Category Archives: Employee Engagement

How important is happiness at work

happiness at work

How to create happiness at work

This week is “Week of Happiness”, so I feel it’s appropriate to talk about happiness at work today.

I am a firm believer that the happier your team the happier your customers.

Happiness spreads and a happy team makes for a better place to work, lower staff turnover, fewer absences, your team are more productive and work better together, and it’s easier to recruit, all of which adds up to lower labour costs.

Although I’m not suggesting that happiness and engagement are the same thing, I am sure the two go hand in hand.

I know I talked about “Mood Hoovers” a couple of weeks ago; the ones who don’t like it when you are full of the joys of spring, when they’ve got out of bed on the wrong side and made up their mind to stay in their miserable state all day, determined to burst everyone else’s bubble and literally suck your good mood, all your energy and all your happiness from you. None of which is conducive to creating happiness at work.

Anyone who knows me well, will know I’m not a great one for formality. But I do recognise that informality is not an excuse to be unprofessional. I believe you can still have some fun and create a happy team whilst remaining professional.

Helping people be happy at work makes them more receptive and engaged (which is important for you) and enjoyable (important for the team).

Although you can’t force people to be happy, you can create a culture where happiness thrives.

Here are 10 ideas towards creating a culture of happiness and making your team more productive.

  1. Like so much in your business, it starts with you. If you are moody, unapproachable, or take yourself too seriously, this inevitably rubs off on others. But I also believe the same can be true if you are happy, that happiness spreads.
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  2. Understand what’s important to each of your team members. Take time to talk and listen to build relationships, and show an interest in them as individuals. Clarify expectations, not just what you want from them, but what they want from you and the job.
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  3. Involve your team. Seek their views and ideas on things that impact them particularly in areas where they have more involvement than you.
    E.g. many of them will spend more time with customers than you and often spot things you might miss.
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  4. Show you care. Be approachable for people to talk to you, but still listen and observe, so you can pick up on and deal with any concerns quickly. Identify where people need support, where they need more resources or a better system. Use problems or mistakes as a learning opportunity rather than apportioning blame.
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  5. Do something fun but with a serious note in aid of charity. It might be a one off to mark an awareness day such as Red Nose Day, Children in Need, or Macmillan coffee morning, or maybe in support of a charity with special meaning for one or more of your team. Or a longer term project in support of a chosen charity throughout the year. This is a good opportunity to bring people together from different departments, and gives people a sense of purpose.
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  6. Add variety. Create opportunities for the team to do something different to what they are used to, to make their day more interesting.  Take people away from their usual environment occasionally (as long as this doesn’t make them uncomfortable or become a distraction) such as holding meetings outside. Break up routine activities with fun energisers and ‘right brain’ activities. These might seem trivial, but getting your team members involved keeps them energized and in a better state of mind.
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  7. Recognise and acknowledge people’s contribution. Remember to say thank you at the end of a busy shift, when someone has helped a colleague, or gone out of the way for a customer. The more specific your thanks, the more value it has. Celebrate successes, not necessarily just things at work, but also things which are happening outside of work; their own personal achievements, or causes for celebration, such as gaining a qualification, passing their driving test, having their first child or grandchild, a big birthday, etc.
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  8. Show you trust your team members by empowering them to make decisions on things which come under their responsibility. Give them the flexibility to do things in the own way, the way it feels most comfortable and natural to them providing of course it’s safe. Very often the way which people work – it’s the end result that’s important not how they actually arrived at that end result. Particularly with customer interaction, this allows people to be themselves.
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  9. Show your commitment to helping people develop. Not everyone wants to progress, but that doesn’t mean to say they don’t want to be stretched or given opportunities for new challenges.
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  10. Have some fun. Do something as a team (or whole company), whether it’s 5 aside football, a quiz team or trying something nobody has done before, such as I did last year in an archery competition.  Let them choose, but give it your backing, cheer them on and celebrate their successes. Even better if you can combine it by celebrating with a treat. It can be as lavish or as little as you like: afternoon tea, wine tasting, pizza night. Create some light hearted competition with quizzes, games or league tables. Copy some of the gamification ideas you see on apps such as awarding badges, progress charts, treasure hunts.

Take action

If you only do one thing: pick just one of the above ideas that you don’t do already and make a point of focusing on that one thing today.

Video: Happiness in Creating a Service Culture



Mastering your Motivation

mastering your motivation

Four strategies for Mastering your Motivation

Mastering your motivation and how you feel determines your behaviour, your results, and effects the people around you. If you want your team to be motivated it starts with you.

Do you ever get those days when it seems the world is conspiring against you, when it’s a struggle to find your motivation?

I know I do!

