Are You Hearing Your Team?



According to Gallup over 79% of employees are disengaged at work.


We have all heard that statistic, but that number will continue to grow as remote work erodes employee morale. Lack of communication and collaboration - along with loneliness - are key issues facing those working remotely.

Now is the time to really dig in and listen to your team. This is the time to ensure that you are measuring employee engagement and prioritizing workplace experience.


With 27.5% of the U.S. adult population vaccinated right now (according to ABC News), you are likely considering what it means to start moving toward a more familiar model.


If you haven't brought your teams back to work, likely you have a date on the calendar to make the move.

There is also your customer experience to consider. You may be an airline getting ready to ramp back up as travel normalizes. You may be a restaurant finally able to welcome guests back into your dining rooms. You could be a theme park finally able to increase capacity.


That means you'll need your team on point and ready to deliver - and that starts by ensuring they are heard.


So let's start with the most relevant question: Why does it matter?


Team Retention: Well engaged real members are 59% less likely to leave an organization (Gallup) and new employees are expensive to recruit and onboard. SHRM reports that replacing an employee costs a company 6 - 9 months of that position's annual salary. So keeping your team is more cost effective than recruiting new employees (so long as they are performing well in their positions).


Customer Experience: Well engaged team members are more apt to deliver great service to customers. When they feel as though they are being heard and respected, they are more willing to give extra discretionary effort to their customers.


Safety and Productivity: Companies that scored in the top quartile for employee engagement had 70% fewer accidents according to Gallup. That's a staggering number but it makes sense when you consider that safety takes commitment to make it a priority. Also note that well engaged employees get more work done - up to 44% more (Bain and Company).




Now that we have locked down the urgency for hearing your team and taking action, what are the best ways to hear your team?


After reviewing the processes of a national restaurant chain, big-box retailer, a large healthcare group, and a regional theme park, the following were foundational elements that any business can adopt. You will find these very transferable - particularly as you leverage free or low cost technologies.



LISTENING TOURS

That's right, I'm leading off with walking around and talking to people. This may seem ridiculously simple, but know that this is an underutilized piece of time for many leaders - particularly as they ascend to the executive level. I know a hospitality executive who always made it a point to walk into the kitchen and talk to the cooks and dish washers. He had some great conversations and learned a lot. He not only heard feedback directly from the team but they felt very appreciated that he took the time to come and see them.


This can also takes the forms of large focus groups or town halls that allow you to share a bit of information, but then lets the team share their needs, frustrations, and ideas. These must be well organized, kept to small groups, and led without bias or personal agendas. Often your H.R. teams are best equipped to lead these impartially.



EMPLOYEE OPINION SURVEYS

Numbers tell a story and allow for a quantitative analysis of results that can be measured, benchmarked, and evaluated. This kind of data is perfect for measurement and is best when used in conjunction with verbatim or qualitative comments from your team. The good news is even if you don't have budget for a company such as Gallup to conduct your surveys, there are many affordable solutions including online forms and surveys that are free or low cost, such as Survey Monkey or Google Forms.


There are 3 call outs here:

  1. Keep the survey short - you will have problems with cart abandonment if they are too long

  2. Protect anonymity and be sure your team understands their privacy matters

  3. Understand how your team wants to be surveyed - do you need a combination of paper, tablet, and online or is your team comfortable with a completely virtual experience?


ONE TO ONE MEETINGS

These are important to the health of your organizational performance management. This has been something that the healthcare space has excelled at for years. These regularly scheduled check in meetings allow you to give feedback to your team but also to solicit feedback and understand challenges specific to each employee. When you hold these regularly (either monthly or quarterly), it makes performance appraisals less of a surprise at year-end.


If you want to improve your ability to solicit team feedback, visit my coaching page and download the FREE FEEDBACK WORKSHEET. CLICK HERE TO GET YOUR FREE WORKSHEET


PRE-SHIFT HUDDLES

These daily meetings are fantastic places to hear your team. When you keep these meetings two-way your team will use it to share their thoughts and opinions in real time. If you had opportunities the previous day, this is the place you can hear what happened and take action to correct going forward.



EVALUATE SPACE UTILIZATION

Understanding how your team interacts with their workspace is important when it comes to measuring satisfaction - and gives a clearer picture than asking them. Perceptions about current state are often skewed, but the data will give the full picture here. Which spaces are getting the most use and which seem to be underused will allow you to follow up with understanding why those things are true. This can lead you to segments of your team that are over or underserved by the infrastructure and allow you to make informed decisions. And now is the time to be thinking about your physical workplace design as you look at the future of your workforce.


MEASURE EMPLOYEE PROMOTER SCORE

This takes the same fundamentals of customer experience NPS and turns it inward on your team. You will find you have promoters, neutrals, and detractors, just as in your CX analysis and with many of the same corresponding attributes. Promoters are a powerful source of learning about what is going well at your organization as well as recruiting strong new talent to your team.


Bain and Company created this system by asking employees 3 key questions:

  1. On a scale of zero to ten, how likely are you to recommend your company as a place to work?

  2. What do you like about your company?

  3. What do you dislike about your company?”


But the most important differentiator in employee experience comes from the actions you take. You can't collect data and then do nothing with it. That is demoralizing to your team and will keep them from sharing their ideas in the future.

There are 3 key steps


Capture and analyze. Don't let this go on forever, though. Make sure that you plot the information in a way that paints an accurate picture and categorizes data in actionable channels.


Share and Respond. You must share the data with your team - the good and the bad - and then be open with the plans to take action. Listen to your team to be sure that you have heard them accurately and interpreted the data in a reasonable way. This is also the time to enlist their help with ideas and solutions to improve your workplace. You should be sure to share the positives from the team as well - don't get mired in pure negativity.


Take Action and Follow Up. This is where you will prove to your team you were serious when you said they "are your most important asset." You will need to move on some of the easier items quickly to show commitment and gain momentum. Be sure that you are open about what are quick fixes and what will take more time. A key piece here is to meet with your team in follow up meetings to share successes and determine if your team is satisfied with the progress being made.


The importance of hearing your team will be seen in your business results. But you will also see it beyond the bottom line in the looks of pride your team has about the work they are doing and the increased effort they give to customers.


This is why keeping your teams at the center of everything you do will lead to amazing customer experiences.


Tony Tony Johnson, CCXP Customer Experience Speaker | Author |Trainer | Consultant 606.356.7447 FREE RESOURCES AND TRAINING TOOLS WEB - TWITTER - FACEBOOK - YOUTUBE - INSTAGRAM - LINKEDIN - PODCAST - CALENDAR Improve Your Customer Service with my Book: TOGETHER WE SERVE: Four Proven Strategies to Create Winning Experiences for Your Guests and Your Tea. Click to Purchase on Amazon.com

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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