Are Your Employees Really Engaged? by Cindy Stradling CSP, CPC

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Every employee has good days and bad ones. But, too many bad ones may mean that your employee has lost their mojo. It’s not unusual to find employees experiencing a bit of burnout and failing to be as engaged as usual.index

As a business owner or manager, it’s important to quickly recognize when your employees are less engaged than usual. You may notice habits like missing work more frequently, or you may notice an employee making more mistakes than usual. It can even be as simple as the employee not having their usual positive attitude or failing to provide the customer service you expect from your employees.

Once you have identified that an employee is less engaged than normal, it is important to address the issue quickly. The longer the problem persists, the more the employee is to grow dissatisfied with their job. In addition, their lack of engagement will affect your business, either through sales, quality or customer satisfaction.

Sometimes the problem can be solved with a little time off, or a simple change in tasks. Once employees become bored with their day to day routines, a break in that routine can be very welcome and can be just what is needed to get them back on track.

In some cases, the employee is ready to move to a different position permanently, in order to grow as an employee. As a boss, it’s part of your job to try and recognize when employees are ready for more responsibility and to provide regular challenges to help them grow in their careers. Employees who know they will be constantly challenged and rewarded for their efforts are less likely to be disgruntled.

Offering an incentive or a contest may help if you have several employees who are feeling bored with their job routines. Such programs can generate excitement and healthy competition that makes the workplace a little more interesting.

Keeping your employees engaged is one great way to ensure your business provides your customers with the experience they desire. It’s also a great way to ensure your employees stay happy at work, so your team thrives on all the challenges you’ll face as you grow.

Give What You Want to Get by Cindy Stradling CSP, CPC

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Leadership can be tough, and definitely requires practice and skill. It is clear, however, that some people possess leadership skills more naturally than others. What might be surprising to learn, however, is that people who are “natural leaders” don’t generally use fancy tactics. Their approach is generally a simple one. They give what they wangivewhatouwanttoget_t to get.

To give what you want to get simply points back to the golden rule. Treat others the way you want to be treated. (or another version treat people the way they want to be treated).  Here are four specific areas where great leaders practice this rule with the people with whom they interact.

1. Listening – If you want people to listen to you; listen to them. Your employees will know you’ve listened to them when you can stop what you’re doing, give them your focused attention, and provide them feedback. Be sure to act on their requests whenever they make sense to implement. When you can’t, give them specific reasons why.

2. Respect – The people who are most respected by others are those who give respect. Don’t fall into the trap of believing that your higher position should guarantee you respect from others. Everyone has to earn respect. The best way to do so is to show it. Treat everyone the way you would treat a CEO.

3. Work Ethic – Employers appreciate hard workers. Most employers wish they had more people who worked hard. If your employees see that you work hard, they are more likely to do so without complaint. Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty. Pitch in and help at all levels of the organization when you have the opportunity. In addition to improving the work ethic in your team, you will also get a better understanding of what employees at all levels go through on a daily basis. This knowledge will be very valuable when it comes to making decisions about your organization.

4. Fairness – Don’t impose something on your employees that you wouldn’t want to put up with from your employer. Have clear and fair rules on paper with regard to behavior expectations. Then, abide by those rules yourself, and enforce these consistently within the workforce.

When you walk the same walk you expect from your employees, it is easy for them to respect you. Think first and foremost about how you would feel in their shoes, and then behave accordingly. You’ll be amazed at how you’ll begin to get the respect and appreciation you desire as an employer

How to Promote Engagement by Cindy Stradling CSP. CPC

How to Promote Engagement (when you cannot see the audience)

Recently I was asked to include some tips on how to promote engagement during a conference call into one of my training programs.  I reached out to my Alliance partner who delivers virtual training and she shared the following tips:conference call

Use Language that promotes engagement:

ASK:  What questions do you have?  Instead of: Are there any questions? (this will often result in silence)

STATE:  I’ll give each of you a minute to write down your question and we will begin with  _____________________

Optional Questions to Ask:

If you had a question, what might it be? 

What question mike someone else on the call have?

Whenever possible enforce a “No Mute” rule.

Check with group regularly (every 6 minutes of 3 slides)

Call the behaviour (ie: I am hearing silence and not sure what it is about).

10 Conference Call Etiquette Tips

1.    Distribute an agenda. Start and stop on time.

2.    Arrange call in non-lunch hour times.

3.    Treat the same as a face-to-face meeting

4.    Be on time (if moderator, send dial in information several times).

5.    Participate with the assumption your line is never muted.

6.    One person speaks at a time.

7.    Don’t shuffle papers.

8.    Do not take another call.

9.    Do not use hold button.

10.Speak loudly, clearly and identify yourself when you speak.

