Have you ever had a good customer experience when served by someone who is completely disengaged with their work or their organisation? Probably not.
Now think of the opposite end of the spectrum. When someone is really proud of what they do.
Being recognised at work so you can be proud of your contribution can have a massive impact on employee engagement, and all the knock-on benefits of staff retention and productivity. And of course, your customers’ experience.
So how can we create an environment where people can feel proud of their work, proud of your business and proud to be of service to your customers?
This stems from the top, so if you are recognising your managers and supervisors so they feel pride in what they do, they are far more likely to do the same with their team members.
As well as leading by example, educate your managers and supervisors on the importance of recognition, and give them ideas, support and resources to do this.
Here are three areas you get you started:
Treat your team with the same courtesy you’d like them to show customers. 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. A sunny smile and a cheerful “good morning” sets everyone up for the day.
Act with integrity, and demonstrate you are true to your values. What you say about customers or colleagues can be a good indicator.
Show you value their opinion. Involve your team in discussions and ask their advice particularly in areas where they have more involvement than you, e.g. most probably spend more time with customers than you and often spot things you might miss.
Show you care about them, and always have their best interests at heart not just business interests.
2. Demonstrate Trust
Play to people’s strengths, rather than making everyone mediocre at everything. We often underestimate people’s capabilities. Give responsibility in areas in which they excel. When individuals have one or two areas to focus on specifically it encourages them to go deeper and develop their expertise. This is not only good for people’s development; it also helps the team respect other’s roles and share the burden.
Give flexibility to adapt and adopt their own style. You’ll be surprised just how resourceful your team can be given the right direction.
Give meaningful feedback. The more specific and the sooner you do this after the event the greater the impact. Whenever you get positive feedback from a customer publicise this.
Recognise and celebrate successes – for the individual, for the team or the business as a whole.
Acknowledge contributions: Let everyone know when you’ve had a good month, Recognise those who go beyond the call of duty e.g. changed domestic arrangements to help out, dropped their own work to support a colleague or gone out of their way to help a customer. Acknowledge those who have put effort into a project even if it has just fallen short of the mark. It’s the effort you’re applauding not the result.
Saying thank you and well done in front of the whole team may make some people feel uncomfortable, so be selective. But when done for the whole team it can give a real boost. Put some thought into how you say thank you, make it relate to the individual and something that resonates with them.
Celebrate those important proud moments outside work: arrival of their first grandchild, child’s graduation, a significant contribution to a charity, a personal achievement such as passing their driving test.
Simply remembering personal milestones such as a significant wedding anniversary can make people feel valued, but even better if you do something to mark the occasion even if it’s just something simple.
Whatever you do to show you value your team and get them ‘Puffed up with Pride’, make a point today (and every day from now on) of doing at least one thing to show your appreciation to each and every one of your team.