I’ve left the back door open and my kittens have escaped, a red sock has got mixed in with the white wash, a saucepan boils over, I burn the toast…

Particularly after a long week or a few late nights we can all get a little tetchy, and it’s very easy to start to apportion blame, even if it is just blaming our tools. As the saying goes “a bad workman blames his tools”.

But as I know, there was only one thing to blame, and that’s me!

Although on each of these examples it is just down to me – operator error, we can’t always control our experience.

But we can control is our response to it and therefore the outcome.

Examples of this are when we allow others to influence how we feel, for example when someone criticises us personally, when a customer complains, or when a colleague snaps at us. Or when something happens that’s not aimed at us personally, but we know it will mean more work, or impact the business, such as new government guidelines. Or it could simply be something as mundane as the weather.

I’m sure we can all think of people we live or work with who are “Mood Hoovers”; they are the ones who don’t like it when you are full of the joys of spring, when they’ve got out of bed on the wrong side and made up their mind to stay in their grumpy state, determined to burst your bubble and literally suck your good mood and all your energy from you.

As Eleanor Roosevelt said, “No one can hurt you without your consent”.

As a trainer and coach I know only too well how the way I feel determines my behaviour, and therefore my results, including the knock on effect on the people I’m working with.The  ‘trick’ to mastering your motivation is to decide, irrespective of what happens on the outside, that I choose to feel good on the inside. We can’t control the wind, but we can learn to set a better sail.

Easier said than done? Here are my top four strategies for mastering your motivation:

1. Start by being outcome focused.

It’s inevitable we get more of what we focus on, so if I’m focusing on something positive, for example “how can I make today a great day?” opposed to “I know today is all going to go horribly wrong!” I know I have a much greater chance of having a good day. My mind is focused on the things I do want.

This strategy also translates well into the workplace, keeping people focused on a positive outcome If people know what’s expected of them, and more importantly the outcome, there is a much greater chance that they’ll achieve it. We start to pick up on the knowledge, skills and behaviours that take us further forward towards the goal, and can adjust our course accordingly.

2. Always playing from a 10.

It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy, that if we approach things from a position of negativity the chances are we’ll end up with a negative result.

So instead of approaching challenging tasks or people from an unresourceful state such as self-pity, lethargy, lacking confidence, confused or expecting failure, approach from a resourceful state such as creative thinking, how you can have some fun, being confident, enthusiastic and energetic.  It’s amazing how this rubs off on even the most reluctant people!

The same goes for problem solving in the workplace – if the boss implies that it’s tough, it probably can’t be done, or that people aren’t up to the task, guess what? They’ll prove the boss right. This doesn’t mean to say that they should make everything out to be easy, but let’s think about how much doom and gloom we’ve heard of late and the impact this has on us.

3. Reframing

When problems arise, (let’s face it, even with the best laid plans things can go array from time to time) rather than trying to blame others, approaching these from a place of independency. Asking “what can I do to improve the situation?” “What’s in my control?” Rather than focusing on what’s gone wrong, seeing it as a failure.

Take the approach that Thomas Edison took, by establishing what you’ve learnt.

This is also a useful technique for anyone lacking confidence coaching situation; learn from it and move on. Developing this approach in the workplace can engender a learning culture, where it’s OK to make mistakes, as long as you learn from it and don’t make the same mistake again. What better way to develop people and foster creativity and innovation.

4. Emotion is created by motion

The way we feel emotionally affects the way we feel physically. The reverse is also true. When we move physically, we move emotionally, too. So, our physiology will influence our feelings and the feelings of people around us. This means, if we mooch around all day lethargically, we’re far more likely to elicit negative emotions, than if we’re smiling, making eye contact and making gestures. It’s difficult, if not impossible to be depressed if you stand tall, head up, and with a smile on your face and with deeper breathing. Smiling and laughing make us feel good and happy.

The energy we put into our actions will be reflected in the energy of those around us.

It is remarkable to see how our behaviours (winning or not) have a knock on effect on the people around us, and the results we ultimately achieve. And I’m sure that if you were to ask any of your colleagues they can certainly tell when you’re playing from something other than a ten.

What winning behaviours do you, or could you, adopt to master your motivation?

Take Action to Master your Motivation

If you only do one thing: The next challenge you face today ask the question “What’s within my control, and what can I do to resolve the problem or improve the situation?”

Related video Choose your Mood

Related article Misery Loves Company



How to engage employees returning to work after furlough

How to engage employees returning to work

Conducting return to work one to one meetings to engage employees returning to work after furlough or working from home

As more of your team return to work, they will probably be returning with a mix of emotions. Some will welcome getting back to some routine, others may have missed to social aspects of work, and others are just relieved they still have a job to come back to.

