Updated: Sep 4
The first Monday in September has been designated as a day to celebrate the contributions of American workers to our prosperity and success. It is only fitting that we take the time to consider how we can help this amazing workforce to be even more productive and guest-centric.
As I update this article for our current coronavirus situation, the need to show great care to your teams is more important than ever. It may start to feel like every time there is an end in sight, the finish line moves another ten yards. That can be exhausting for everyone.
You may have teams who are on leave or a smaller workforce due to reductions (meaning fewer people may be doing more work). You may have teams still working remotely or teams just coming back to the office. Keep all the potential trepidation and anxiety that your team may be experiencing in mind so you can help lead them with empathy and positivity.
Front line teams depend on us as Leaders to pave the road to success and ensure that the entire team is in lock step.
Throughout conversations with employees at all levels of public and private organizations, I’ve compiled the list below of how we can better serve those who serve your customers. Treating them as the most amazing internal Customers is a fantastic idea; however, many only give this cursory lip service and fail to treat them well and inspire them deeply.
Here are three things that can help you better deliver for your teams every day:
Communicate well. Leaders have a bad reputation for not listening to their employees. Employees assume that their leaders have no interest in keeping them well-informed or making sure they have the information they need. Solid communication during pre-shift huddles and staff meetings can keep the entire team on the same page. This has the added benefit of helping everyone to understand the organizational mission and to pull the rope in the same direction. Take the time to over communicate the important pieces and leave nothing to chance when it comes to being clear about expectations. This will help you combat the assumption that leaders do a poor job communicating with their teams. You’d be surprised how far a little extra communication can go toward building resonance with front line teams.
Train well. Training is the silver bullet. As a rule, many Front Line Associates feel they don’t have the training or tools they need to do their job. This is frustrating at many levels, because poorly equipped employees normally do a less than stellar job of serving Guests. It can be difficult at times, because training can be expensive and time consuming – and if you hire a great deal of employees, it’s often difficult to find the resources and manpower to train effectively. All that said, however, you cannot afford not to train your team. Customers have little patience for employees who have not been equipped to do their jobs, don’t understand how to do their jobs, or how to deliver at the moment of truth. The other rule of thumb is that training should happen in a safe zone at first so that team members can hone their craft without the Guest experience on the line.
Appreciate well. As we have discussed many times, associates want to know when they are doing a great job. How will they ever repeat great behaviors if they don’t know when they have achieved success? The short answer is that they won’t, so we have to help them embrace great service by reinforcing the amazing behaviors we seek. The end goal is to achieve repeatable success, and to do that, we have give positive reinforcement when things go right. Also of note, is that well-treated front line teams naturally pass those good feeling on to the Guests they serve.
The key message here is to be good to your teams.
You will only find amazing success as a part of a high functioning team with engaged Front Line Associates. In most cases you won’t be able to win alone, and you will need a team that feels well informed, well trained, and well appreciated to succeed.
That will mean not only the basic work communication that keeps the business moving, but also updates on their safety, work status, and future of the organization.
Take a minute today during the Labor Day Holiday to appreciate all the amazing things that can be achieved when leaders motivate, inspire, and empathize with their teams.
This is the perfect day to keep your teams at the center of everything you do.
Tony Johnson Customer Experience Speaker | Author |Trainer | Consultant
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Tony Johnson is an award winning speaker and author on the topics of sales growth, customer experience, and leadership. Tony speaks to thousands annually and has been featured on ABC News and Fox News. He is available for business planning, motivational keynotes, leadership workshops, and employee service skills training.
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