Tag Archives: employee feedback

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.



Creating a Culture of Innovation

Innovation iceburg

Icebergs and Innovation

Involving your team in innovation and improvements.

I’ve talked many a time about the importance of listening and tuning in to your team. However, over the past few months the emphasis has been on listening to their concerns with a view to safeguarding their wellbeing.

Today’s article is also about listening, but this time with a view to involving them, making continuous improvement & creating a culture of innovation.

Sparked by a webinar I attended last week on the topic, here I share my own perspective on this.

Where does the iceberg come in?

The ‘Iceberg of Ignorance’ is a term Sidney Yoshida used, based on an earlier study in the 1980s which stated that “only four per cent of a company’s problems are known to top managers”. This is represented by the part of the iceberg which is visible.

The theory is that only 9% of problems are known to middle management

74% of problems are known to supervisors

100% of an organisation’s problems are known to front-line employees, i.e. collectively, employees know about all of the problems.)

Now, although the study was based on mid-sized organisations, and within your business the gap between front line employees and senior management may be much smaller, the message is still the same. If you don’t consult with your front line you are probably missing a wealth of information that impacts the success of your business.

My own experience of this was back in the late 1990s when I was still in the corporate world, and our then CEO took part in the popular TV show “Back to the Floor”. Because he was working ‘under cover’ he got to hear of a multitude of issues, bottle necks in the system and some brilliant ideas that could be brought back to the business.

As a trainer and facilitator, I also get to hear of all sorts of issues that stand in the way of team members being as effective as they might be – sometimes through irritating glitches which are often (admittedly not always) really easy to fix. The sad thing is, very often these issues could have so easily been rectified if only they’d been asked for their feedback.

Quite apart from the obvious benefit of being made aware of problems, let’s consider why else it’s a good thing to involve your team, and what can you do to apply these principles in your business, or within your own department.

5 reasons why Creating a culture of Innovation is a good thing

  1. Involving your team in making continuous incremental improvements, helps you evolve and stay fresh, on an ongoing basis. Whether it’s a cost saving, something to improve the customer experience or simply making their lives a little easier – shaving a few minutes off a task in one area, may free up a few extra minutes to devote to customers. Those incremental improvements all add up over time. **
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  2. One of the questions I am frequently asked is how to engage your team; involving them in innovation can drive employee engagement; if employees are involved with creating new ideas they are emotionally connected to the ideas, so will want to see them succeed.
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  3. The more opportunities and encouragement they get to be involved with generating or sharing new ideas, the more they feel a connection to the business which helps drive engagement & performance.
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  4. Your team are often closer to your customers than you are so will often spot potential problems before you do, and see potential solutions to those problems.
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  5. When you ask them for their ideas, and encourage them to think outside the box to solve existing problems they will and come up with ways you’d probably have never thought of to move the business forward or improve your customers’ experience.

7 principles to make Innovation work

  1. Your team need to understand your purpose and what you are aiming to deliver to your customers. It’s difficult to recognise opportunities for improvement or come up with ideas if they don’t know what you – as a business – are trying to achieve.
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  2. Create a safe and conducive environment for people to come forward with ideas; where they are not seen as a criticism of the business or systems, but as a positive contribution.
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  3. Involve your team in the development and deployment of possible solutions to problems not just come to you with the problem.
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  4. Many new managers are afraid of asking for ideas in case they fail. Failure and risk are part of the process. If something doesn’t work ask for ideas on how to improve.
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  5. Be open to quirky or off the wall ideas – they may not be the ideal solution, but may be a starting point to asking, “what can we do the build on that idea?” Even if you’ve tried something before, it doesn’t mean it’s a bad idea. If you quash suggestions people will be reluctant to come forward with ideas in future; instead ask “how can we make that work this time?”
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  6. Don’t go in search of radical revelations, all those small incremental changes add up over time.
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  7. If your team haven’t been actively involved in putting forward ideas or if those ideas have fallen on deaf ears in the past, recognise it takes time for employees to feel comfortable or willing to do this. It takes time to create a culture of innovation.

