Monday, November 13, 2017

1-2-3 Engagement is the Key

By Sean Hawkins

If you want your staff to be engaged, they must first be involved! I constantly seek opportunities to allow people to work and grow in areas other than their current role. We often talk about removing silos between departments, yet many employees remain siloed in their roles. That should not be the case.

1. Get them involved
On a daily basis, I am given a suggestion of some sort. In times past, I would dedicate time to act on the feedback. I soon realized I was spending a considerable amount of time doing this. Instead, I found it helpful to both myself and staff, to include them in the process. After all, if they an idea, they likely had thoughts on implementation. These "projects" have become quite successful over the years. In fact, they have been helpful in shaping (and changing) my opinion on things, that I once was reluctant to entertain.

Being inclusive allows the team member an opportunity to develop new skills, provides more exposure, and it leads to new opportunities for them. In addition to suggestions, pilot programs, and process improvements can be projects that your team can assist on.

Involve staff when establishing processes or procedures that directly impact them. Doing so shows them you respect their opinions, and it also ensures that you get all the input possible in your decision-making process. More so, it's an easy way to ensure adoption, buy-in, and success. 

Those doing the work, are often the one's to identify the best solutions for improvement. In areas where they are the subject matter expert, they know what works. It makes sense to include them!

2. Provide meaningful feedback
One of the best ways to keep employees engaged is through feedback. In its most literal sense, feedback means to give food back. Feedback then, is the process and act of providing, or giving nourishment. Doing so fosters growth, good health and wellness. These are important to each of us, and most often these are the things we seek most in life. However we fail to take this approach in the workforce.

Most often, employee feedback occurs when someone hasn’t performed well or it is time for their annual performance review. Feedback, in the context of our conversation supplements development. It is aligned with professional growth and should take on the form of mentorship or an advisory role.

I like to utilize my 1-on-1 or monthly feedback sessions with staff as an engagement opportunity. In addition to discussing matters related performance and addressing any concerns they may have, I incorporate feedback. Benefits of feedback:
  • Increases self-awareness
  • Provides a balanced view
  • Leverages Strengths
  • Uncovers Blind spots
  • Develops skills
Once feedback is incorporated, reinforce it by rewarding employees.

3. Acknowledgment
Everyone has different motivators. Therefore, acknowledgment must come in a variety of flavors. Make it personal!

Some individuals will view acknowledgment as superficial and inauthentic, if it personal. As a result, they may respond with skepticism, cynicism and sarcasm. Employees want to see something more substantive, such as individual attention or quality time with their boss and/or colleagues, acts of service that make their jobs easier (offering to pitch in on a project or do a favor), tangible gifts or bonuses, or physical touch in the form of high-fives, fist bumps or handshakes, depending on the company culture.

The point is this; true acknowledgment touches the core of the person, by understanding their needs and making a valid attempt at meeting them! And that is what engagement all about.

I have over 15 years of progressive call center leadership and experience in the public, private and government sectors.

I have led or consulted contact centers of various sizes across numerous industries. Additionally, I’ve implemented new technology and products, while maintaining award-winning contact centers.

Connect with me on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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