But despite that, many will have concerns about their long term future. Some may be uncomfortable about changes to their role, and some may be anxious about their safety, either within work or on their journey to work.

If left to fester, these concerns can have a big impact.

Not just on the person concerned, but as this gets picked up by colleagues, it can have a knock on effect on how they feel and how engaged they are too.

All of which ultimately has an impact on productivity and your customers’ experience.

One way to help engage employees returning, is to conduct return to work 1:1 meetings with everyone. This is something I’ve been helping a couple of my clients with over the past few weeks.

Unlike a regular one to one (which are always important to engage employees at any other time) these won’t focus so much on reviewing performance, but will be geared towards looking forward.

Here is the 7 step CLEARER framework I’ve created to engage employees returning to work

1. Connect

The easiest way to make a connection is to ask about their time on furlough. What have they been up to? What’s been good about their time at home? Have they taken up any new hobbies, discovered or rediscovered things that are important to them or activities they enjoy, have any of their priorities in life changed as a result of time away from work?

2. Listen

It’s important to discover how they feel about being back at work. What concerns do they have, what questions about the business, their role, new ways of working? Some people are very good at putting on a brave face; listen to their tone and watch their body language. Listen out for the things they don’t say or any questions they avoid answering. You may need to do some ‘fluff busting’ to get to the heart of any concerns. (Fluff busting works well in any situation when it’s important to get to the heart of the matter)

3. Establish expectations

It’s inevitable that some ways of working and duties will have changed. If there are duties that used to be part of their role that are now less of a priority, explain why this is. If these were tasks they did well or took a particular pride in doing, be sensitive to how you handle this, so they don’t get the impression that their previous efforts were not appreciated.

4. Agree any actions

As a result of your discussion they may have some suggestions, so make it clear how these will be actioned, by whom and when. Check what they need from you, and your commitment to do what’s needed, so you both know where you stand.

5. Reassure

Let them know you are there to support them, and to come to you with later questions, concerns or suggestions. Reassure them of your commitment to their safety and ongoing support.

6. Enthuse, excite and energise

It’s all too easy to dwell on the past few months. Behaviour breeds behaviour, so demonstrate your enthusiasm and excitement about the opportunities ahead.

7. Review date

Set follow up dates with everyone. Even though you’ve told them you are there for them, some would never initiate a conversation or come to you for help unless it’s in the privacy of a scheduled one to one meeting.

Of course, don’t forget those team members still on furlough or working from home. It’s still important to maintain regular contact with them too.

If you only do one thing to engage employees returning to work:

Get a date in the diary today to sit down with each of your team on a one to one basis. Then stick to it!

Here’s a short video on conducting back to work one to ones (which I recorded before creating the CLEARER framework)



Show you value your team

3 ways to demonstrate you value your team members

Even under normal circumstances it’s important to show you value your team members; I believe we all like to be valued and our team are no exception.

But, now more so than ever, particularly if they are still on furlough.

This was one of the topics discussed on last week’s Fresh Start programme.

So here are three areas to consider to demonstrate you value your team members, whether they are still on furlough or now back at work.

Respect

One way to demonstrate you value your team is to show them respect. Whether they are back with you, or they are on furlough, but just all those little common courtesies of checking in to see how they are, saying please and thank you. To demonstrate personal integrity with them, to ask their opinion on things particularly the things that are going to be impacting them and things that where they are going to have a view.

Show that you actually care about them as individuals, so it’s not just about the business and your guests safety but also about their own safety when they get back to work.

Trust

If you want your team members to trust you, start by demonstrating your trust in them.

The easiest way for you to be able to demonstrate trust is giving them things that you know that they’re going to do a good job with. So, play to people’s strengths give them things where they can demonstrate their strengths and you’re going to be confident that they’ll do well.

Empower your team to make decisions on things which come under their responsibility; you can’t give someone responsibility but then not empower them to make those decisions. A classic situation is dealing with a customer complaint.

Give people the flexibility to do things in the way that feels most comfortable to them providing of course it’s safe. Very often the way which people work – it’s the end result that’s important not how they actually arrived at that end result.

When giving them responsibility – coming back to those things where they have strengths – if you give people flexibility and ownership then inevitably they’re going to do a better job because they know that the result’s down to them.

Recognition

The third way to demonstrate you value your team members is acknowledging their contribution.

For example putting people forward for awards; it’s amazing what impact that can have. It’s being nominated which is the important factor, not the winning… although the winning of course is really nice if it happens.

Thinking about how you celebrate success. Not necessarily just things at work, but also things which are happening outside of work; personal achievements to them as well. Many people of course while they have been investing in their personal development or maybe taking on new hobbies and interest whilst they’ve been on furlough. So it’s good to be recognising some of those things too.

