Category Archives: Employee Engagement

Resourceful states

resourceful statesHow unresourceful & resourceful states influence employee engagement

When you get home from work can you normally sense what sort of mood everyone else’s 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 behaviours, facial expressions and tone.

Certain emotions or unresourceful states will inevitably have a knock-on impact on everyone around us – family, friends, colleagues and customers alike. Such as worried, angry, bored, frustrated, resistant, confused, irritated, flustered, tired, impatient or distracted.

When you, your team – any of us – are in these unresourceful states, if faced with challenges the tiniest problem can lead us to frustration or aggression; the slightest failure can lead to disappointment, blame or self-doubt; a hint of rejection can lead to anger or defensiveness.

If you want your team to be: enthusiastic, flexible, motivated, interested, confident, energetic, happy, welcoming, and friendly this has to start with you.

And from a position of these resourceful states we can more readily find solutions to problems, learn from our failures and bounce back from rejection.

On the Fresh Start session I ran last week we discusses this in the context of helping your team feel positive about returning to work.

Here’s an exercise I shared with the group which might work for you too….

3 x 3

Grateful

At the start of the day write down 3 things which you are grateful for, however major or minor they may be.

Get done

Secondly write down 3 things you must get done today. These are the things that above all else you must complete, even if it’s just making one phone call to progress a project.

Achieved

At the end of the day reflect on your day and write down 3 things you’ve achieved, however small.

Do these 3 small activities every day, and see if they help make you feel good about yourself and the world. Writing them down helps bring these things into your conscious awareness.

Take action

If you only do one thing try this simple exercise for the week ahead and see for yourself if it works for you!

Related articles: One bad apple

Video: Influencing employee attitude


Reopening your business

reopening

Very best of luck if you are reopening your business today or this week and you’re welcoming back customers. I’m not sure which I’m more excited about… Going to the pub or getting my hair cut!

Of course, this is good news for your team too, and the first steps to getting back to some kind of normality.

But this is just the beginning, and what you can learn from these first few days back will stand you in good stead as your team (and customers) return over the coming weeks.

Here are 7 tips to help this go smoothly with your reopening.

1. Tune in

Keep your ears and eyes open and observe your team in action. See for yourself what’s working and what’s not. But, just as importantly, look out for any signs of stress, friction amongst the team, or where things aren’t running smoothly.

2. Talk to your customers

Capture feedback from your customers. Find out what they loved (so you can do more of the same) and what was confusing, disappointing or made them feel uncomfortable, so you can address these. Do this now while their emotions are still running high from their experience.

Many of your customers may be new, visiting you for the first time. Get them engaged to increase the likelihood of a return visit. Follow up with them to show you appreciate their business, and use this as an opportunity to let them know what you have planned for the weeks ahead.

3. Thank You

Show you appreciate your team. Thank them for any extra hours or effort they’ve put in to make your opening a success.

A thank you and an acknowledgement of a job well done is far more sincere if you’re specific about what you’re recognising. So, say what it is about their actions that you appreciate. It might be spotting them doing something that shows you they’ve made an extra effort, helped a colleague, gone out of their way to help a customer, or used their initiative to get over a challenge.

4. Team feedback

Ask for feedback from your team members. Involve everyone in your review process as they’ll often be aware of things you’ve missed.

Ask 3 questions:

  • What went well for them?
  • What didn’t work and needs attention tomorrow, next week or with phase 2 of reopening?
  • What did they find difficult or where they struggled to meet customers’ expectations?

Accept feedback with good grace, and thank them for an honest response, and agree how you will address any concerns.

5. Near misses

It’s inevitable not everything will have gone according to plan or mishaps happened. Review the things that have not gone so well. Listen to your team and flush out any other potential risky situations, particularly if they have the potential to impact the team or customer service.

Rather than dwelling on the negatives, reflect on what you and the team have learnt from these events.

Even if you think it was a one off and unlikely to happen again your team might be aware of other ‘near misses’ or situations that are almost an accident waiting to happen!

Agree what steps you can take to avoid them or minimise their impact, so they are confident they will be better prepared next time!

6. Celebrate and share successes.

Celebrate what’s gone well and create a buzz for the day, week and month ahead!

Continue to set mini goals so you and your team all see some quick wins, and keep the momentum going.

7. Play from a 10

The way you feel emotionally will influence the feelings of people around you.

Being confident, enthusiastic and energetic might not always rub off on everyone else, but if you’re not, you can’t really expect your team to be either!

Take Action

If you only do one thing – take some time out this week to sit down with your team and reflect what lessons you can take from the first few days of reopening.



What’s going on?

team briefings

This might be something as simple as a product or service which isn’t available, so customers end up being disappointed. Perhaps it’s a particular customer who has special requirements, who might need some specialist treatment or VIP attention. Or it could be something completely out of your team’s control, such as roadworks or severe weather, but that impacts customers.

