In today’s fast-paced, high stakes society, we often forget the small details that make or break someone’s day. If you’re in business to serve customers, you know to train your staff to remember this major step. But, if you don’t make an effort to engage with your employees, your close connection will fade quickly. Even the best-trained customer service team can fade over time if you don’t pour into each of them.
The fading connection is certainly understandable. After all, you’ve got at least a hundred tasks pulling you in every direction throughout the day, not to mention the ideas in your head you have yet to get to. While your employees may not have the same business responsibilities, they too have a multitude of ideas, concerns, and comments regarding your business.
While you may not have hours each day to devote to hearing every concern, it’s important to make yourself available to your staff. Otherwise, you may lose good employees simply because they don’t feel their voice matters. Here are a few ideas that will help bridge the connection gap between you and your employees.
When you connect with your employees honestly, you bring yourself to a reachable level. You’re no longer perched on a pedestal of perfection. You allow your staff to know that you don’t always have the answer to an issue. You don’t always have your ‘stuff’ together. You’re just like everyone else. This brings the human element into the equation. When you connect with others in this raw, unaltered way, you open the door to deeper relationships.
Tip: A solid foundation can be the difference between a short-term employee and a life-long employee.
Let your employees know they can come to you in times of crisis. This can be anything from coworker issues, venting about a customer, or even personal crisis. Sometimes, you may be the only person in your employee’s life who will listen. It may seem like an overstep of your job as their boss. After all, you didn’t start your business to become the conductor of the drama superhighway. But, think about this: if your employee comes to you with a difficult situation that will affect their role in representing the business, who better to guide them through the situation than you? Allowing your employees to vent may not only be healthy for them, but it may also be a learning tool for future encounters.
Tip: Making yourself available to your staff shows your commitment to your team.
When it comes to employee engagement, setting aside a few moments for each staff member is vital. Find out what they like to do when they’re not at work and what foods they like or don’t like. Learn their spouse’s name and what they do for a living. This information doesn’t take long to discuss, but it brings you closer to your employee. Then, instead of just saying “hi” you can ask deeper, more meaningful questions. When your team realizes you care about them on a deeper level, they’ll perform better.
Tip: A happy employee makes for a happier workplace.
Too many employers forget the importance of empowering their employees. Tell your employees how much something costs the company to make. Include the overhead costs. Allow your employees to understand the cost of business in terms of product pricing. In doing this, you empower them to make better choices in how they deliver value to customers.
Tip: With the tools of empowerment, your employees will feel more confident in themselves and your brand.
When you spend your days putting out fires, take a few moments to stop and look around. Is your staff on track? Tell them you appreciate them. Did they all work hard despite being shorthanded? Express your deepest thanks for their dedication. Did they handle a difficult situation with poise? Point that out to the group. Show your staff you sincerely appreciate them. But don’t overdo it. Just like nagging, constant thoughtless compliments will fall on deaf ears.
Tip: Make your words count. Don’t overindulge or underemphasize.
When you are connected as a team, daily life seems to flow smoother and you’ll discover your team is happier. They’ll engage with customers better. And soon, you’ll feel the stress of having a disconnect fade.
Connecting with those you work closely with is helpful in keeping a positive attitude in your business. An employee who knows you hear them and value their opinion holds more weight than gold. So, go ahead, pour two cups of coffee and get to talking. Your employees with thank you for it.
About the author: Suren Rodrigues is an avid technologist with a rigorous scientific background, and two decades of proven experience as a leader, delivering enterprise-scale software, and carrier-grade telecom. systems. He has a Ph.D. from the University of South Florida. Dr. Rodrigues lives in Colorado where he can indulge his other passion: the outdoors