Take action

If you only do one thing: Next time you want to make a saving or find a better way of doing something, don’t sit in an ‘ivory tower’ and try to solve it alone – ask your team.

p.s. a starting point for flushing out issues and ideas is through anonymous surveys such as Engagement Multiplier. If you’d like a test drive to see what it could do for your business, request it here directly with Engagement Multiplier who will be happy to arrange this.

** Waitrose are reported to have saved £460,000 in till roll paper as a result of one small change following a suggestion from a staff member’s idea.



Making your team feel valued

How to help your team feel valued

How to make your team feel valued

Employee engagement and ensuring your team feel valued has become a hot topic lately. Like me, I know you know how important it is to have an engaged team, and the impact this can have on the customer experience, productivity and staff retention.

On Friday I gave a short presentation on just one way to help keep your team engaged, and that was making your team feel valued.

There are many ways of you can make your team feel valued, but the one I’d like to home in on today is that of tuning in to team members.

Failing to spot disengaged employees isn’t always easy. But if we don’t, we run the risk of these people being a drain on others in your team, being less productive and negatively impacting your customers’ experience. And ultimately resulting in higher staff turnover and all the knock on effects this can have.

So here are 10 ideas to help tune in to your team and individuals within the team so you can not only demonstrate to your team you value them, but you can also nip in the bud any problems brewing before they fester and impact everyone else.

  1. Know what’s important. Making your team feel valued starts with understanding what drives each of your team members and what’s important to them. Although something might seem trivial to you, it may be highly significant to someone else. When you know what these are you take account of these with this person.
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  2. Be available for people to talk to you on a one to one basis or in private. Not everyone will feel comfortable raising concerns or questions in front of colleagues, and some situations may not lend themselves to be aired in public.
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  3. Be approachable. Make it easy for people to come to you when they have question or concern, and create a no blame culture and let people know there should be no embarrassment in making a mistake, so long as they learn from it.
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  4. Keep your ears and eyes open to spot when things aren’t as they should be, and you can pick up on concerns quickly. Not everyone has the confidence to ask for help when it’s needed or let you know when they’ve a problem. Listen and observe so you can spot any staff concerns quickly. Left to fester these can snowball into bigger problems.
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  5. Regular one to ones. Never under estimate the value of 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.
  6. Show you value their opinion. Ask their advice in areas where they have more involvement than you, e.g. many of them will spend more time with customers than you and often spot things you might miss.
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  7. Ask for feedback regularly. Things change and problems can fester. Use briefings to get feedback on any customers’ comments, discuss any questions or suggestions that arise about operational issues which could affect them in any way.
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  8. Provide support when needed and be receptive to when this is required; not everyone will be confident enough to ask for this.
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  9. Be brave. 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?” 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. Accept feedback with good grace and thank them for an honest response.
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  10. Create the opportunity for people to give anonymous feedback (using a tool such as Engagement Multiplier). People may be afraid to say what they really think if they’re concerned about being labelled a problem or complainer. 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.

Action point:

Help your team feel valued by asking for their feedback. If you consider yourself to be a brave, caring owner (or senior decision maker) of a growth focused business, and you’d like to find a simple way to get direct and honest feedback from your team, take a trial assessment. Register your interest here:

to get your company’s engagement score, and discover where to take action to make an impact right away.



Not another meeting!

Do you feel you spend too long in meetings? I think most business owners and managers feel that at times.

Over the past few weeks I have written about the importance of giving feedback and a structure for conduction 1:1 meetings with your team members. But when you feel it’s yet another meeting adding pressure to your already packed schedule it’s one of those things that can slip down the priority list.

And that’s how your team will see them too.

So, here is the third and final instalment to help you get started.

Why

Let’s start by remembering why it’s important to sit down with each of your team members on a regular basis.  The aim is to:

  • 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
  • To nip in the bud any potential problems which could escalate if left to their own devises
  • 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

We all like to be reassured. And even if we make the assumption that “no news is good news” we can still left with that nagging doubt in case there might be anything wrong.