Whatever the reason, your team need to be in the know. What’s happening and what you’re doing to add value for customers, or offering to minimise any negative impact. No one in your team wants to look unprepared or be caught unawares.

So just how do your team members get kept abreast of what’s happening day to day in your business which can have an impact on them and your customers?

In our haste to get on with the day ahead it’s tempting to rely on notice boards of email. But there’s a problem with this… they are limited to one way, and no opportunity to question or clarify. You lose the ability to judge people’s reactions, or even know for sure it has been read.

A simple 10 minute “Buzz Briefing” at the start of each day or shift plugs this gap.

As the name suggests it’s your opportunity to create a buzz for the shift or day ahead.

It’s your chance to update everyone on anything that affects that day’s operation. Plus, it’s your opportunity to get feedback from your team on things that need attention, to answer their questions, or listen to their ideas.

So, even on your busiest mornings make sure these briefings still happen – it’s generally on the days that are your busiest that things go wrong, and in many businesses it’s on your busiest days when you have the best opportunities for increasing sales.

Take action

If you only do one thing. Next time you have an important message to share with the team gather everyone round and deliver the message in person rather than sending a blanket email. Notice what happens when you deliver the message in person and encourage a two way dialogue.

Related posts: Someone could have told us

Someone could have told us

 

 

 


Redefining your purpose

defining your purpose

Redefining your purpose so everyone is aligned

As you prepare for team members to return to work, remind people of your purpose.

Bear in mind, some of them may not have seen one another for the whole of the lockdown. You may even have new people in your team who haven’t met anyone yet.

So it will important for you to take steps now to bring the team together, and ensure when they return that everyone is aligned.

One area to start is by reminding people of your purpose, and theirs.

People perform better when they feel a sense of belonging, and one of the easiest ways to do this is to have a shared purpose. As a lot’s changed in the last 12 months, so it’s possible your vision, mission, or values have shifted.

Even if this isn’t the case, remind your team of your purpose, and by doing this collectively you know that everybody has had the same message.

In the lead up to opening, you’ll also have some immediate goals and priorities. If you let everyone know now what these are, and how they contribute to them, it means they can be more prepared for them as and when they return. This enables everybody to be working towards the same goals and targets from the outset.

When we think of purpose we might only think about the impact on the world. But Daniel Pink talks about two types of purpose. Purpose with a small p is making a contribution in the job. When people understand their own purpose or the part they play in your business as a whole, they are more likely to come forward with ideas and input. Your team will often have a different perspective, so give them a voice, which in turn gains buy in and helps them feel valued.

Take action

If you only do one thing: Prior to people returning from furlough or working from home, share your key priorities and focus for the next few weeks so everyone in your team is aligned.

Today’s top tip

Always welcome your team’s ideas, thoughts and suggestions for anything that might save time, improve your customers’ experience, or make their lives easier, however minor.

One percent improvement in 1,000 things is better than 1,000% improvement in one thing. Tom Peters

Getting buy-in blog

Giving your team a sense of purpose video


Quick wins

easy wins

 

Do you get that feeling of satisfaction when you cross things off your list, or is that just me?

Conventional wisdom says get the worse things out of the way first. As Brain Tracy referred to it as “Eat That Frog”.

But if your team are on furlough or working from home I believe it’s going to be hard enough for them getting back into the swing of things as it is when they come back to work.

So give them the opportunity to tick some things off their list early on, so they feel they are seeing some results within the first few days back.

Consider now what short-term projects or goals can you set everyone, which eases them in gently, but still results in some quick wins. It will certainly help focus attention back onto the job in hand, and get everyone back into full flow as quickly as possible.

Put tangible metrics in place to measure progress and success; it will be far more rewarding when they are can recognise success for themselves.

Give each individual team member responsibility over specific activities. This gives a sense of pride and ownership.

If you only do one thing:

Set short term goals for yourself and everyone in your team, so you have something to work towards this week.

 

 



Continuous Improvements Can Make a Big Difference

continuous improvement

Making small continuous improvements all add up and can make a big difference

Here’s a perfect example of continuous improvements. Back in the 1950s Formula 1 pit stops used to take in the region of 67 seconds. Now they take a only 2-3 seconds.

How have they achieved this?

By finding ways to make incremental changes, and refining the process.

Can you imagine if they only worked on finding and making those changes once the season started? They certainly wouldn’t wait until the first race to be making any changes.

But as we wait for announcements of a timetable for the end of the lockdown, there’s still time to take stock and review where improvements can be made to systems, process, and skills in your business. Once everyone tries to get back to full productivity there simply won’t be time.

But this might well involve changes for team members too. And people generally don’t like change, particularly when you’ve been doing a job the same way for years.