One final thing I think with all of this which goes throughout the whole of the theme in terms of showing people that they are valued is to say a very sincere thank you. Not a vague and generic thank you, but actually thanking them for some specific contributions, so that they know that we actually do mean it.

So, those are three ways to demonstrate that you value your team members: Respect, Trust and Recognition

demonstrate you value your team

Demonstrate you value your team by Entering Awards

Video: Giving employees recognition



Team Communication

team communication

 

Ask any company for the number one thing their employees complain about, or a group of employees for the biggest frustrations with their employer, and a lack of communication will invariably be high on the list.

If you were on the Hospitality Revival Summit last week there were a number of recurring themes. One of these was the importance an engaged team to ensure that when your customers do return they get a fantastic customer experience.

Team communication is a key part of this, and I’ll come back to that in a moment…

With the importance of an engaged team in mind, I am re-running my successful “Lessons in Leadership” programme. This 5 hour programme is delivered over 5 days and we start next Monday 15th June.

If you feel you could benefit from a brush up on your man-management and leadership skills before your team return to work, this is perfect for you and any of your management team who might also welcome the opportunity.

When I ran this in April I had a fabulous response, from junior managers and experienced managers alike. If you missed it then, here’s your chance to catch it this time around.

There’s a nominal registration fee of just £27 per person just to cover my costs, but hoping it still makes it accessible and easy for any managers or aspiring managers who want to invest in their own development, even if the business can’t for whatever reason.

More details on Lessons in Leadership and registration is here: https://www.naturallyloyal.com/resources/lessons-in-leadership-webinars-3/

Communication will be one of the things we discuss next week, but in the interim here are some considerations, bearing in mind that now more than ever, it is critical.

When team members are on furlough or working from home it’s all too easy to feel isolated. Some may be enjoying their time at home – more time with the family, or pursuing their hobbies and not looking forward to returning to work. Some will be bored, stressed from home schooling or being confined, and eager to return.

Here are 3 types of communication to ensure your team stay connected.

1. Broadcast

One way broadcasts to the whole team or your department, to keep everyone in the picture. If not daily, aim to do these at least once a week, ideally at the same time so people know when to expect them.

What are your plans for opening, updates on government guidelines that affect your business, what measures you are taking to keep them safe as and when they return.

2. 1:1

It’s so important you set aside time to speak to people in your team individually. Show you care by listening to how they are felling and to answer their questions. Time to reflection whilst off work might mean their priorities and what’s important to them may have changed.

Answer their questions about returning to work. If they are likely to be one of the last to return it’s even more important that they feel included.

The format you use for these should be based on what feels most comfortable for them; not everyone is happy to be on camera for a Zoom call.

3. Community

Help maintain the team spirit and sense of community. Share ideas for opening, encourage team members to offer support to one another.

If it fits with your culture, organise some fun activities too. A quiz, cooking demos, sharing or showing off some of their new-found hobbies or skills.

related video: Show you are listening



The Emotional Bank Account

emotional bank account

In my Fresh Start training last week, we discussed the Emotional Bank Account.

An emotional bank account is a metaphor that describes the amount of trust that has been built up in a relationship.  It’s the feeling of assurance you have with another person.

As Stephen R Covey describes in his book “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”, when you make enough deposits through kindness, courtesy, honesty and keeping commitments, you make deposits in your Emotional Bank Account, and build up a reserve.

When you have made enough deposits and others have established enough trust in you, you can call upon that trust if you need to.

So if and when you things go wrong, or you end up letting someone down – be that a team member, customer or friend – you have a sufficient balance that any withdrawal doesn’t take you ‘over drawn’.

However, if you are unkind, disrespectful, uncaring and mean, you draw from this account.

When the trust is high, communication is easier, quicker and more effective.

If you make enough deposits with others through courtesy, kindness, honesty and keeping your commitments to them, you build up a reserve.

This means that on the odd occasion when things go wrong, or you end up letting someone down – be that a team member, customer or friend – you have a sufficient balance that any withdrawal doesn’t take you ‘over drawn’.

Because others have established enough trust in you, you can call upon that trust if you need to.

When you are kind, honest, caring and friendly to another person, you make deposits on an Emotional Bank Account. However, if you are unkind, disrespectful, uncaring and mean, you draw from this account.

When the trust is high, communication is easy, instant and effective.

During the Lockdown, if you do nothing it won’t take long to withdraw everything. Your team are no doubt having mixed emotions at the moment: confused, anxious, uncertain, bored, lonely, stressed.

If they are on furlough or working from home, now might be the time when people most need you to make some deposits.

There are six major deposits we can make to the emotional bank account, and how these are relevant right now:

Understanding the individual

One person’s mission is another person’s minutia.  To make a deposit, what is important to another person must be as important to you as the other person is to you.

