Category Archives: Employee Engagement

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. 



Hang on to your Talent

hang onto your talent

How to Hang on to your Talent

The one thing I hear over and over is how challenging it is to get and keep talent. Don’t follow this lead if you want to hang onto your talent…

It upset me to hear what had happened to my friend’s daughter. She had what seemed like a lovely opportunity at a local 5 star hotel. But when I asked how she was getting on my friend told me she’d left. Why? Because they kept messing her about. She’d been given her schedule for the weeks over Christmas and New Year and she’d planned her family Christmas activities around this.

So, when they told her they no longer needed her to work on the days she’d been scheduled but they did want her to cover on other days this meant cancelling family commitments.

She is young and keen and didn’t want to disappoint her employer, but after several weeks of this, enough was enough. So, she quit. Not only is she now disillusioned with the industry but so are her friends and family.

So sad.

Of course, staff turnover doesn’t just impact you, it has a knock-on effect on the rest of your team and will certainly impact your customer experience either directly or indirectly.

If you are constantly striving to look for new staff then consider why you have a vacancy in the first place. Fantastic news if it’s down to growth; but more often than not it’s down to staff turnover.

If this is the case here are a few factors to consider to help hang on to your talent…

1. Why do they quit?

Staff turnover can be infectious, the more people come and go, the easier it is for others to make the decision to leave. Unless you understand why staff leave it’s unlikely you’ll reverse the trend.

In a perfect world a confidential exit interview is best done by someone other than a line manager. Let’s be honest, if the reason is poor management or leadership that’s behind them leaving, it’s unlikely that you’re going to learn the whole truth if the line manager is asking the question! The saying goes people don’t quit jobs they quit bosses.

But even if your staff structure doesn’t allow for this it is important to find out as much as possible about people’s motives for leaving.

2. Recognition and reward

When someone hands in their notice, if the reason they give is more money look to see how your rates compare with the competition (bearing in mind for some roles your competitor for staff may be in totally different industries). But also look at what benefits your staff are getting that they may not be getting elsewhere and ensure people are aware of everything that makes up their package. And if they don’t value these things, find out what they would value.

What about the less tangible aspects of their package? Recognise and reward performance and achievements. Celebrate and share successes; identify and utilise people’s strengths, training, delegating and giving them control and ownership where appropriate.

Be sure to recognise all departments, including back of house staff, e.g. housekeeping is often the most undervalued department, but is commonly the most profitable aspect of a hotel.

Encourage and reward loyalty by conducting regular pay/benefits reviews. Think about incentives that are within reach of any member of staff who performs well. This might mean focusing on a different theme each month so that everyone has an opportunity to be recognised for their particular skills or strengths, or make the incentive tailored to each individual dependent on their role, development needs and aspirations.

3. Career and prospects

If they’re moving for career progression, is this something you could have given them but they simply weren’t aware of the opportunities? What can you do in future to ensure that everyone gets the recognition and development they need for their career progression, so you can hang on to your talent?

Grow from within where possible, and give people the opportunity for career progression as well is enhancing the skills to do their existing job. Consider life skills; such as offering language tuition for English as a second language or other languages that may prove useful in conversing with your customers.

Make use of potential grants through the tourist organisations, colleges, and government-funded schemes, apprenticeships. Did you know this week is National Apprenticeship Week?  https://www.gov.uk/government/news/look-beyond-with-an-apprenticeship-this-national-apprenticeship-week

You won’t be able to accommodate everyone’s aspirations particularly if you’re a small business, but having some kind of succession plan in place does at least give people something to work towards. However, don’t make promises that you’re unable to keep.

Make learning and development a part of day-to-day management, so it’s not seen as something that is additional or optional. This goes for both staff and supervisors/managers. Identify those who have an interest in developing their skills and are willing to take on coaching or mentoring responsibilities as part of their own development.

4. Insecurity

Change makes people uncomfortable, and so when another opportunity comes along, they jump at the chance if they feel it has better long-term security.

Communicate what’s happening in the business before it happens, and how this might affect them.

Ensure people know what’s expected of them by having clearly defined standards, and can measure their own performance, and not left in doubt about their contribution.  Be consistent, ensuring the same ‘rules’ apply to everyone. Focus on telling people what you want to achieve, i.e. the end result, rather than dictating how to do it.  This gives people flexibility to adopt their own style (you’ll be surprised how often they end up improving the process) rather than living in fear of not being able to comply with strict processes.  Provide the appropriate resources (including time), the tools and training to do their jobs effectively.

