What kind of service do you provide for your employees? Larry at Larry’s Classic Quality Brake & Mufflers told me a few things he does to show his employees that he cares. Let me tell you a few of them:
- He buys lunch for each employee every day.
- On Fridays, if his staff has delivered great service, he treats them to a steak!
- He doesn’t ask his staff to clean the bathroom – he does.
- He gives his staff second chances. (One staff quit, he invited that employee back to work and now this man is one of his most loyal employees)
- He gives his staff “first” chances. (Larry gave a high school drop-out with an opportunity to succeed at repairing cars – today this young man is one of his most talented repairman in his garage)
- He sees his role to be a role model to his staff – promoting hard work and integrity and a positive attitude toward others
Think about practical ways you can show your staff that you care. Perhaps it is not buying them a meal – but maybe you can recognize their efforts, provide them with more opportunities, and treat them as your best customers – because that is who they are!
We’ve been talking about creating a culture of contribution through involvement. Here’s another way to get people involved:
- Offer opportunities for people to share testimonials of their own benefits of involvement.
Many times it is those personal stories that spur people on to get involved. Think about creative ways you can have people share their own stories. How did they get involved? Why did they get involved? What benefits did they receive from their involvement?
In a work setting, many times these stories can be heard at staff meetings or read in company newsletters or ezines. Sometimes the benefits can be seen by the ways in which people get promoted or are provide career opportunities.
A crucial step in creating a culture of contribution is to ensure people are seeing the benefits of their involvement. Whether you run a work team in an organization or are a leader of a community or professional organization, we all have a “radio frequency” dialed in at “WIIFM” (What’s in it for me) – and one of your roles is to communicate the benefits of their involvement, through words and actions. Here’s an idea:
Communicate (in creative ways) how involvement is an expectation (in the work setting), and the means by which people can get the best value of their membership (in a volunteer organization).
How do you accomplish this?
- Orient new employees that their participation in weekly staff meetings is part of their job expectation (and make sure they know some ways that you expect them to participate)
- Orient new volunteers and members and train them on the benefits of involvement
- Make it easy for new volunteers and members to get involved
- Allow opportunities for each person to facilitate one of your staff meetings
- Tie your evaluation system to people’s involvement
- “Educate” your team members on the productive ways to get involved. (For example, I’ve heard several managers say “If you are going to complain about something, make sure you come up with 1-2 ideas on how to fix the problem.”).
Employee engagement seems to be the “fad” these days. Yet engaging your employees is not a passing fad but rather, a crucial strategy to keep your employees and managers operating with optimism, intentionality in service delivery, and enthusiasm that will positively transform your organization.
Here are a few ways you can engage your staff:
- Consult with your staff before making any changes affecting their work.
- Value the differences in opinions and ideas.
- Listen to and respect your staff member’s opinions. Be open to new ideas and suggestions.
- When presented with a problem or question, ask how they might solve it.
- Recognize their contributions. Make it timely.
Remember that your staff members are perhaps your organization’s most important customers! Engaging your staff members shows them that you value them!