Monthly Archives: August 2021

Measuring Employee Engagement

measuring employee engagement

Measuring employee engagement. Poor engagement is costing businesses millions, but if you don’t measure it how can you manage it?

As a business owner understandably you’re focused on sales and growth.

Most business owners I work with are too.

But I also see many letting money slip through their fingers unnoticed. Profits they could retain with a few simple steps.

We’ve finally woken up to the benefits of having an engaged team yet evidence still shows that 80% or more of staff are not engaged at work.

That’s shocking and frankly quite sad.

Particularly as according to a study by Gallup, having a highly engaged workforce leads to 20% higher sales, and 21% higher profitability.

The high cost of disengagement

So, if engaged employees improve revenue and profit, how much are disengaged employees costing you? The numbers can be staggering. When Gallup collected data on this, they found disengaged employees have a 37% higher rate of absenteeism, 18% lower productivity, and 15% lower profitability.

So it’s costing businesses millions.

It’s crazy that business owners measure their financial and sales performance, yet so few measure how engaged their employees are.

And, as the management guru Peter Drucker famously said, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.”

Unfortunately disengaged employees aren’t necessarily that easy to spot.

They come to work on time, they do what’s asked of them and they say yes to your requests.

But…

These are also the people who only do the minimum expected and seldom more, they rarely go out of their way to support their colleagues, and are liable to whinge the minute your back is turned.  They’re not consciously unhappy, but nor are they enthused, excited or energised about their job.

But the worst of it is they are like a rotten apple. If we don’t spot them early they bring everyone else along with them.

Look here to take the first step in measuring your engagement levels right now.

Are you measuring employee engagement?

If you only do one thing towards measuring employee engagement:

Request a free engagement assessment here to get anonymous feedback on what you can do to improve and make your business a better place to work.

And stop those profits sneaking out the back door.

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Employee Recognition starts with Thank You

employee recognition

Employee Recognition? Why do 78% of employees feel they’re not recognised?

This isn’t the blog post I intended to share today; but I was prompted by seeing 2 uplifting posts on LinkedIn this morning, both celebrating team members’ efforts. One was from the team member herself, sharing the thank you note and flowers she’d received from her general manager, the other from the GM saying a public thank you to his team.

“So what?” you may ask. Is this such a big deal?

I believe it’s all too easy whilst businesses and their teams are working so hard to get back to any kind of normality, particularly when they are struggling to recruit staff, that some of the softer elements of leadership get forgotten.

Pre pandemic I remember reading a statistic from UK research that stated that 78% of employees didn’t feel recognised! That to me is a pretty shocking – and sad – statistic.

I doubt strongly it’s any better now.

And yet employee recognition can have a massive impact on productivity, on customers’ experience, and on staff retention.

I know I’ve written about employee recognition many times before but here are 6 ideas for employee recognition and saying thank you:

  1. A thank you will have more impact if it’s spontaneous and in the moment; at the end of a busy shift, when you spot someone helping a colleague, when you see someone going out of their way to help the customer, whenever anyone demonstrates your values.
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  2. Saying thank you will have far more impact if you’re specific; what are you thanking them for, what impact that has had on the team, for your customers, for the business, etc.
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  3. Ensure your thanks extends to those beavering away behind-the-scenes. Your grounds and building maintenance teams, your housekeepers or cleaners, your finance team. All these people have an impact on your customers’ experience, either directly or indirectly, and ultimately on your business success.
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  4. Make your thank you’s personal and appropriate for the individuals. What would they appreciate most? Public recognition? A handwritten note from you or your owner/managing director? The opportunity to leave an hour earlier to tend to a personal matter? A small token gift relevant to an interest or hobby? Apart from the last idea, none of these cost; it’s never about the money. It’s the thought that counts.
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  5. Encourage your supervisors and line managers to show recognition. Recognition doesn’t have to be rationed, so encourage them to give this freely. Help them identify how powerful recognition can be. This, of course, starts with you and how you recognise them; be their role model!
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  6. Recognition doesn’t just come from the top. Make it easy for team members to show recognition for one another: when a colleague has stepped in to help someone who is struggling, when another department has mucked-in to support on a big event, when someone’s made a personal sacrifice to cover sickness.

Take action

If you only do one thing, make a point of thanking every one of your team members for something this week.

10 ways to show your team some love

Employee recognition ideas from A-Z of Managing People video series



ROI on training

In the real world

In all my years as a trainer the #1 mistake I see businesses making with their staff training is not doing enough to make an easy transition from theory to the real world, so they fail to get any ROI on training.

What takes place in the safety, and often false environment, of the training room can be very different from what happens in the big bad real world. Particularly so with any skills training which needs practice to perfect, and time to form new habits.

This can mean, not only a poor return on investment, but can also have a negative and demotivating impact on the employee.