Training your staff in the mechanics of the business operation puts them in a better position to contribute to cost control and income generation. If people understand how the business makes its money they are then in a position to contribute to this and put forward their own ideas. A win-win for both.

5. What if you are the problem?

You may not want to admit it, but you or your management team may be the very reason people leave. Rather than hide your head in the sand, reflect on what you need to do to change to hang on to your talent. Find out the things that people find difficult or frustrating about working for you or with you, and then figure out a way to change your approach before others decide to jump ship.

How much direction do you provide? Do people know exactly what’s expected of them, and have the resources to meet your expectations? Lead by example so there are no mixed messages.

Ensure that you and your management team are approachable and provide any support when it’s needed

Not everyone will be confident enough to ask for help, so be receptive to when this is needed. Listen to their ideas; they may be able to offer better ways of doing things.

Show an interest in them as individuals, and take time out to talk to them. Listen to and act quickly on any concerns. Identify what’s important to them recognising that with the varied cultures and backgrounds of your staff that their values and priorities may sometimes be different to your own.

6. Keep talking

Communication is a two-way process, not only do people need to know what’s going on, they want to be heard. Daily briefings need to include what’s happening that could affect the operation or the customer experience in any way (e.g. maintenance, staff shortages, unavailable products or services), as well as any feedback from staff on their observations or ideas. Let your team know how the business is performing, and what this means to them.

Give constructive feedback: what have they done well and how it has contributed; where they have fallen short and how this can be improved.

Having a happy and motivated team will not only help you retain your talent and reduce staff turnover, but will lead to better productivity and customer service, maintaining sales and controlling costs.

If you want to hang onto your talent you need to give them what they want.

Take action to hang onto your talent

If you only do one thing, to hang on to your talent, find out what’s important to your team and how well you’re meeting their needs and expectations. One of the most valuable ways to gather this feedback is through anonymous surveys. This is a brilliant platform to do just that…

Get a complete engagement assessment that delivers quantifiable scores and honest feedback, so that you truly know where your company stands and where to focus to make an impact right away.

…And hang on to your talent.


How am I doing? Conducting effective 1-1 meetings

How to conduct effective 1-1 meetingsConducting effective 1:1 meetings

Conducting effective 1-1 meetings is an essential skills for any manager. Never under estimate the impact of sitting down regularly with each member of staff on a one to one basis.

Whether you call them “one to one meetings”, “reviews” or simply “chats” really doesn’t matter; the important thing is that they happen.

And regularly.

But, why would you want to have these if you see your team members every day and give them feedback as you go?

Because conducting effective 1-1 meetings provides an opportunity for a private discussion, to raise points which you may not want others to hear, and for them to raise things they might not want everyone else to hear.

They also provide that window of time to focus on them:

  • not just you telling them how they’re doing,
  • but allowing them the opportunity to tell you how they think they are doing.
  • and to listen to their ideas, questions, concerns and suggestions

Your aim in conducting a 1-1 meeting should be:

  • To motivate your team members to either continue or sustain good performance
  • For team members to feel confident that they have the ability and support to fill any gaps where they need development.
  • It’s an opportunity for them to have their contribution recognised – not just performance, but have their ideas heard.
  • It devotes time to set direction and goals for the coming weeks.
  • The net result should be an enthused and motivated employee who knows what they should be focusing on, and how this will contribute to the business.

Two-way

I often hear of managers spending literally hours preparing for the meetings, then finding themselves having to work twice as hard to get the employee to contribute their ideas and views to the meeting. One to ones are as much for their benefit as yours, so ask them to take some responsibility for the preparation too.

There may be things they’ve done that are worthy of comment, which you are oblivious to; remember you don’t see them every minute of every day they are at work. So ask them to plan what they would like to discuss.

  • Ask open questions to get their ideas on performance and how to move forward.
  • Use the AID* model for feedback: They’ll still want your view on performance
  • Ask for their views
  • Offer support: If there are shortfalls you need to understand why, and then help bridge that gap.

3 core questions for conducting-effective-1-1-meetings

As a minimum you may like to consider these 3 questions:

  • Achievements
  • Shortfalls
  • Focus

1. Achievements

What successes or achievements have you had this month or what have you done this month that you’re proud of?

