“I just feel so honored to work here. It’s a privilege to be part of this team.”
That’s how a coaching conversation started with a CSR at a particular HVAC and plumbing company I had just started training. Imagine my shock, and total delight, as the other 13 CSRs expressed similar sentiments.
By the time the seventh CSR expressed how lucky they were to be a part of that company, I had to know more.
“What makes you love your job so much?” I asked.
“I feel valued and respected. Everybody in the area wants to work here because of the company culture and awesome management. They really take care of their employees and make it fun to work here.”
The team mentioned things like friendly office competitions, approachable management, recognition, and inspirational office decor. My favorite perk was an on-site spa room to relax in during breaks from the call center. Obviously, that perk may be not realistic for most companies, but creating a team of employees excited to come to work and honored to be part of the team is realistic and achievable.
The even better news is that when you invest in your team, your team becomes invested and it pays off. Making more money is a by-product of satisfied employees.
Here are five of the easiest ways to invest in your team:
1. You’re managing people. Treat them like people first.
As a leader, you set an example of the company culture. If you want invested employees, make sure you’re treating them like people first. Don’t let problems or stress get in the way of respect.
For example, you notice a technician or CSR’s performance dropping. Alarmed and frustrated, you bring them into your office to have a frank, “I need these results or else” conversation. You make it crystal clear what’s at stake here. That individual, and everyone else in the office, gets uneasy
Instead, what if our first approach was to bring that person into our office and say, “I noticed your numbers are lower than usual. That’s not like you. Is everything alright? How are you doing?”
This opens the door for a conversation between two people, rather than fear of authority. It will change your office culture drastically.
2. Set Achievable Goals and Recognize Success
An employee feels validated in their work when there are clear goals to work toward and clear rewards for reaching that goal, even if it’s as simple as praise or recognition as employee of the week.
There are lots of ways to implement this in the office. For example, the highest booking rate every day gets a raffle ticket for a gift card or lunch raffled off monthly or weekly. Compensate your team for selling service agreements. Or even better, personalize recognition to each individual. More on that below.
3. Recognize Employees the Way They Like to Be Recognized
Have you ever asked your employees how they like to be recognized for their success? Try it.
One person may love a shout-out in front of the whole team saying, “Nice work, Deborah! She just ____!” While another person may hate that much attention being brought to them and feel embarrassed.
Ask people what they like, and by individualize your recognition, you’ll create invested employees.
4. Invest in Employees’ Training
Employees feel valued when you show them that you value their work and contributions. If you intend to keep an employee long term, demonstrate it to them by investing in further education.
Companies often pay for employee’s continuing education, which benefits both parties.
5. Get to Know Your Employees
I trained a company with a call handling team that hated their jobs, each other and management. The owner had a mutiny on his hands. When I asked him why, and he had no idea because he didn’t know his employees.
Instead of approaching the team with threats, this owner offered to take each of his CSRs to a private lunch to get to know them and ask them how they liked their jobs. He listened to their feedback and implemented changes. The owner made intentional effort to be present more often, popping into meetings occasionally and stopping by their desks to drop off coffee and chat.
In just a few months, the entire culture changed. He became approachable and invested in his employees, and they returned the favor.
When we treat people with respect, no matter what position you or your employee holds, they will treat you and your clients the same way. Everybody wins.
However you decide to invest in your employees, it will be well worth your time. When you invest in them, they treat your clients with the same care.