What is it about people not acknowledging you, attempting to engage or even smiling when you walk into their organization? What does it take to be even a little bit friendly? Can’t they even pick their heads up from whatever they’re doing so I know they’re alive? I can tell you that it is a costly mistake to ignore me.
A disengaged workforce costs employers a bundle.
I am often asked how to motivate their workforce? Well, here are 10 no cost things every manager can do right now to engage their employees and experience immediate improvements in performance, productivity and profits:
- Mirror the right behaviors: Set an example. Employees watch how you behave; how you speak to customers; how you dress; and the hours you keep. Be engaging, friendly and professional and they will too.
- Talk to them. Listen to them: Have a meaningful conversation with your employees and not just a “hi, how ya doin’?” as you rush by them. Get to know them. Show that you care. Be clear about what you expect of them and understand what they need from you. Value their opinions. Care and they will care.
- Provide your employees what they need to do their jobs: This sounds like a no-brainer, but it is not. Quick story: I consulted to a nursing home where nurses would hide latex gloves above the ceiling panels because the administrator, in a cost saving move, rationed gloves. Talk about germ control. If you want to build a house, you need to have a hammer and nails. Incidentally, we stopped the ‘hide the glove game’ fast!
- Let employees do their job: Train them; be clear about your expectations; and then send them to do their jobs. Stop micromanaging. Provide them autonomy and let them succeed and yes, make mistakes. Employees want to do their jobs. They can’t hit home runs of you don’t let them bat.
- Acknowledge your employees: When they do good work, recognize them. Give them specific praise; be genuine; and not a hollow “nice job.” Employees famously state they know when they’re not performing but rarely hear anything when they are. Change this paradigm.
- Grow your employees: Your success as an organization is predicated on having employees with strong skill sets. Continuous development must be ingrained into the fiber of all organizations. If it isn’t, your company will stagnate and fail. You’ve got to water and fertilize your garden.
- Talk about the big picture: Imagine having employees who go to work each day, have no idea why they are doing what they do, not know where the organization is headed, what’s important and what’s not, or what’s of value. And then you wonder why your employees are not engaged. Employees need to know the company’s mission, must embrace its values, and understand where they fit in. Take the blinders off your employees.
- Focus on quality and customer service: Never compromise or shortcut here. A few bad customer experiences and your reputation is ruined. Customers will flee and your good employees won’t be far behind.
- Take care of your employees: Have fun and never tolerate disrespectful behavior. Bullies, harassers and discriminators must go. Fast. You’ll never find happy customers where there are unhappy employees.
- Demand excellence: Insist that your employees perform. Continuously raise the bar. Never compromise. Give your employees the tools and knowledge to do their jobs and require they do it. You get what you expect.
This past Christmas, my 28 year old son went shopping for a gift for his mother. He decided to buy her clothing and like most single guys, he was clueless about what to get. He told me that he walked into the women’s department and he must have had that look of “I’m lost” on his face. A clerk approached him and he tried to explain what he wanted. Recognizing he needed help, she jumped into action, shopping the store for him, picking out the perfect gift, and even wrapping it for him. My grateful son dropped a few coins in that store. If that clerk had not been attentive to him, he would likely have left. Now he is a loyal customer. That’s customer service. That’s how an engaged worker performs. It didn’t take much. No heavy lifting. Just a well-trained employee who cared about the customer. And that’s what it is all about.
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