A leader’s primary function is to empower all employees to achieve desired customer service standards and exceed customers’ expectations.
If you’re a leader reflecting on your success and failures from 2016 and are ready to leap into 2017 with a killer employee engagement and development plan, here are 7 tips to get you started:
- Listen to Employees and Customers. Develop listening tactics to determine where you stand with all customers. Develop your associates to become listening posts or data miners to maintain a pulse on the customer interactions and the customer experiences. Make it a habit to listen to your associates and look for obstacles to remove. One way you can do this is to schedule regular ongoing meetings where your associates can bring up internal and customer concerns in a safe, receptive environment. Then as a team, create an action plan of how you can address these concerns and be sure to follow up and reinforce these principles.
- Continuously Improve the Quality of Information. Find ways to improve the quality and quantity of customer information that each associate receives. The best organizations and inspirational leaders understand that 80% of the focus of information should be directed to the front-line associates who are serving their customers. Remember, people without information cannot act; people with information are compelled to act.
- Remove Obstacles. Remove restrictive rules, unbalanced performance measurements, lack of resources, inadequate learning and development, influences of compensation, and other areas that inhibit superior service performance. Start with simple things that can make a big difference for your associates such as strict dress code policies, flex or vacation time, or work from home policies. When you give your employees some flexibility and control over their environment it will pay huge dividends in their engagement and motivation.
- Allow Room for Autonomy. Give employees flexibility to make responsible decisions and use judgment and allow them to handle routine deviations of normal customer transactions/interactions. Develop your employees to think and act like owners and become inspirational leaders. The only way to do that is by giving people the autonomy to use their brains.
- Lead by Example. Provide accountability and “walk the talk”. Remember, focus and goals are set not by words, but by actions. Inspirational leaders have the habit of leading by doing, and then educating, enabling and providing room for empowerment.
- Measure Delight, Not Processes. Create effective service and loyalty measures to allow employees to understand how to be successful in serving your internal and external customers. Focus on outcomes, not recipes or procedures.
- Recognize and Celebrate. Catch people doing things right and recognize and reward them for it. Celebrate great business outcomes. Recognize employees who create value for customers and others will follow. Inspirational leaders have learned to catch people doing things right, moment by moment, not just once a year in their performance review. Establish an organizational engagement program to recognize your employee’s exceptional performance in a personalized, ongoing way. (Find out more about GES’s Organizational Engagement solutions here.)
If you want to establish alignment throughout your organization, motivate your employees to higher levels, and improve your bottom line in 2017, it starts with your leadership!
When leaders invest a small amount of time providing recognition and appreciation, it will produce a significant and lasting positive impact on employee performance and the customer experience!
I hope the tips above are helpful for setting your 2017 leadership goals!