Recognise that people’s priorities may be a little different right now, so keeping in contact with your team, answering their questions and listening to their concerns is critical right now.

Attending to the seemingly insignificant

Kindnesses and courtesies are so important.  Forms of disrespect make large withdrawals.  In relationships, the things that can seem insignificant to you can count for others.

So, for example if they are on furlough and only getting 80% of their normal pay, that 20% shortfall could make the difference between just getting by, and really struggling to pay the rent or feed the family.

Keeping commitments

Keeping a commitment is a major deposit; breaking one is a major withdrawal.  In fact there’s probably no larger withdrawal than to make a promise that’s important to someone and then not keep that promise. 

If you’ve promised an update by a certain date, make sure you deliver this, even if it’s to say no news.

Clarifying expectations

The cause of many relationship difficulties is often rooted in conflicting or ambiguous expectations around roles and goals.  Unclear expectations will lead to misunderstanding, disappointment and withdrawals of trust.  Many expectations are implicit and the deposit is to make the expectations clear and explicit in the first place.

This takes a real investment of time and effort up front, but saves great amounts of time and effort in the long run.  When expectations are not clear and shared, simple misunderstandings become compounded, turning into personality clashes and communication breakdowns.   It does, however, take courage.

Showing personal integrity

Lack of integrity can undermine almost any other effort to create high trust accounts.  It goes beyond honesty.  Integrity is conforming to the reality of our words – keeping promises and fulfilling expectations.  One way of manifesting integrity is to be loyal to those who are not present.

Confidentiality about others in your team is paramount.

Apologising sincerely when you make a withdrawal

Great deposits come in the sincere words – “I was wrong”, “I showed you no respect”, “I’m sorry”.  It takes a great deal of character strength to apologise.  A person must have a deep sense of security to genuinely apologise.  It is one thing to make a mistake, and quite another not to admit it.

Last week we discussed the emotional bank account in the context of establishing trust with your team. However, it is just as relevant in building trust with customers, suppliers or third parties.

Action point

If you only do one thing this week:

Review the 6 types of deposits and identify just one whereby doing more of it (with either your customers or your team) could make a major impact in your emotional bank account.

Related post: How to earn trust

Related video: Do your customers and team feel trusted



Care for your team

care for your team

How you respond and what you do now in these uncertain times will certainly be remembered in years to come, by your team, your customers and your community, and in turn will have an impact on how quickly your businesses recovers once the lockdown is over.

Last week I talked about keeping in touch with your customers. This week my focus is on how you care for your team, who quite understandably will be concerned for their safety, their income and the future of their jobs.

Before the lockdown we were concerned about attracting and retaining talent. Now we have the opposite; what to do with the talent we have. But one thing is for certain, this situation won’t last forever and unless you look after them now and show you care for your team now you’ll likely be back to the search for talent once this is all over.

Here are 5 ideas to show you care about your team and have their best interests at heart throughout the crisis.

I’m sure they’re doing most of these already, but this will act as a reminder.

And let me know what else you are doing to care for your team.

Personal safety

Keeping your front-line team members safe is the priority. If you still have team members travelling into work or having contact with customers, do they have all the necessary precautionary measures:

  • Give a choice as to whether they work or not
  • Have a means of getting to work without having to use crowded public transport
  • Have procedures in place to avoid direct contact with others
  • Have access to appropriate PPE

Resources

If your team members are working from home, ensure they have what they need to do the best job possible:

  • Access to information e.g. via your shared folders, Google docs, or whatever you use internally
  • The right equipment; an iPad might be great for small tasks, but has limitations, particularly older models.
  • A reliable IT connection (which can vary at different times of day, depending on demand)
  • Access to reliable, knowledgeable and helpful IT support; you don’t want them wasting time searching YouTube for answers to simple problems

Be flexible

Yes, there may have to be systems and processes in place for some activities, but new ways of working need new ‘rules’:

  • What flexibility do they have around the hours they work to fit in with others at home – partners, children or other dependents.
  • Play to people’s strengths and demonstrate your trust by delegating control and ownership, which creates a sense of pride

Stay connected

Whether working at home or in the business, ensure you keep your team connected – both to you, and each other.

