July 08, 2018
Employees as the Center of Your Day
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Anyone in the service industry has heard something about putting the customer first. This has always been the way it worked to draw in customers to attract more sales in the past. However, things are changing.
We have a new breed of customer and to keep them coming and spending their money we need to stay relevant. We need to hire employees who can match the type of customer we have and engage and surpass their expectations.
These days hiring employees is one of the biggest challenges businesses face today. There are many great things written on the millennial employee showing the difference between the current working generations and past generations. However, hiring good employees is vastly different than keeping that same employee for the long haul. We can no longer give the basics in training, tell them to just do the job without explaining why it needs to be done and why it needs to be our way. We can also no longer use “I said so” or “we have always done it that way” and expect to keep the employee engaged, motivated and employed. Old management styles will lead to arguments, disinterest, and employees leaving. The way we were “raised” in the workforce is outdated.
So in this new day of employees, how do we put the employee at the center of our day? The very first step is knowing who your customers are and then hire employees who match their needs. Then getting to know who you're hiring is important. They are no longer the “cog” in the machine employee from the past. They want to be people of importance in your world, they want to make a difference, have a voice and know what is going on. As you interview and in the beginning stages of the hiring process get to know who they are, what makes them want to work for you, what are their dreams, goals, thought processes. Find out why.
Once you choose someone, train them. I cannot tell you how vital this step is. Having a detailed job description that lays out your expectations for their performance will give them a clear direction. Make sure your training is detailed, allows for time to go over things and matches the job description to the training, leaving no ambiguity. This keeps an employee engaged and gives them goals to work towards. While training the employee, explain the whys of it being done a certain way. Ask them questions about what you are training them on and then have them train someone else. Listen to them as they discuss what they are learning with you, they will have suggestions, ideas, and thoughts on how it could be done better. Everyone wants to be heard and it has never been truer than with this generation of employees.
As they make their suggestions repeat it back in your own words so they know you paid attention and heard what they had to say. Ask them for clarification and details. Listening does not mean you must implement some or any of their suggestions, but it clearly shows you are giving them a voice and that is an extremely important motivational tool. This leaves the door open, in their mind, for future discussions. You put them at the center of your day.
Once you have trained the employee, allow them a lot of freedom to accomplish the tasks and to keep learning and growing and trying new things. Keep the communication flowing so they know you are listening and that they are important. This shows you are putting them in the center of your day, which lifts them up and brings meaning to their job. When they are uplifted, motivation and morale are higher and this keeps them centered, interested and focused.
Now comes the boring day to day work. The dull drudgery of completing tasks can drive the motivation and eagerness out of the most committed employee. It is our job to keep them motivated, allow them to see their importance. Find a way daily to engage them and praise them. This is often associated with having to spend money in difficult times. That is a daunting thought leaving us with a negative attitude affecting our approach with employees and many give up and disengage completely in fear of needing to spend money.
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