In my last article, we discussed the importance of clarifying expectations by defining and communicating the company’s “true north”, the directional vision your employees can look to in order to better understand performance expectations.
Clarifying expectations and communicating them effectively is the start to a successful employee and customer experience. It is equally important to create the right employee environment. The time we spend at work often outweighs the time spent with friends and family. To have a team work together successfully they should feel valued, respected, recognized, and there must be trust.
Over the years, I’ve heard leaders say things like, “they get paid to do that, why should I recognize employees for doing their job?”, and “we don’t have time to do anything extra, it’s just too busy”, and worse, treat employees inconsistently – unintentionally playing favorites.
From the outside looking in these statements seem ridiculous – how can a leader think this way? It’s really not that surprising… when we specify our goals in terms of getting the job done, money, time, and efficiency, our leaders respond to those priorities. For those leaders who have trouble multi-tasking and have trouble with empathy, how we treat our co-workers can take a dead last in comparison.
Building a strong employee culture, environment, and experience is not easy because it may require change, but understanding where you are today and where you need to get to is a good first step. In determining if the employee environment has a strong foundation, you may have to do some corporate-soul searching:
- Do employees have clear expectations on what you want from them?
- Do your employees have trust in your leadership team? What is the relationship between leaders and frontline employees?
- Are conditions for employees valued – should they be improved or innovated?
- Do employees feel recognized when they do a good job?
- Do employees feel empowered to help customers? Do they have the tools to do so?
- Does accountability exist so that employees feel like everyone is treated fairly?
These are some of the questions you can ask yourself and leadership team to determine if you have a strong foundation for your employees. If you are a customer-facing (frontline) employee, what would your responses be to these questions about your workplace?
What are your thoughts… please join the conversation.