15 May BLOG #2 Check the pulse in these 5 business areas to ensure you’re leveraging the new normal
Does your employee engagement strategy resemble a deflated party balloon?
Following on from Part 1, Communication – let’s talk about engagement and empowerment. Engaging your employees is different now, primarily due to the fact that you can’t see the whites of their eyes in person bar seeing them as pixels on a screen – so have you changed how you engage with them? And no, I don’t mean simply having copious amounts of teleconference calls… I mean have you really sought to understand so as to be understood? More importantly have you connected the dots from employee empowerment to exceptional customer experience/service?
Engage & Empower (a.k.a. trust, grow, change, understand, have fun, give praise, openly and safely discuss the negatives, active listening)
The first thing I recommend is research, it sounds dull but it doesn’t have to be – if you put some thought into your survey questions you can gain a wealth of insight into how your employees are dealing with the current crisis and even more importantly what they will and won’t respond to so you can ensure your customers are getting the service they need and your brand retains its strength and humanity. First prize is always the 1-1 personalised engagement because you pick up the nuances that give depth to your research but your team may not have the time so I suggest using a simple tool like Typeform ‘People friendly forms’ if you can’t do the 1-1 thing.
Team fun… #saywhat…. How can anyone have fun at the moment?! Well yes you can and you should, it requires a little effort but it’s certainly worth bringing your team together consistently on say a Friday afternoon to shoot the breeze, talk about their funniest lockdown moments, talk about big or small achievements that week, start a book club and discuss a chapter every week (check out my top 5 books in the My Purpose tab), discuss personal goals for the coming week, split into teams and do a pub (home) quiz, include partners so everyone can learn a little more about each other – there is a plethora of options. I guarantee the first few will be awkies but they’ll get into the swing of it and when all this chaos is lifted you can continue them in person. NB. Make sure you have a sh*t-hot moderator so everyone gets a turn and it doesn’t come across like a chaotic NYC stock exchange.
Kudos and gratitude – we all need it and at a time like this you should be making a real effort to ensure everyone is getting what they deserve. You can do it in so many ways, you can include it in the first 5 minutes of your ‘team fun’ sessions (watch the engagement from those peeps go up by 100%), you can post it on social media, you can you include it an internal notice, you can even deliver it directly to their door in the form of essential goods or kids clothing vouchers. Whatever it is, use your imagination and refer back to your research to ensure it’s personalized.
Soft skills – in my humble opinion there is nothing soft about emotional intelligence, time management, conflict management, customer service, storytelling, personal productivity… the list goes on. These are badass skills that are vital to the sustainable creation of a company culture that will get you through something like COVID-19. So… use this time wisely and encourage your employees to empower themselves by upskilling in these areas so they can better serve their colleagues, your partners, and most importantly your prospects and customers. My advice… create a friendly competition with a leader board that you refer to every week. Make sure everyone gets involved, add it to their KPI’s – it’s the new normal you can change/add to them without much discussion and to be honest whilst it will be awesome for your business it will do wonders for each of them personally.
Finally, and most importantly ‘Family Time’ – acknowledge it, appreciate it, encourage it. Not much more to say on this, to be honest, it’s critical and your compassion and understanding of some potentially difficult family situations will go a long way with your team – single parents, redundancies, failed businesses, divorced parents, lost loved ones or even just normal home situations where routines have been turned upside down with no school, no external interaction and parents who now have a 2nd job as a teacher all need compassionate understanding. Your people will remember how you, correction how your brand treats them during a time like this, for a long time after this.
Get in touch to find out more about my practical program to help you engage and empower your off-site teams and ensure consistency and continuity in your business operations.
In area 3 we look at your business processes and how these should be changing to remove redundant activities or added to, to include new efficiencies and customer channels.