Here are 17 ideas to make the transition easy and gain a greater ROI on training:

  1. Avoid people leaving the training session asking “what was all that about then?” Make the link to their role before the training even begins, by discussing how the training is relevant to their job.
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  2. Check understanding of key points, and ask for ideas on how they are going to implement what they have learnt.
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  3. Help the team identify situations where they can put their learning into practice as quickly as possible, preferably within hours, or at least the next day or two, and get their commitment to one or two specific actions.
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  4. Make it clear what you want to happen long term as a result of the training, and get your team’s commitment to some specific actions – with timescales and allow them time to talk through how they’re going to achieve them.
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  5. Allow a free and open dialogue to flush out anything that might be standing in the way of that, or any concerns they have which will make it difficult or even impossible for them to implement any aspects of the training.
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  6. Check they have the necessary resources, time, authority, peer support and opportunity to put it into practice. If not, ensure you get these in place before the momentum is lost.
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  7. Look for signs of uncertainly: lack of confidence or a concern they might make mistakes, unclear on which actions are their job opposed to anyone else’s, not sure how this fits in with existing processes or ways of working, etc.
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  8. Be available for individuals to ask questions on a one to one basis after training; not everyone feels comfortable raising queries in front of colleagues, and some may need a while to reflect on what’s been covered.
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  9. Schedule time for people to practise and time for you or their line manager to check how they are doing. Or assign a mentor, coach or buddy to help overcome the initial barriers to perfecting their new skill.
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  10. Provide back-up resources such as prompt cards, diagrams or checklists.
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  11. Don’t expect perfection straight away. People need time to practise and find their own way of doing things, and not be afraid to make the odd mistake so long as they learn from it.
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  12. Everything takes longer when it’s new and you’re still learning a little from trial and error. Confidence can be low as you get to grips with it all.
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  13. Don’t let potential barriers become an excuse for not putting things into practice. Follow up promptly; the longer problems are left unresolved, the less the likelihood of anyone getting to the point it becomes habit.
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  14. Observe how they handle specific situations e.g. following customer service training observe conversations with customers and give feedback afterwards: what they’re doing well, what they could do more of, and give the appropriate coaching, support and guidance on areas where they need more help.
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  15. Reinforce messages by building exercises and activities into your daily and weekly calendar, etc., as part of team briefings or meetings, 1:1 reviews and ongoing feedback.
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  16. Recognise the role line managers have in the follow up to training. What’s working well, what fresh perspectives have they brought, what needs more practice?
  17. If the training isn’t being implemented identify what’s getting in the way now, not wait until they’ve been struggling and given up hope. When something doesn’t work right first time around it’s all too easy for them to go back to their old and familiar ways.

Get people practising their new skills, systems or ways of working every day and you’ll quickly see them build confidence, develop competence and it will soon become habit, so you get an ROI on training.

The Ebbinghaus Curve of Forgetting

Planning development video



Inspiring the next generation

Inspiring the next generation

What has the Olympics got to do with recruitment or inspiring the next generation?

OK, despite my comments at the start of the Olympics, I tune in every evening. Apart from watching our amazing Team GB, I loved seeing the video clips of kids having a go, and improvising with various household props.

A couple of weeks’ ago I wrote about some of the lessons I believe we can take away from the Olympics, or sports, in general and apply in business. If you missed this, you can read the blog post here: https://www.naturallyloyal.com/encourage-your-team/

Now the games are over, there are more lessons to learn relevant to so many industries right now, not least hospitality.

At nearly every meeting and on every discussion for hospitality lately the number one topic has been the challenge of recruiting staff. And I don’t believe hospitality is alone in struggling to find good people to recruit.

So many people have got used to the idea of having complete flexibility in their day, so the thought of returning to a full-time role and potentially unsociable hours has been far from attractive. People’s time on furlough or working from home has also given them plenty of time for reflection, and consider what’s really important to them. Even some of your most loyal team members may have had other thoughts about their career.

This coupled with Brexit has left many businesses so short staffed they’ve had to rethink some of their offering.

So, what lessons can we take from the Olympics to help with recruitment?

When you hear interviews with any of the competitors, so many of them refer back to someone or something that inspired them. And their enthusiasm and success has a knock-on impact on inspiring others. Just look how popular cycling has become since the London Olympics.

So what can we be doing to inspire others? If not for today, for the future?

Role models

It might be an entire team, or just one or two individuals who inspire others. So, who are the role models for the positions you find so challenging to fill? Gordon Ramsay as portrayed in Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares probably isn’t the best role model nor the best advertisement for encouraging youngsters to train as chefs! If you can’t think of any inspiring role models, why not become one yourself?

Start young

Many (but certainly not all) medal winners have been pursuing their dream for a very early age. Trying to get someone to change their ideas about the type of career they want to follow when they’re about to leave school is probably leaving it too late. The earlier we can engage people and open their eyes to the possibilities in the industry the better.

Getting into schools and educating, not just the pupils, but teachers and parents alike, with inspiring stories of people’s career path and experiences. Getting kids into the workplace to see for themselves. Involving kids in industry related projects.