  • What have been your top 2/3 successes?
  • What have you accomplished towards this year’s goals?
  • What has gone particular well for you this week/month/period?
  • What have you been particularly pleased with?
  • What have they achieved towards pre-determined goals, targets, KPIs, etc.

Start on a positive and is an opportunity for the employee to blow their own trumpet.

Of course if these are things you’ve spotted too this is your opportunity to give praise where it’s due, and reinforce their success.

This is a time when you might discover other strengths or successes that you’ve been previously unaware of, so take note and ask for examples if you need to.

Ensure you build on their successes and discuss how they can do more of this or emulate this in future. (See the AID model)

Compliment them, tell them why you value their contribution, focus on strengths.

2. What’s not gone so well?

What disappointments or frustrations?

  • If you had a magic wand, what would you change or do differently?
  • Where have you fallen short against this month’s goals/KPIs?
  • What hasn’t gone to plan?
  • What have you been disappointed with?
  • What have you set out to do but it hasn’t yet happened?

Sometimes people will be very hard on themselves, and even if people have not done everything you’ve asked of them, when they are identifying this for themselves it’s a lot easier for both of you to have that conversation.

How have they gone about this? Something may have given a good result at first glance, but it’s all very well achieving all their targets but not so good if they’ve upset colleagues or customers along the way.

Look at this as an opportunity to learn, so discuss what got in the way and how to overcome this in future. This might need some more support or training from you or additional resources.

3. Where’s the next focus?

What do you feel needs to be your number 1 focus for the coming month?

Alternatives:

What needs to be the focus for the coming week/month/period?

This is your opportunity to look ahead and either set some goals for the forthcoming period or to summarise any development that has been identified as result of the previous 2 questions.

  • What needs to be focused on or addressed, and what support or development do they need to do this

At the end of the meeting ask if they have anything to add.

Summarise theirs and your actions, record and agree next review date.

If there needs to be more commitment or input on their part ask them to do the summarising. This way you know there is at least an understanding of what’s expected over the coming period, and an opportunity to set this straight if their interpretation is different from yours.

If you simply ask the 3 questions on a regular basis over time your team will get used to you asking these and as time goes on hopefully they’ll be more prepared for each question giving it some thought prior to your meeting.

Their preparation obviously doesn’t let you off the hook altogether, but if they are well prepared it will certainly reduce the amount of time needed for conducting effective 1-1 meetings.

See a short video on Conducting effective 1-1 meetings here: https://naturallyloyal.wistia.com/medias/4unqvbced5

If you only do one thing: Find some time in the coming week to schedule a one to one with each of your team.



How to engage and motivate your team

engage and motivate your team Engaging and motivating your team on their return from their Christmas break

When you get home from work can you normally sense what sort of mood everyone else is in? Even when no words are spoken it’s usually pretty easy to tell. Our moods and emotions are usually evident to others from our expressions, behaviours and tone.

I know how difficult it can be to get motivated again after a break. And of course, it can be no different for your team getting back into the swing of things after Christmas.

All of which of course can have an impact on your customers’ experience …and ultimately your bottom line.

So, what can you do to engage and motivate your team?

It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy; if you, or any of your management team, think it’s going to be tough getting back into the swing of things the chances are it will be.

Not just for you, but for your team as well.

We are all familiar with the “Mood Hoovers”; you know – those people who, when you come into work full of the joys of spring, they comment “What are you so flipping happy about?”, sucking all that energy and enthusiasm from you like a Hoover.

Your physiology certainly influences your own feelings, but can also influence the feelings of people around you too. Which means if people mooch around all day fed up about coming back to work after Christmas it will be difficult to engage and motivate your team, as you’re far more likely to elicit negative emotions than if you’re smiling, happy and generally being positive about being back at work.

Like it or not, your mood – and the mood of your managers – has a profound impact on the mood of all those around you. It influences your team’s attitude, their enthusiasm, their willingness to take responsibility, their confidence in you and the business and their loyalty towards you.

And in turn this certainly influences your customers’ perception of you and your team, their level of engagement and ultimately their loyalty to your business.

Being confident, enthusiastic and energetic might not always rub off on everyone else, but it’s a better bet to engage and motivate your team than if you or any of your managers are down and resenting being back.

