Category Archives: teamwork

Teamwork

teamwork

Better teamwork to relieve the pressure

With Christmas festivities only a matter of weeks’ away you may now be planning your staffing to ensure your customers get a consistent experience no matter how busy you are.

Last week my tip was to upskill and cross train your team so they can cover each other when need be, and help them respect each other’s roles.

But this is also a good strategy to help improve teamwork and relieve some of the pressure in busy periods, be those Christmas or any other peak periods in your business.

Here are 10 tips to get you started…

  1. Set up job swaps so everyone has a greater appreciation of each other’s roles and create better teamwork.
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  2. Encourage staff to take responsibility when necessary, rather than passing the buck.
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  3. When there are special circumstances, such as working on a big project, seasonal peaks, or staff shortages, define everyone’s areas of responsibility to ensure no gaps and no duplication of effort. Avoid the frictions that occur when someone hasn’t pulled their weight or others are seen to ‘interfere’ with your way of doing things. (Customers invariably pick up on these little issues too.)
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  4. Capitalise on people’s strengths, rather than making everyone mediocre at everything. Identify staff champions for routine activities so there is always at least one person other than you keeping an eye on each aspect of the service. This is not only good for people’s development; it also helps the team respect other’s roles and share the burden.
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  5. Get rid of rotten apples. It only takes one or two negative people to get in the way and spread their negativity onto everyone else and drag them down to their level. Deal with them or get rid of them!
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  6. First impressions count. Ensure everyone in your entire team knows the minimum standards for welcoming and greeting customers; answering the phone, including initial enquiries; taking messages or booking procedures even if this is only an occasional requirement.
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  7. Set your expectations of new team members early on; no one likes uncertainty or being left in the dark. Establish a thorough induction programme, so new team members can get up to speed as quickly as possible, making it easier for them and putting less pressure on the rest of the team.
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  8. Train from scratch in your way of doing things. Even if you recruit someone with extensive experience in customer service it’s vital they fully understand your service culture not just how they did things in their last job.
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  9. Observe the same principles for your seasonal team as you do for your permanent team members. Your customers won’t differentiate, and one person not knowing the ropes can have a negative impact on teamwork, and the service they give.
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  10. Check everyone’s level of competence and confidence before letting new team members loose on customers. Not just for the sake of your customers, but for the team member too.

Upskilling and cross train your team give you greater flexibility amongst the team and gives them more variety in their roles. It means they can cover each other’s responsibilities ensuring you are not left in the lurch when key team members are sick or on holiday, or you simply need an extra pair of hands in one area of the business when they’re not needed elsewhere.

Take action

If you only do one thing – check you have at least one other person who can readily cover any one of your key roles, so you’re not left short if someone is unexpectedly absent for whatever reason.

p.s. If you need some guidance on onboarding new team members, so put less pressure on the rest of the team get my Onboarding programme template here

 


Mixing Things Up

“Talking it through in our group I’ve now got some brilliant ideas.”

“It was great talking to others and realising they have the same challenges”

“I now have a better understanding of xx department, and know what I can do to make both our lives easier”

“It was great to get someone else’s perspective, as I’d not seen things that way before.”

These are typical of the comments I get from delegates on my workshops.

I can guarantee I will always get at least one delegate (if not nearly all) on every workshop I run saying that meeting other people or mixing with people in other departments was an invaluable part of the workshop.

Why?

  • It generates new ideas (in fact the very same happened to me this week when I was a delegate – and came away with a cracking idea from another delegate – more of which you’ll learn at a later date).
  • It gives a greater understanding of each other’s roles, and the demands on them so people and departments become more supportive of one another
  • It helps build relationships and connections, helping team members to understand each other better, knowing what’s important to them and how to get the best from them
  • It helps each other identify where their strengths and expertise lie, so where they may be able to support one another
  • It reminds everyone that ultimately they are working towards the same goal

But…

It doesn’t need an externally run workshop to enable these things to happen.

There are plenty of things a business can do internally to get team members and departments working well together, exchanging ideas, supporting one another, and generally creating a harmonious team.

Here are just a few…

Mixed meetings and briefings.  Mix departments to work together and share best practice and see others’ perspectives. Proactivity mix people up to sit with people they don’t normally work alongside, otherwise everyone just gravitates to towards their own team or their buddies.

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

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.

When there are special circumstances, such as working on a big project define responsibilities to ensure no gaps and no duplication of effort.

Get rid of rotten apples. It only takes one or two negative people to get in the way and spread their negativity onto everyone else and drag them down to their level. Deal with them or get rid of them before they make everyone else’s life miserable.

Social events. Finding something that appeals to everyone’s tastes, personal commitments and pockets can be challenging, so never force people to attend.

Involve your team in organising the event. However, be careful this isn’t seen as a chore, or you will undo all the goodwill you’re trying to achieve.

After-hours team activities in the workplace can open up accessibility for those who can’t or won’t otherwise get involved. Cookery classes, wine tasting, talent contest; anything that taps into the interests or expertise of your team members.

Personal Development. Offer extra-curricular activities through suppliers open to all team members. For example, if you are a hospitality business you might ask your alcohol supplier to organise a gin tasting, or a cocktail making demonstration or competition.

Social Media. Set up a private Facebook Page or WhatsApp group where your team members can chat, share ideas, ask questions.

These are just a few ways you can get your team talking to one another. If you’d like to talk though more ideas specific to getting the best from your team set up a call with me here.