As the economic climate continues to persist it has been a challenge for all leaders to maintain morale and continuously improve customer service standards. In all work environments leaders have been asked to do more with fewer supplies, people, and finances. Although this challenge has been around longer than the latest economic down turn, it has been heightened by it. Very often our conversations with leaders and managers turn to motivation and asking more from people within their organization. With businesses making tough decisions, the customers, internal and external, continue to demand the best possible service.
While we continue to work with organizations, I continuously look to understand the scope of this concern. Michael G. Faith, CEO of Headsets.com said,”Some have argued that the quality and level of customer service has decreased in recent years, and that this can be attributed to a lack of support or understanding at the executive and middle management levels of a corporation and/or a customer service policy.” If you are a leader in a manufacturing organization or a financial institution, the chances are you are facing the same challenge. Engaging people and keeping them involved, will lead to the success of all organizations.
From: The Strategy-Focused Organization by Robert S. Kaplan & David P. Norton states, “By the end of the twentieth century, the book value of tangible assets accounted for only 10 percent to 15 percent of companies’ market value. Clearly, opportunities for creating value are shifting, managing tangible assets to managing knowledge-based strategies that deploy an organization’s intangible assets: Customer relationships, innovative products and services, high quality and responsive operating processes, information technology and data bases, and employee capabilities, skills and motivation.”
How do you motivate and engage an employee base? In the ever increasing struggle for market share customer satisfaction and employee motivation, this will continue be part of the 75% intangible assets that lead to a company’s success and growth. As we move into the fall and hopefully the beginning of better economic times, we may want to face one of the biggest challenges leaders should be aware of. With that being said we have put together a list of five ideas to start the process.
- Identify a problem. Put together a team of employees to solve the problem that affects them. This will engage people and help build as team. As they sift through and solve the problem, allow them to implement the change build long-term success.
- Encourage ideas from people. As leaders we sometimes forget some of the biggest challenges can be solved by those who perform the day to day operations. We work with organizations that have implemented the “Idea System”. This system constantly encourages people to offer ideas to help in the day to day operations. By doing so the employees are helping organizations to solve problems locally and building ownership of their organization.
- Create a climate survey. This will allow leaders to find out what people think about the service they are giving. Once you complete this process, you will have employees participating in solving the outcome of the survey and creating starting points to work on the improvements.
- Teach managers to be coaches and not directors. When times are tough and everyone is working hard, managers can sometimes slip into the role of director. Coaching takes time but will change behaviors and develop skills. Directing solves an immediate problem and misses empowerment opportunities.
- Be patient. In the ever fast-moving business environment .change, participation, and motivation do not happen instantly. It will be something that takes time because, after all, it is a process that is transformational, not transactional.