One of the objections you often hear is:

“But, we’ve always done it this way”

Can you imagine if Formula 1 teams took that attitude?

There’s a multitude of reasons why people are reluctant to change. And it’s not an unusual response to be wary of change. Whilst some might rise to the challenge you’re just as likely to have people who’ll resist any change to the norm.

However, I’m sure you already recognise, people will be returning with mixed emotions.

One way to help them prepare is to get them involved as soon as you can (without infringing any furlough rules).

Getting your team involved in this way has 3 benefits:

  • It gets them involved early on, and gives them a focus.
  • It taps into their perspective, which may highlight things you were blissfully unaware of
  • Because they’ve suggested them you’ll get far more buy-in to implement any changes that result

So, ask you team to come forward with ideas, suggestions, recommendations of where small changes can be made. Maybe simply shaving 30 seconds off a task that’s done repeatedly, freeing up valuable time to spend elsewhere; reporting equipment that needs repairs or upgrading; refining a systems that misses important steps, or need adjusting to reflect new procedures; removing a bottleneck, or simply devising a checklist or SOP for a routine task to make it easy to achieve consistency.

Be aware that when a task has been done a certain way for any length of time, unless it causes a major inconvenience people simply get used to things that way. Flush out anything that’s standing in the way of them doing a brilliant job or impacts them, their colleagues or customer in any way.

This often highlights frustrations they have in the system or with current resources, levels of authority, existing skills or conflicting priorities.

So, ask:

What would they improve if they could? To help people feel comfortable to make suggestions ask questions that allow them to take off the blinkers.

Such as:

  • What would you do if it was your business?
  • What would you do if we had an endless supply of cash?
  • What would you do if you had a magic wand?

Although all these questions might result in ‘pie in the sky’ ideas, nine times out of 10 you’ll end up with some ideas you can use in some way.

Your contribution

During the lockdown you’ve probably noticed a few things yourself. If you’ve carried out some tasks you’d normally have delegated to others in your team you may have come to realise that they’re not as straight forward as you thought…

Maybe the system is cumbersome, the equipment used doesn’t function as well as it should, or the process simply doesn’t deliver the result you want.

If it has,  you might be left wondering “Why didn’t they say anything?”

When you perform a task every day or every week you probably don’t notice when it takes longer than it should, or doesn’t work as smoothly as it used to. It’s a gradual change so simply fail to spot it. Which means that bit by bit it gets worse and worse and we’re blissfully unaware.

If this is the case, share your findings with the team members involved, but let them help to come up with a solution.

The more you involve your team in finding ways to make improvements, the more you’ll work towards a culture of innovation and continuous improvement.

Take Action on continuous improvements

If you only do one thing: Invite your team to put forward suggestions on improvements, however small.

“Continuous improvement is better than delayed perfection.”
Mark Twain

Related blog post: When you stop noticing the cracks

Related video: Listen to your team



Care for your team

care for your team

What do you do to show you care for your team?

After nearly 36 years of marriage (to the same person!) I feel we must be doing something right. I’m sure like most married couples, we don’t declare our undying love every day of the week, but we still know we’re loved and cared for.

Just like in a successful marriage, unless your team feel loved and that you care about them they are unlikely to care much about you. Or your business or your customers.

And when you don’t see your team from one week to the next it’s easy for them to feel neglected, uncared for or unloved.

As it’s Valentine’s Day later this week, instead of a dozen red roses, here are a dozen ideas to borrow from a successful marriage to show some love and show you care for your team.

1. Something in common

It can be tricky maintaining a relationship when you’ve got nothing in common.

In the workplace the one thing you can have in common is a shared purpose; something you really care about, which energises and excites you, something your team care about too.

When you and your team have clearly defined purpose, it connects you, provides structure and shared goals.

Bear this in mind when recruiting, as if this isn’t important to them you’ll end up with a mismatch.

2. Know what’s important

Recognise there are things which may seem insignificant to you but can mean a lot for others. Understanding what these are means we can attend to these things, even if they’re not important to us.

Take time to talk to your team members to build relationships and show an interest in them as individuals.

Get people talking about an accolade or something (or someone) they’re are proud of. Just by getting them talking about these make people feel good as well as helping to get an insight into what’s really important to them.

3. Be nice to one another

We all have our off days, but behaviour breeds behaviour so in any relationship it’s easy to let that rub off on others.

So, however you’re feeling, a sunny smile and a cheerful good morning sets everyone up for the day.

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

4. Pay attention

When you’ve been in a relationship for a long time it’s usually easy to sense when something is wrong.

Keep your ears and eyes open so you can spot when things are wrong amongst your team. Provide support when it’s needed and be receptive to when it’s required.