  • Maintain a routine for daily check-ins, when everyone knows they can connect with everyone else (Zoom, Skype or Microsoft Teams* will allow you to do this). Stick to a schedule or same time each day, so everyone can plan
  • Be open, honest and factual. Focus on what you can do for them rather than dwelling on what you can’t do
  • Keep them informed of any of the Government advice that is relevant to them and/or the business as a whole
  • Offer emotional support
  • Keep the team spirit alive, and share some fun and positive achievements, stories or anecdotes

Show you care

Even when social distancing or working remotely all the normal rules of care apply, if not, even more so:

  • Don’t forget your normal common courtesies; a simple sunny and cheerful good morning, saying please and thank you, is just as important as at any other time.
  • Listen and observe. Keep your ears and eyes open to recognise when things aren’t as they should be, and spot concerns quickly. Left to fester these can snowball into bigger problems
  • Be approachable; not everyone feels comfortable raising concerns or questions, so be observant and look/listen for the signs of cries for help, so you don’t leave people feeling abandoned
  • Continue to invest in people’s personal development; in most cases they’ll have more time on their hands now (even if just a saving on travel time), so allow them the opportunity to use this time to everyone’s advantage
  • The most obvious and easiest thing you can do to show your team you care about them is to make a point of thanking them for their support and commitment during these difficult times. It’s stressful for them as well as you.

If you only do one thing:

Every offer of support counts. Let people know you’re there for them, even if the offer never gets taken up. You don’t want to be checking in on people every 5 minutes, but it’s always reassuring to know that you’re there to support them when it’s needed – whether that be work-related or a personal issue.

Remember, as Maya Angelou said “…people will never forget how you made them feel”, so make sure your team feel cared for.

Related post: https://www.naturallyloyal.com/10-ways-to-show-your-team-some-love/

YouTube: Show your team your Care

* but I’m no expert on this, so please seek professional advice if you need it.


How to keep your team engaged

how to keep your team engaged

How to keep your team engaged

It’s hard enough as a business owner in the best of times. And now more so than ever with the uncertainly and loss of business.

You and I both know that how our team is feeling can have an impact on customers and colleagues alike. So, when times are tough, they are feeling anxious too, and this has a knock-on impact on everyone.

If you want your team to put on a brave face this starts with you.

So, here are my 7 tips to keep your team engaged and productive in these challenging times.

1. Keep your team informed

Your team need reassurance, but they also need to know where they stand. Make a clear statement to your team and be honest with them. For example, if you know you can’t sustain your current staffing levels, discuss the situation openly with them. No one wants to lose their job, but your team will be aware if the impact on your business. Consider reduced hours which may be preferable to redundancy, and increases your chances of retaining that employee once the crisis is over.

I’m not an employment law specialist so I’m not going to advise on process, but suffice to say, follow current advice from your HR advisors.

2. Keeping busy

When you’re quiet it’s easy to slip into bad habits or fritter away time on meaningless tasks. Now’s an opportunity to catch up on all those non urgent but nonetheless important tasks you’ve been shelving for months. The review of your website, staff training, writing up procedures or SOPs. What better time to review your food safety procedures and training?

3. Promote teamwork

Play to the strengths of your team, and ensure they can cover one another if anyone needs to self-isolate, or you need to reduce people’s shifts. Define everyone’s areas of responsibility so there are no gaps and no duplication of effort.

4. Get creative

Look for opportunities. Are there any alternative services you could be providing for customers reluctant to come and visit you in person? A take-away service or home delivery?

Ask your team for ideas and suggestions, and show them you value their opinion. Look around you to see what other businesses with similar offerings are doing. What can you learn from them? Reach out to your customers and ask them what they’d appreciate. (Staying in touch with your customers is a whole topic in itself, so I’ll share my tips on that next week.)

5. Time Off

Stress the importance of staying away if they have any symptoms. Make and share a plan for staff wages so people don’t feel undue financial pressure to work when they are sick. If you can, basic pay for hourly staff who cannot work because they are ill.

In the UK: Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) will be available from Day 1 for those unable to work because they are diagnosed with coronavirus, or self-isolating according to Government guidelines.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/support-for-those-affected-by-covid-19/support-for-those-affected-by-covid-19

6. Pay attention

Listen and observe. Keep your ears and eyes open to recognise when people have concerns so you act on these quickly. When everyone is focused on the negatives, it’s easy to miss the tell-tale signs of those who need more from you.

Be approachable, listen and observe so you can provide support when it’s needed.

7. Play from a 10

Lead by example and be a role model. If you are all doom and gloom this inevitably rubs off one your team and in turn, your customers too.

As Zig Zigler said “A positive attitude won’t help you do anything, but it will help you do everything better than a bad attitude will.

Take Action

If you only do one thing to keep your team engaged: Take a few moments today to share your situation with your team. Allow for questions and be prepared to meet with team members in private if they ask.

Here is a Coronavirus Guide for the F&B Industry http://fnbcovidguide.com/

Today’s top tip

Stay on your customers’ radar. Even if business is slow, maintain your relationship and keep contact with your customers, so when things get back to normal you’re the first business they come back to. This is a subject in itself and I’ll talk more about this next week.