 

 

 

Blind Spots – Solving Hidden Business Problems (Excerpts Part Two)

Why is it that some leaders are successful, while others struggle?  In this guide in narrative form, Russell Baxter, a fictional character and outgoing CEO, shares his secrets of success with incoming CEO Amir Ahmed.  Baxter demonstrates that great leaders need tobookcoversmall be aware of their vulnerabilities or blind spots and take action to make necessary changes.Filled with practical advice, Blind Spots shows the value on drawing on experts to develop valuable skills that can take your business to the next level.  For the month of September our blog will highlight short excerpts from our book Blind Spots ~ Solving Hidden Business Problems.

Blind Spot Four: Forgetting the “Customer” in Customer Service

 WHAT WE NEED TO KNOW ABOUT CUSTOMER SERVICE

There are three levels of service experience that companies can choose to create for their customers. The key word is “choose!” Choosing the top level, legendary service, builds the trust that gives you and your customers the opportunity to enjoy the full value of your relationship. Choosing less leaves your customer relationship wide open for your competition to walk in.

A commitment to legendary service experiences shapes your business. This commitment tells your entire organization that service is a role and a mindset that extends beyond your front line service staff and connects everyone in the company. When your team has a company wide, inside-out and outside-in understanding of that principle, they can deliver on your brand promise.

Customer service is an interpersonal experience. Service teams must apply a mix of situational thinking, skills, abilities, language, agility and technologies to their role. These roles are best developed within a customized service program, ensuring your brand promise is married to listening, responding and evolving with your customer’s voice, thus building a depth of companywide capability, agility and speed to act.

 Blind Spot Five: Building Teams Without Communication

 WORK IN AND ON TEAMS

Gallup recently indicated that as little as 11% of employees worldwide are engaged in their jobs. Eighty-nine percent float between “somewhat” to “fully” disengaged.Low engagement reduces productivity, profitability, and customer and employee retention. Think of the damage that can do to a company’s brand.

In this Gallup study, functional units and work teams who scored high in employee engagement had double the opportunity for success than those with low scores. Rather than disengaging staff around “what’s wrong” or “who’s wrong,” leverage your team’s story, purpose, protocols and goals to positively engage staff to work in and on the team. This dialogue affirms “what’s right” so the team can leverage their strengths, explore customer needs, and align energy and action towards doing “what’s needed next” to serve customers and each other.

WHAT A GOOD TEAM LOOKS LIKE

We can look at high performing teams like we look at the human body: a dynamic unit of function. A team’s effectiveness and efficiency is the result of several interconnected components that, when aligned and encouraged, create ideal conditions for incredible cognitive, emotional and functional performance.
The best teams unite under a single narrative and live it, adding new chapters by the day. This narrative centers each member with agreement and passion for their purpose, their roles and connection to the voice of the customer. It maps how the team communicates within itself, and within the organization.

A team narrative thrives when team protocols are linked to why the team exists: their ultimate purpose. With all team members in attendance, the team collaborates to clearly define a set of team protocols. These protocols will define how the team will function with each other and with others to create success. These teams use their protocols as part of the performance fabric: they present and reference them during team meetings, huddle-ups, coaching, reviews and celebrations.

 

Blind Spot Six: Ignoring Health and Safety at the Office

WHY SAFETY IS IMPORTANT

Just because you can’t see the potential hazards in your office doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Take a closer look. That exposed wire could start a fire. That poor posture could slowly damage nerves and cartilage.

An accident on the job can put people out of work. Severe injuries can impair them for life. Your talent is your most valuable resource, and it’s your duty to make sure they work in a safe environment.

It’s also the law. Across Canada, different federal and provincial ministries all audit companies for safe working conditions. And that’s a good thing: before these mandates, many younger workers suffered injuries on the job. Now, accidents have decreased significantly across Canada and the US. Still, heavy fines exist for workplaces that can’t meet health and safety requirements. Larger companies can implement these requirements easily, but smaller and medium-sized companies can have problems in this field.

 

AREAS TO FOCUS ON

Policy: good policy can prevent accidents from happening in the first place. Review your health and safety guidelines with a qualified professional to assess that you’re doing your best to keep your employees safe. Also remember that there’s usually specific legislature for dealing with specific equipment. While large businesses can devote significant resources to developing policies internally, small and medium-sized businesses can have trouble wading through all the information. Call an expert to see if you can benefit from policy training.

Training: under provincial law, it’s mandatory to have a certain number of people equipped with knowledge of first aid. But legality aside, it’s just safer to have people who know what to do in an emergency. First aid training covers topics that include shock, choking, and heart attack.

Equipment: even if you study how to use a defibrillator, that training won’t help you unless you have one. Also, unless that defibrillator is maintained, it won’t do the job it was designed for. Keep your health and safety equipment up to date around the office, and customize your equipment for different working environments.