5. Listen

Ask your team for feedback on how you are doing in their eyes. Be brave; we don’t always want to hear about the things that frustrate your team, particularly if you may be contributing to the problem! Be open to the truth and willing to listen.

Show you value their opinion; ask their advice next time you’re stumped for an answer. Consult with your team on decisions that affect them; listen to their concerns or ideas.

6. Show your appreciation

One of the simplest ways of showing we care is to say thank you.

Failing to give a simple please when asking for something or a thank you when it’s delivered soon gets noted, leaving people feeling unappreciated.

Remind people of the importance and significance of what they do; everyone likes to know the contribution counts and sometimes just a heartfelt thank you at the end of a busy shift or hectic day reminds them.

Be specific; a thank you and an acknowledgement of a job well done is far more sincere if you’re specific about what you’re recognising.

7. Stay connected

When you’re away from a loved one you probably call, text or do something to let them know you’re ok and thinking of them.

Whether furloughed, working from 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.

8. Freedom

Whilst sharing interests help bring people together, having time away from each other and some different interests allows you some space.

Draw the line between work and family life. Particularly if people live in.

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

9. Celebrate the good times

Anyone in a relationship who’s ever forgotten a special anniversary knows how much impact that can have.

It’s just as important with your team. Recognise and celebrate team members’ successes and special occasions; be they workplace achievements, personal milestones, or proud moments – in, or out of work.

10. Keep your commitments

Do what you say you’ll do. Making a promise that’s important to someone and then not delivering on suggests a lack of respect.

If you ever do let someone down, own up and apologise. It’s one thing to make a mistake, and quite another not to admit it.

11. Have some fun

Any relationship can get stale after a while.

Keep the team spirit alive, and share some fun and positive achievements, stories or anecdotes.

Set up some fun team activities to bring people together, such as virtual horse racing, a magician, or just a simple catch up over a coffee

12. Trust

Knowing you can trust in one another is a key component of a strong relationship.

Being open and honest with your team is just as important. Even when that involves delivering bad news, don’t fluff it up – let people know where they stand.

Many a conflict is caused when there is a lack of, conflicting or confusing communication. Be consistent in your approach, in your messages and in your expectations.

Demonstrate your trust in your team, and help them build trust in you through personal integrity and by being loyal to them.

 

This list of ways to show you love and care for your team is by no means exhaustive, but they’ll go a long way to show others you care about them, so they’ll care about you.

And in this context – care about your business and your customers.

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.

Related article: Show you love your customers

Related video: Your employee journey



How are you doing?

Listen radio12th and final post in my 12 days of Christmas mini blog series

12. How are you doing?

Ask your team for feedback on how you are doing in their eyes. It can feel uncomfortable to give feedback to the boss, so ask in a more conversational way such as “What could I be doing to make your job easier?”

Be brave. We don’t always want to hear about the things that frustrate your team, particularly if you may be contributing to the problem! Be open to the truth and willing to listen.

Create the opportunity for people to give anonymous feedback. People may be afraid to say what they really think if they’re concerned about being labelled a problem or complainer.

Ask for feedback regularly. Things change and problems can fester.

Accept feedback with good grace, and thank them for an honest response. Address concerns. This doesn’t mean that you have to resolve every personal whim, but it means identifying trends, recurring problems or prioritising what needs attention.

Communicate progress. If people have taken the time to let you know how they feel let them know what and how you are addressing any issues or following through on their suggestions.

Action point:

If you consider yourself to be a brave, caring owner of a growth focused business, I think you’ll be fascinated by this FREE assessment.

Get your company’s engagement score on 10 minutes or less.

https://www.engagementmultiplier.com/en-gb/partner/naturallyloyal/

It only takes 10 minutes (or less) to get your company’s engagement score, and discover where to take action to make an impact right away.



Your customers’ journey

Customer Journey Photo by mantas-hesthaven-135478Day 11 in my 12 days of Christmas mini blog series

11. Your customers’ journey

There will always be little tweaks you can make to improve your service.

If January is a quiet month for you, now’s a perfect time to for you and your team to review your customer journey and all the various touch points your customers experience.

What feedback have you had from customers recently, either directly or via social media? What patterns or trends are there?

How well do each of your team members (both customer facing and back of house) appreciate all the customer touch points.

They will frequently pick up on opportunities to improve the customer’s overall experience, or where you can add value or make recommendations to customers.

Action point: Give each of your team a section of the customer journey to review from a customer’s perspective. What would they change if they could?



Getting stuck in

goal challengeDay 10 in my 12 days of Christmas mini blog series

10. Getting stuck in

It can often feel as if you’re not achieving much in the first few days or weeks back at work. Set some short term goals or mini projects so that everyone can get stuck in and can see some results within the first few days back at work.

It will certainly help focus attention back onto the job in hand, and get everyone back into full flow as quickly as possible.