Shout about success

The lap of honour, the medal ceremony, the hero’s welcome home, don’t just impact the winners, they make us all feel good and inspire others too.

What is your business doing to shout about your successes; whether it’s winning awards, or simply receiving some glowing feedback from a customer?

Do you share your successes in your local paper? Do you recognise individuals within your team, so they feel proud of what they do and share this with friends and family?

All this adds up to impacting, not just your employer brand, but boosting the spirits of your existing team too, and helping turn them into advocates.

Long term future

In most sports people can see a progression; what’s the next level to aspire to.

Demonstrate there’s potential to grow and develop in your business, so you’re more likely to attract people who see this as a potential longer-term career move, rather than somebody who is simply desperate for any job or sees it simply as a fill in until they get a ‘proper job’.

Share case studies and success stories from your team, their career journey and what it’s mean to them.

The full spectrum

Most sports have more than one category. A good runner isn’t just a runner; are they better suited to the marathon, 1500m or 100 meters? And every sportsman or team has an entourage behind them.

Just because someone doesn’t see themselves as the next Raymond Blanc or Tom Kerridge, shouldn’t be a reason not to consider a career in hospitality. Promote the potential breadth of careers available, apart from operational roles. E.g., marketing, finance, HR, training, sales, etc.

If you only do one thing:

Let’s be honest here, this is a not short-term solution, but even if the best time to have done this was 20 years’ ago, the next best time is now! What can you do this week to towards inspiring the next generation, or simply getting one person inspired to consider a career in hospitality (or your industry)?

Kathleen Dawson hopes to inspire next generation 


How was I supposed to know!

setting expectations

Setting Expectations

I’m just preparing a workshop focusing on setting expectations, for the next module on an in-house management development programme.

In my experience, none of us like to be he left not knowing what’s expected of us.

For example, have you ever parked somewhere, thinking it’s perfectly okay, until somebody angrily tells you that it’s private parking and you can’t park there. Or worse still you come back to your car and find you’ve been issued with a parking ticket.

In the first instance you probably feel awkward and apologetic (and probably a bit frustrated that it wasn’t clear and now wondering where you can park instead). And in the second instance you’re probably downright angry as it wasn’t clear there was no public parking.

The same principle of not know what’s expected of you can be confusing and leads to uncertainty within your team. At the very least it makes people feel awkward, and if they’re conscientious they feel bad if they’ve let you down. And of course, it’s frustrating for you because they’ve now not done what you expect.

But, in the long-term, it can also lead to the same frustration, anger and resentment we might feel if issued a parking ticket when it simply wasn’t clear. Not good for keeping employees engaged or for productivity.

So, here are 10 considerations for setting your expectations with your team

  1. Define what great looks like. It’s easy to assume your team members’ ideas of a good standard is the same, but we all have different perceptions. This is particularly so with criteria which are less tangible, such as the way they interact with customers. ‘Good service’, ‘being helpful’ or ‘giving a warm welcome’ mean different things to different people. Give people examples, and describe what you will see and hear in behavioural terms.
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  2. Focus on telling people what you want to achieve i.e. the end result, rather than always dictating how to do it (unless of course for legal or safety reasons a specific process must be followed). This leaves people with the flexibility to adopt their own style, (and it will be surprised how often they end up improving the process).
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  3. Lead by example, so there are no mixed messages. What you do and say sets the tone and example for your team to follow. Ensure the same rules apply to everyone and that the rest of your supervisory team are consistent with their expectations.
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  4. There will always be times when things don’t go exactly to plan. If your team fully understand the most critical and non-negotiable activities or standards, this will help them prioritise. So, on the odd occasion when something might get left undone it’s the least critical things that get missed off.
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  5. Put tangible metrics in place to measure success. People normally put more effort into the things you monitor than those you don’t. Rather than just measuring your sales or your bottom line, have some yardstick for measuring other aspects of people’s jobs that are critical to your success, e.g. how do you measure the various aspect of your customer service?
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  6. Communicate your metrics. If everyone knows what’s required of them and how this will be measured they can keep track of their own performance and know how they’re doing.
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  7. Set your expectations of new team members early on; no one likes uncertainty or being left in the dark. Establish a thorough induction programme, so new team members can get up to speed as quickly as possible, making it easier for them and putting less pressure on the rest of the team.
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  8. Train from scratch in your way of doing things. Even if you recruit someone with extensive experience it’s vital they fully understand your way of doing things not just how they did things in their last job.
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  9. Observe the same principles for your seasonal team as you do for your permanent team members. Your customers won’t differentiate, and one person not knowing the ropes can have a negative impact on the whole team.
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  10. Communicate to everyone when there is going to be an exception. Maybe there are circumstances on a particular day which mean that some of your rules and processes won’t apply. Make sure though that you remind people when you’re going back to normal.

Action

If you only do one thing, review the last time one of your team members didn’t complete a task the way you expected, and ask yourself how tangible was your expected outcome.

Related video: Setting objectives

Related post: Fluff Busting