Finding time

One of the common concerns I hear is that the process is time consuming, particularly when you have 8 – 10 people reporting to you. It’s then easy to let them slip.

Look at it another way – ask yourself how much time potentially will you need to spend rectifying things if you don’t take that time out with them?

So rather than being over ambitious, schedule your meetings on a time frame you think you can reasonably achieve.

Use the 3 questions discussion before and stick to this structure so your team members get used to you asking these same 3 questions. Ask them to come prepared with their answers.

One to ones should be scheduled so both of you can plan for them and around them, and fully prepare. And nothing smacks more of “I’m not valued” than one to one meetings being continually cancelled for the slightest reason.

I’m often asked how often and how long they should be. There is no hard and fast rule, but devoting insufficient time can mean they get rushed, leaving the team member feeling devalued, or meaning you don’t have time to really drill down into any detail when needed – merely skimming the surface and achieving little.

Schedule your meetings so neither of you are distracted by imposing deadlines e.g. during your busiest periods or prior to your critical deadlines in your business. Think also of their state of mind at the end of a hectic day, very busy period or big project.

Getting started

Use your first meeting to establish (jointly) their goals and KPIs if you don’t already have these in place.

Identify what you want to achieve from the meetings.

The agenda doesn’t need to be written in tablets of stone, but it’s good to follow a basic structure so you both know what to expect and can plan accordingly. Linking back to your objectives there are some key elements to include, all of which can be structured around the 3 questions.

It’s far better to home in on one or two areas at each meeting so you can go into some depth, rather than covering everything superficially and covering the same old ground over and over each time.

Building trust

If people’s previous experience of one to one meetings up till now has been bad or at best just a waste of time, it can take time to build trust before these can be totally honest exchanges.

Avoid the fish bowl type of office or public areas. You want a free and open discussion, and you’ll not get this when there’s a fear they’ll be over heard, or others can see their reactions to any sensitive issues raised.

  • Make a connection: show you’re interested in them not just their work; ask about family and well-being.
  • Pay attention: listen, show you are listening, ask questions, avoid office distractions.
  • Keep it light: Yes, professional, but not overly formal if you want them to be open.

Make a note of any actions agreed, and ensure you follow through on any commitments you have made to the team member, so they don’t see the whole thing as yet another meeting or simply a tick box exercise.

In summary

If you aren’t already conducting regular one to ones now might be a good time to start.

Focus on asking the 3 questions on a regular basis and gaining agreement on actions moving forward, with some measurable goals and clear direction.


The accepted norm

The way it is jared-rice

I sometimes see managers getting very frustrated that people in their team aren’t contributing as much as they’d like.

They know, or at least suspect, they are capable of more, but for some reason some people are just not taking responsibility for making decisions or getting things done.

Ask how they see their role?  They may see things differently.  If you (or maybe your predecessor) have always done the thinking for them, maybe that’s accepted as the way it works.

Do they even recognise that you’d like more from them, and if so what?

When we find ourselves getting frustrated that people are not handling things the way we’d like, it’s time to reflect on how well we’ve explained our expectations, and the training and support we’ve given to help them realise these expectations.

Do they know what ‘great’ looks like so they have something against which to benchmark their performance?

Do they have all the tools, resources and enough time to meet your expectations?

Have we given feedback on how they’re doing and comparing it to their understanding or perception of what’s needed?

Are they kept up to date? Quite apart from the fact no one wants to look uninformed, especially in front of colleagues or customers, unless they know ‘what’s happening where’, it will always be difficult for your team members to make considered decisions.

But probably the most important question to ask is: are we giving them the freedom, confidence and autonomy to do what they’re capable of doing and to fully contribute.

Want to know what the next step is….?



If you don’t measure it how can you manage it?

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

Most business owners I work with are too. But I also see many letting money slip through their fingers unnoticed. Profits they could retain with a few simple steps.

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

That’s shocking and frankly quite sad.

What’s more it’s costing us millions.

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

And if you don’t measure it how can you manage it?

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

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

But…

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

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

Look here to see how you can measure your engagement levels right now. And stop those profits sneaking out the back door.

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