As entrepreneurs, we have come a long way from the “this is my business, and you work for me” scenario. Back in the day, it was commonplace, and sadly normal, to treat your staff as a number. You paid them; therefore you owned them, at least during their working hours. And, it is not to say that they shouldn’t be beholden to you when they are at work, but it is the manner in which we deal, or rather work, with our employees, that makes all the difference.
Richard Branson, setting aside his wild and wanton ideas, has been one of the biggest ambassadors for staff empowerment, and employee morale. And, well, to put it simply, if we could all achieve the results that Richard Branson has achieved, then there is merit in paying attention to our workers.
A big trending phrase at the moment is “service-profit chain”, and what this is brings together the relationships of employees, management and customers. Without loyal and happy customers, we wouldn’t have a business. And whom do your customers deal with most of the time? Your staff. Sure, you may be the initiator and the centre of influence in bringing those same customers into the fold, but once you’ve had your moment with them, there comes a time when your staff need to step in.
The service-profit chain broken down into its simplest form tells us that giving good service will directly influence profit. And taking that a step further, the “service” factor pertains to our working force as well. If they are happy, they will be loyal. If they are loyal, they will ensure your customers are happy. If your customers are happy, they will be loyal. Do you see the trend?
Now, we can see you asking that infinite question. How can I make sure my staff are happy and satisfied, without, firstly, breaking the bank, and secondly, without losing my authority?
There are many ways to skin this cat.
But, first, a few keywords need to be bantered about in order to understand the “how”. We call these the “why” words.
Internal Service Quality
They may seem like just words but they can be achieved through a few simple practices,
- Workplace structure and design
- Employee reward systems
- Efficient tools and processes to service customers
- Employee/Employer Open Communication
- Engagement and Team Building Exercises
Our Top 8 Tips for Engaging with Staff
- Creating a pleasant working environment for your staff, a place they would be proud to go back to each day
- Incentivising their excellent work and skill displays.
- Acknowledging their existence and contribution to your business
- Supplying your staff with the necessary tools and equipment to best do their work, and liaise with your customers
- Making it clear that there is always an open communication space, so that your staff feel they can approach you with anything. Of course, setting ground rules down around this is vital as well
- Engaging with your employees couldn’t be more important, especially when you are dealing with the younger generation, our millennials. Engaging is what they do best. It is part and parcel of their makeup.
- When you have a team, whereby their engagement with each other is paramount to delivering excellent service and work, then setting up team-building exercises will prove very fruitful.
- Taking time out to actively engage with your staff through professionally constructed Engagement Seminars or Conferences
“Treat employees like they make a difference, and they will!” Jim Goodnight, CEO SAS