call center by figuring out a

better way to forecast scheduling needs. She is self-motivated

to be efficient and effective. Solving a vexing problem is its own

reward for her. She wants to work in a challenging environment

that allows her to continue to be successful. If her current

employer doesn’t offer one, she is confident that another em-

ployer will.

Lauren’s boss, Beth, recently witnessed the departure of a

long-term, highly valued executive at the bank. And she knows

she might lose another valuable employee, Lauren, unless she

can open up the flow of information and get the resources that

Lauren and her direct reports need so that they can continue to

do their jobs well. Beth is also grappling with the situation

faced by Bob, the customer service rep with the highest custo-

mer satisfaction ratings but the slowest completion rate. She

is having trouble getting approval to transfer Bob to the mar-

keting department, where he’ll be a better fit and continue to

make a valuable contribution to Bernette.

Stacy is a long-term Bernette employee who is struggling

with scheduling issues. She isn’t getting the information she

needs from Lauren so that she can schedule reps for optimum


And Bob is in a job that doesn’t make the best use of his capa-


All these employees are motivated and want to succeed.

They all have a high regard for the bank’s leaders and believe

in the bank’s mission. They want to “do more with less” just as

they are being asked to do. But due to constraints in the work

environment, they can’t, and that has them feeling frustrated.

This isn’t a case of temperamental, indifferent, or intellectually

challenged management. Bernette has a well-earned reputation

for being a great place to work. Its executives are known as

competent and caring individuals. But the organization, like

many today, is undergoing change. It’s growing, organically and

through acquisition, and its senior leaders are focused on man-

aging expenditures at a time when the bank’s costs are increas-

ing faster than its revenues. As popular as they are with call cen-

ter employees, the bank’s senior executives might not sense the

frustration of the reps who can’t do their jobs without the right

tools, or of the supervisors who can’t manage the call center as

effectively as they once did.

The irony here is that the more loyal and engaged employees

are, the deeper their frustration will run in the face of obstacles.

Simply put, they are frustrated because they care.

This book is focused on employees who are engaged, motivated,

and loyal—who aren’t ready to give up—but who are

experiencing frustration on the job.

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