Archive for November, 2011

What Your Employees Can Tell You About Your Business – But You Have to Ask

As a business owner or manager, you have final responsibility for decision-making.  Are you sure that your decisions are based on facts, or are they based on how you see things?  If you want to find out what is really going on in your business, a good place to start is with your customer-facing employees.  Here are some questions to ask:

  • What’s the most difficult customer challenge you’ve dealt with in the past month?  How did you handle it?  Was the customer satisfied with the result?
  • What helps you help customers?  What hinders you from helping customers?
  • What’s the most positive comment you have heard from a customer in the past month?

Now comes the most difficult part – you must listen to the answers without judging them.  If you immediately jump on the employee for not doing what you think they should, they will never again give you any useful information.  Thank them for their honesty and even if you disagree with their perspective, look for the kernel of truth.  And, if you make changes based on what they say, involve them in the process so that in future, they will start alerting you to issues before you ask.  That is a win for everyone in the business.

Sharon Hamersley is Principal of Keys to Performance, Your Resource for Workplace Productivity. Sharon helps businesses hire, train and retain outstanding employees and create workplaces where everyone can do their best work.  For more information, visit her web site or call her at 614-395-9440

What is Employee Engagement? Why Should I Care?

Put very simply, employee engagement is the level at which your employees are willing to “go to bat” for you.   A “highly engaged” employee feels a connection to the company and consciously works to meet company goals.  A “disengaged” employee feels little connection to the company and in fact, may consciously try to sabotage company goals.

How can you tell if your employees are engaged?  Ask yourself the following questions:
• How often does work get done faster than I expected?
• How often does the quality of work exceed my expectations?
• If I were to observe my employees outside of the office, what would they be saying about the company?
If your answer to the first two questions is “never” and the third is “they would be complaining” you have a problem.

So,  what can you do to increase their level of engagement?    Here are a few suggestions:
• Make sure they know why their job is important and how it contributes to company goals.
• Be clear about your expectations for quality performance and what that looks like.
• Model the behavior you wish to see in your employees.

The success of your business depends on your employees’ willingness to fully participate in the work.  This is a shared responsibility – you need to do your part to make it happen.

Sharon Hamersley is Principal of Keys to Performance, Your Resource for Workplace Productivity.  For more information, visit her web site or call her at 614-395-9440.