How often do you approach your frontline employees to get their perspective on new initiatives, systems and how things are going in general? If your answer is rarely or never, you might want to consider making it a common practice. Countless studies have shown that when employees are included in the decision making process, there are many benefits that follow. A few benefits include: increased productivity, motivation and morale. Your frontline employees are the face and, in the case of a call center, the voice of your organization who take care of the needs of your customers/members. The better they feel about their job and the more motivated they are, the greater the benefits will be to the institution.
If you have already been genuinely touching base to get your employees’ input and opinions that is fantastic! If not, it might be a little awkward at first and you may not know where to start, so here are a few tips to help get you moving in the right direction.
If you are truly starting from a place of never doing this, start simple. Showing a genuine interest in your employees by asking how their weekend was, if they have any vacation plans for the summer, etc. is a great way to open the lines of communication and let them see that you are human and value them.
Change can be very scary for many employees. It doesn’t have to be though. When you are trying to make or have already made a change in the regular operation routines, use it as an opportunity to show your employees you are to be trusted and followed confidently. How do you do this? Touch base regularly to see how this new change is working for your employees. Ask them what is working well and what is in need of some altering. You’ll want to be careful in what you offer for remedies based on how permanent the change is that was initiated. Either way, asking their input and truly being willing to listen and make the process smoother based on their feedback is a phenomenal way to connect with employees and build your team.
Another easy way to include staff is through inviting them to send you an agenda item they feel should be included in an upcoming meeting. Provide a deadline for submitting suggested agenda items. Based on your workload you may want to give staff a week to submit any potential items. It is also a good idea to limit it to just a few items (1-3), this will add a sense of urgency for any employee with a legitimate item to submit it in time.
Let them lead
We’ll stay on the topic of staff meetings for a moment. This next tip will be most effective if you regularly observe your employees in action. As you see your employees perform in their various roles, make notes of who is positively standing out. Identify the main thing they are doing that is grabbing your attention and offer them the chance to talk about how they do that thing in a staff meeting. This can take 5-10 minutes at the beginning of your meeting. If you have the flexibility, it would be great to be able to make this a regular part of every staff meeting if time and circumstances allow.
We strongly believe that the greatest way to connect with your employees is through active coaching. This will make your employees feel valued, included and that they are an important piece of what makes your institution successful. There is no better way to connect with your employees and develop their skills than one-on-one coaching and real-time observation/coaching. This only works when trust has been established and the employee is comfortable opening up to you. When he/she feels safe and is completely honest regarding areas of weakness and challenges, you can have incredible open conversations to ask for their input, share advice and tips with them and ultimately know exactly what is working on the frontline and what needs attention.
The suggestions in this blog are just the tip of the iceberg! If you feel you may need more assistance in forming a stronger team where everyone feels involved and valued, we can help. We also offer training in sales and service, contact us today!