Take action

If you only do one thing to engage and motivate your team on their return from their Christmas break, find something positive to share with your team and share it with enthusiasm! (…and deal with any Mood Hoovers)

If you’d like more ideas here are 38 Activities to Engage, Energise and Excite your Team in Customer Service



Keeping your team engaged over Christmas

Keeping your team engaged over Christmas

Keeping your team engaged over Christmas, and keeping your customers happy too!

If you run a business that depends heavily on Christmas trade (or have peaks of activity at any time of year) a lot will hang on how good your customers’ experience during this time.

And if your team are feeling the pressure, if they’re rushed, tired from long days, or just fed up with demanding customers, all of this will be picked up by customers.

So it’s important you focus on keeping your team engaged over Christmas if you want them to impress your customers.

First impressions count.  Remember, when you’re busy, many of these customers may be coming to your business for the very first time, so don’t let the volume of customers be an excuse to let customer service standards drop. Create a memorable first impression and a reason for them to return.

Whether you’re a hospitality, leisure or retail or business already in the thick of Christmas activity, a health and wellness business anticipating a surge of activity as a result of New Year’s resolutions, or a tourism business who may see big spikes in visitors as festivals or shows attract the masses, your customers don’t really care how busy you are; they still want to be loved and cared for.

And this starts with your team!

So, here are 11 tips to keeping your team engaged over Christmas, to keep them smiling,  and continue to meet your customers’ expectations.

1. 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. When you’re busy it’s easy to let these slip, but it’s on your busiest days that things are most likely to go wrong, so these are the days when your team briefings are most important.

2. What’s available

Ensure everyone in the team knows what’s available and what’s not as part of your Christmas offerings. People can’t sell something they don’t know exists, and they don’t’ want to look stupid if a customer orders a regular item then discover it’s not available over Christmas.

Let your staff sample products and/or services as far as possible, explain what products are normally sold together (e.g. in a restaurant what accompanies each dish) what the price includes and what’s extra. If they have a role in up-selling what are the products you want them to promote, including any future events?  If your core team are incentivised, make sure you include seasonal staff in the scheme.

3. Promote teamwork

Play to the strengths of your permanent team, and use them to support your seasonal team. Introduce temporary team members to everyone else in the whole team and define everyone’s areas of responsibility so there are no gaps and no duplication of effort. Avoid any friction that can occur when someone hasn’t pulled their weight or others are seen to ‘interfere’ with your way of doing things.

4. 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.

5. Pay attention

Listen and observe. Keep your ears and eyes open to recognise when things aren’t as they should be, and spot concerns quickly. When everyone is focused on the customers having a good time, it’s easy to miss the tell-tale signs things are not as they should be. Left to fester these can snowball into bigger problems.

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.

6. Debrief

Get feedback from your team at the end of each day or after each major event, so can you make things go smoother every day.

What went well? What was challenging and where did they struggle to meet customers’ expectations? What can be improved on for next time, or done differently to ensure the customer experience is still a great one even when you’re busy.

Listen to their ideas and suggestions, and show them you value their opinion.

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.

When busy it’s easier for things to go wrong. 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 all your management team use the same criteria for rewarding 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. Time Off

If your team have to work unsociable hours, long nights or sacrifice personal social lives, be open to some flexibility. Recognise that people may be missing out on family and friends’ events, so help make up for this in some way.

And even when busy it’s important for everyone in the team to have a chance to recharge the batteries; it’s when people are tired and frazzled that accidents happen, or mistakes get made.

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.

11. Have some fun

It’s the festive season and your team want to have some fun too! 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, so will certainly rub  off on customers too. This doesn’t mean being unprofessional, but looking for opportunities that create a relaxed and enjoyable place to work.

Give them a treat to look forward to after Christmas.

When your team have worked long or unsociable hours that had an impact on their personal life, extending the treat to be shared with their loved one not only makes your team member feel good but shows your appreciation of the support given by their friends and family. This paves the way for future good deeds too!

Finally, take the time to celebrate your successes and give yourself and your team a well-earned pat on the back for a job well done.

This all helps in keeping your team engaged over Christmas, and into the New Year.

Take Action

If you only do one thing – Take a few moments today to review how things are going. Ask for some feedback from the team and thank them for their contribution so far.

Related article: Improving Productivity:  https://www.naturallyloyal.com/improving-employee-productivity-of-seasonal-team/