Tag Archives: employee engagement

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.



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.


Systems and resources

system daria-nepriakhina-474036Day 9 in my 12 days of Christmas mini blog series

9. Systems and resources

How often have we heard the phrase “I’m sorry, the system won’t allow me to do that.”?

Do you have any systems in place which make life difficult for your team members?

Poor systems can be frustrating for team members, but also impact productivity, the customer experience and ultimately your bottom line.

Here are a few to look out for:

  • No system in place for routine tasks so staff reinvent the wheel every time they carry out similar tasks.
  • Not fully understood, so not followed
  • Over complicated or cumbersome
  • Too much red tape or to-ing and fro-ing that slows everything down
  • Unworkable due to lack of time, right equipment, tools, or products

Poor systems or a lack of resources inevitably puts extra pressure on the team, particularly when there is a direct impact on customers…

Resulting in an inconsistent level of service, leaving the customers frustrated or disappointed.

It’s easy for us to become oblivious of how ineffective a system works or poor the equipment when we’re not using it every day. So, ask your team for their observations and feedback.

Very often the simplest of modifications is all that’s needed to make all the difference.

 



New challenges

challengeDay 7 in my 12 days of Christmas mini blog series

7. New challenges

Not everyone wants to progress, but that doesn’t mean you let them stagnate.

We often think of development as grooming people for promotion. Although this might be one intention or outcome it shouldn’t stand in the way of development. Even those who have reached the limits of their capability or have no desire for more responsibility shouldn’t be left to stagnate.

A bored employee is unlikely to shine and even less likely to wow you or your customers!

Look for opportunities to stretch team members within their current responsibilities or in areas where they’re already strong. Discuss how you can add variety, set new challenges or stretch them.

Maybe give them

– responsibility for training others,

– giving them ownership over the procedures,

– looking for ways to make efficiencies or refine a process.

By giving individual team members ownership over particular tasks we create a sense of pride and responsibility.  And with this comes the desire to get things right.

When they have one or two areas to focus on specifically it encourages them to go deeper and develop their expertise. You’ll be amazed what people can achieve when their strengths are recognised and they’re given the authority to apply them.

This can also take the pressure off you as that person then becomes the go to person.



Seeing strengths

Strengths cyril-saulnier-250098Day 6 in my 12 days of Christmas mini blog series

6. Seeing strengths

January is often a time to catch up on staff training.

Rather than merely trying to fix weaknesses (which makes everyone mediocre in everything) look back at where individual team members have shown specific strengths. By focusing on people’s strengths we’re able to tap into opportunities to enable them to really excel – in the same way you might expect an athlete to work on honing their skills in the areas in which they already perform well.

You might need to look for the capabilities in others that they themselves may not see and help them to see these for themselves. Focusing on strengths not only boosts confidence, it enables people to shine and excel. It means complementing potential shortcomings of others in the team, contributing unique value in the eyes of colleagues and customers.

And in most cases

…the tasks we’re good at are those we enjoy more, excite us and keep us engaged.


Promote Teamwork

Team raftingDay 5 in my 12 days of Christmas mini blog series

5. Promote Teamwork

Upskill and cross train people to cover other’s responsibilities so people are confident their job still gets covered when they are sick, on holiday or have an extra heavy workload.

Set up job swaps so everyone has a greater appreciation of each other’s roles and create teamwork and a culture where everyone takes responsibility when necessary, rather than passing the buck.

Upskilling also demonstrates you commitment to your team, and shows people they are valued.


Fresh Focus

FocusDay 4 in my 12 days of Christmas mini blog series

4. Fresh Focus

Time off often gives people time for reflection and can prompt them to start thinking about other options, career moves or even career changes.

Share your plans for the coming year with your team so they involved, and ask for their input so you give them confidence in the part they have to play, and so you avoid any feelings of insecurity.

Schedule 1:1 reviews as early as possible to discuss individual contributions and where they fit in with your plans for the year ahead.

Encourage everyone in your team to have their own goals too. Even if these don’t include working for you long term, discuss how you can help them achieve their goals together.