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Supporting a Charity

Supporting a Charity

Make a Difference by Supporting a Charity

Last Friday I was at the annual quiz night for a local charity Oakleaf, who provides vocational training for those suffering from mental health issues. It was rewarding to hear about some of their successes in helping people get back into work.

I can’t say as a team we did particularly well! But we did have some fun whilst raising much-needed funds for the charity.

Today’s workforce is looking for meaning or purpose in their work, and supporting a charity is potentially one way to contribute to this. Giving back creates a positive mentality. It also fosters pride and loyalty.

Getting involved in social and charity initiatives doesn’t have to be all consuming; . you can donate either time and involvement, or money, or both. Usually, giving time is more rewarding than giving money.

If you don’t already support a charity, here are some of my thoughts on what to consider.

Choosing a charity

Identify a charity that you would like to do something for as a team.

It’s important your chosen charity reflects your values, as well as something that resonates with your team, and hopefully your customers too. It might be a charity with special meaning for one or more of your team.

Get the team together, have everyone pitch a cause and pick the one you want to support. It’s important that you make it personal, and that you make it count.

Set your own Charity Challenge

Consider what you’re willing to commit to doing for that charity.  Put it on the agenda for your team meeting and discuss the kind of support you could give, and for how long.

How much time, money or resources are you willing to invest; will any involvement be during normal working hours; how long will you continue your involvement (you may consider changing the charity of the year or every 2 years).

It might simply be a case of raising money, through traditional activities such as a sponsored event, a ‘bring-and buy’ sale or even just ‘tin-rattling’ around the office. If you’re inclined to be more creative, then look for more imaginative way to raise money.

You may have skills that are scarce in the charitable organisation, but easy for you to apply.  For example, updating technology, coaching people, providing work experience opportunities or coaching staff members or project planning.

Perhaps you could elect a team member to contact your chosen charity and ask what kind of help would be appreciated.

Do Something as a Team

Volunteering and fundraising events are a good way to get everyone working together as a team, potentially, alongside other departments.

It might be challenging to get everyone together if you are a 24-hour/7 day operation, but even if you cannot get all your team or all your direct reports together, see if collectively you can involve everyone in some way.

You may decide you’re only going to commit to one or two activities a year, such as Red Nose Day, Children in Need, Macmillan coffee morning.

Remember, that this is about involving your team in something meaningful, so if there isn’t anyone in your team who wants to take up any of the tasks involved or has the time, there is little value to the team in you as team leader taking this on alone.

I don’t know what will work for you and your team, that’s up to you, and no one should be forced to get involved.

PR for your charity

For many smaller charities, one of their biggest challenges is awareness. You might still be pleasantly surprised how easy it can be to gain publicity in your local newspapers or on local radio.

Write a press release, concentrating on topical relevance of what you’re doing. Email or phone your local newspapers and radio stations. Contact specialist publications relevant to your organisation or the charity your challenge will benefit.

This activity could easily be done by just one person, so consider whether you want to encourage a number of people to get involved or if you’re happy for one person to volunteer.

Proud personal moments

Recognise and celebrate with your team members those who are involved in other charities outside work, particularly when they have made a significant contribution to their charity such as volunteering, taking part in a sponsored event or fundraising.

Maintain momentum

Keep your charity appeal alive with a regular review, updates or progress charts. This doesn’t have to be done by you; ask for volunteers in your team.

Celebrate your wins and give recognition for achievements along the way.

Share your activities with your customers and suppliers too; it all helps raise the profile for your charity and demonstrates your values to your customers.

Involve your suppliers too, they may even be prepared to sponsor your activities or donate prizes or gifts.

Have fun

I’m a great believer in having some fun at work. Allowing people to have fun at work all helps with employee engagement, productivity and staff retention, all of which has a positive knock-on effect on your customers’ experience.

Doing something for charity is a great opportunity to do something fun but with a serious intent.

Going it alone

Even if you have no team, or you have little buy-in from the team for supporting a charity, there are plenty of ways you can still contribute to a good cause. For example, I donate to an organisation called B1G1, which allows me to make small contributions to any one of a wide number of projects every time I work with a client, all of which add up over time.  https://www.b1g1.com/businessforgood/ BM09064

Action

If you only do one thing…

What difference could you make? Find a cause that resonates with your team and involve them in that cause.

p.s.  One other way to have fun is through fun activities. Here are 38 Activities to Engage your Team in Customer Service


10 ways to show your team some love

show your team some love

Show your team some love

Do you remember as a teenager how important it was to get at least one Valentine’s card? And how awful it felt if you got none! Did this mean nobody loved you?

Maybe these days we don’t need a wad of Valentine’s cards to know we are cared for. But we do all like to be told in some form from time to time. And it’s no different for our team.

Unless your team feel valued and loved they’re not likely to share much love for your customers either

So…

What can we do to show our team some love?

Here are 10 ideas you can use to show your team some love so they in turn show your customers some love and give an all-round great customer experience.

Not just for Valentine’s Day, but any day.

1. Know what’s important

Understand each of your team members and what’s important to them. Recognise there are things which may seem insignificant to you, but can mean a lot for others.

What are the things they enjoy? What are the things they’re proud of, be that in or out of work. Express an interest in what they do away from work.

Never under estimate the value sitting down in private with each of your team on a one-to-one basis. Schedule these in advance and stick to your schedule; nothing smacks more of I’m not valued than constantly cancelling these meetings.

2. Common courtesies

Treat your team with the same care, courtesy and respect as you’d like them to show your customers.

Keep your commitments; letting people down suggests a lack of respect, but if you can’t do what you say you’ll do at the very least say “I’m sorry”.

Give a simple please and thank you, a sunny smile and a cheerful “good morning”, and a “good night and have a good evening” at the end of their day or shift.

3. Pay attention

Listen to your team’s feedback, ideas and suggestions. Show them you value their opinion: ask for their advice or suggestions on matters that affect them or where they may be able to present a different perspective.

Be approachable, and listen and observe so you can act on any staff concerns before they become a problem. Provide support and be receptive to when this might be needed.

4. Keep your team informed

A well-informed team not only gives them confidence and enables them to make decisions, it also helps establish trust with your customers. Let everyone know what’s going on in your business through regular staff briefings, and use these to get feedback from your team on any customers’ comments, or discuss any questions or suggestions that arise about operational issues.

Keep your team up to date with the bigger picture: what’s happening in your business, in your industry, and with your competitors.

5. Invest in your team’s development

Provide development opportunities to tap into their strengths and keep them stretched. Not everyone wants to progress but it doesn’t mean to say they don’t want to be stretched given opportunities for new challenges. A bored employee is unlikely to wow your customers.

Give everyone an opportunity to learn something new; it’s a win-win as the business will benefit too. Add variety, set them a challenge and trust your team to make decisions to do what’s best.

6. Promote teamwork

Upskill and cross train your team to cover other’s responsibilities so everyone is confident the job still gets covered even when they’re sick, on holiday or have an extra heavy workload. This also promotes a greater appreciation at each other’s roles as well as making it easier to create a culture where everyone takes responsibility when necessary rather than passing the buck.

It doesn’t have to be all about work. It’s difficult to please everyone but if you can find something that appeals to everyone’s tastes, personal commitments and budget, social activities is a great way to bring the team together. Even if this is simply some after hours team activities in the workplace that taps into the interest, talents or expertise of your team.

7. Guide and support

Give your team the support, resources and guidance needed to do a good job. This starts with providing clear direction on your expectations and providing everyone with the resources they need (including sufficient time and manpower).

Observe your team in action and give supportive feedback, encouragement and coaching, so you build their confidence and their productivity.

Every business has its times when things go wrong, so equip your team to deal with the unexpected and empower them to handle these situations with confidence.

8. Two-way trust

Lead by example and be a role model so there are no mixed messages. Ensure or your management team used the same criteria for awarding and recognising the team’s contribution, so people don’t get confused of feel deflated when something worthy of recognition gets ignored.

Play to people’s strengths and demonstrate your trust by delegating some control and ownership. This gives a sense of pride and a desire to get things right.

9. Recognise and reward success

Recognise those who go beyond the call of duty. Give public recognition when you receive positive feedback from a customer.

Share your good news to give everyone a boost and recognise those who have contributed. Make any rewards meaningful; not everyone is motivated by the same things to consider what’s important to the individual.

Have some fun. You might be dealing with serious subjects but people are more productive when they’re happy and relaxed. Laughter is the best medicine and a good hearty laugh release tension and it’s contagious!

10. A simple thank you

The most obvious and easiest thing you can do to show your team you care about them is to make a point of thanking them. Whether that’s a heartfelt thank you at the end of a busy shift or hectic day, when they’ve made an extra effort or used their initiative, or gone out of their way to help a colleague or a customer. Send a handwritten letter or a thank you card when they’ve gone the extra mile; a physical letter or card will have 10 times more impact than an email.

These ideas can go a long way towards creating staff loyalty which in turn will contribute to customer loyalty.

Take Action

If you only do one thing: Make a point of saying a sincere and personal thank you to everyone in your team at some point today, or if you don’t see them every day, then at least once this week.

Help people feel loved from day 1

Help new team members feel loved and card for from day 1 by ensuring they get a thorough induction into their role and your business.

Here’s a tried and tested template to get you started.