- Blog Categories:
- Business Coaching
- Company Training
- Customer Service
- Customer Service Training
- Down Economy
- Employee Development
- Employee Retention
- Fast Company
- Human Resources Management
- IT Staffing
- Job Analysis
- Job Listing
- Management Development
- Men's Wearhouse
- Skywalk Group
- Staffing and Employment
- Supervisory Training
- Time Management
Let’s just be frank about this. Most managers stink at giving feedback to their employees. And we aren’t just talking about developmental feedback either. Generally, even though there is a lot of positive feedback to share, it goes unspoken.
There are a lot of reasons for this. Time. Schedules. Fear. Inability.
Using this feedback model can dramatically improve the feedback process. It will improve workplace productivity and the morale of your team. It will even help build your credibility as an organizational leader. But don’t stop at the office. This same model can be used at home and with friends too!
The Feedback Model
Ask for permission.
This is meant literally. Ex. “Susan, can I give you some feedback right now?” Asking this allows Susan to opt out of receiving the feedback at that particular time. She may be having a bad day, in a hurry to a next appointment, or focused on something else at the time. This doesn’t mean that she can avoid getting the feedback indefinitely. If her answer is no, then you just say that you will be sending her a meeting invitation for some time that week to discuss the feedback with her.
Ask for the team member’s evaluation. Then give your evaluation of performance.
The important part here is to ask for their evaluation first. This is important for two reasons:
- It allows you to gain insights into how the employee thinks they are doing.
- Generally, people tend to be harder on themselves so getting them to think about the topic of discussion may be all you have to do.
Identify what will help maintain or improve performance.
Again, the strategy here is to ask the team member for their suggestions first. And then agree or add your suggestions to that. What you want to avoid is the perception that you are forcing your ideas on them. Let them own their own problems and solutions.
Agree on a plan.
Communication is good. Action is better. A game plan is a must if you are truly seeking a change in behavior.
Get commitment and set up a time to review progress.
This is an important piece of the puzzle. Both parties have to know and understand that they are committed to the change. Setting up a time to review progress keeps people focused and is a positive way to demonstrate commitment to the process.
Stay tuned! The next blog article will focus on how you can get better at accepting feedback, regardless of what your role is in the organization.
In working with organizational leaders and individuals, the topic of employee engagement regularly surfaces. Several questions generally arise including:
- What is employee engagement?
- What does high performance/engagement look like?
- What are the roles of the individual, manager, and company in employee engagement?
What is employee engagement?
The answer to this question may shock you depending on what role you play in your company. In many ways, it is easier to talk about what employee engagement isn’t. Plug your ears, CEOs and human resources professionals! Generally, the success of the overall organization doesn’t make the top of the list when discussing engagement. In fact, it appears that as a company grows in size, the “organization” or executive leadership and HR team can actually do more to hinder than help engagement.
Here is a working definition of employee engagement:
The ownership and passion that employees have for their roles and responsibilities and
the ability to understand how they fit into the big picture.
It turns out that if employees feel like they are responsible for the work they do, enjoy doing that work, and clearly understand how they are adding value to the entire process, they can be highly engaged. Relationships can directly impact engagement too. For many people, if they are a part of a cohesive work group and/or have a strong relationship with their direct leader, they are even more engaged.
What does high performance/engagement look like?
The characteristics and traits of high performers and highly engaged individuals are quite similar regardless of the type of business, industry, or position. When you ask employees to describe a high performer/highly engaged team member, the behaviors demonstrated look and sound a lot like the following:
- Goes above and beyond
- Ability to change as needed
- Serves as a knowledge resource
- Asks questions
- Cares about the product/service
- Is passionate and prideful about the work
What are the roles of the individual, manager, and company in employee engagement?
It turns out that the individual, manager, and the company all play a certain roles when it comes to engagement:
- The Individual: Needs to be open to new ideas, ask for help when needed, look for new and challenging assignments, be a good team player
- The Manager: Needs to provide recognition, support, and guidance as needed, provide challenges and opportunities, serve as a role model
- The Company: Needs to provide the basics such as pay, vacation, benefits, etc. Most importantly, the company needs to avoid creating processes that cause disengagement.
Have you thought about what engagement looks like in your organization? Consider utilizing the organizational development experts at Skywalk Group to craft an employee climate assessment for your business.
An organization’s mission explains its existence to the marketplace and communicates what its customers, vendors, employees and community can expect from the organization. From a strategic perspective, HR’s role is to ensure these collective groups truly experience and understand the organization’s mission. HR serves this role in three broad but critical areas.
Within a mission statement are clues to the company values. HR’s role is to establish, communicate and reinforce these values throughout the organization through the policies and practices that manage its human capital. For example, if an organization’s mission is to provide superior customer service, how it staffs, trains, manages, develops and compensates its employees needs to reinforce this philosophy.
Bringing (and Keeping) the Right People on Board
Without the right people in the right roles, a company will struggle to do the very thing it set out to do. When HR approaches staffing from a strategic perspective it ensures the mission can be met. Strategic staffing includes identifying the roles most critical to accomplishing the mission, defining the skills employees must have to accomplish the defined objectives, and bringing on board the right talent to accomplish the mission. HR also plays a critical role in designing the total compensation strategy to attract and retain the right people.
Preparing for the Future
HR serves an important role in preparing the workforce to meet current and future challenges. Often this translates into organizational development activities such as training and career development initiatives to address the human capital needs of today and prepare the workforce for the future. It also includes performance management strategies that ensure the right work is being done and employees are informed on how their performance compares to company needs.
While HR may not sell, make, or deliver the product or service that makes the organization money, its role is no less “mission critical.” An HR professional’s responsibility is to understand the mission and translate it into human capital management practices that align with it.
Gone are the days where classroom training, with its static learning structure, require participants to sit through a presentation and cover material at the same pace. With the Internet revolution and open source software solutions, training has transformed into just-in-time learning. Learners can now engage in the material of their choice when, where, and however they choose.
Tim Sieck, Partner and Training expert for Skywalk Group, lead this month’s HR Training and Round Table on Learning Systems & Portals. The featured learning system, Skywalk Group University, allows companies to introduce an online training portal where training modules can be stored for employees to retrieve at their own convenience, or pushed out as a required training course.
A web based e-learning portal offers employers the flexibility and control to manage their unique training needs. It allows for quick implementation with limited, to no IT involvement. You own the content, whether it is internally developed modules or links to external web sources, and can easily make changes as frequently as needed. It also ensures consistent training between new hire classes and on mandatory training topics. Finally, it offers a reporting tool to evaluate participant learning through quizzes and self-checks throughout the learning module.
An e-learning environment also benefits the employee, as they can control the pace of their learning. If a learner didn’t have time to finish or grasp all the learning objectives the first time, he/she can return at any time. Since the training can be accessed anywhere, anytime, a learner can review a topic at home, in between sales calls, or while on the phone with a customer; no need for the subject expert to be on hand.
If you are searching for a more effective, efficient and personalized training solution, Skywalk Group can partner with you to build and develop that solution. We offer services to complete the initial setup of the system, including customization and testing, and to provide you hands-on training to get your system off the ground. Contact training@skywalkgroup for more information.
See the bottom of this article for details about the Skywalk Group stimulus package.
Maybe your organization doesn’t make cutting-edge products. You don’t necessarily have to. But do your employees deliver cutting-edge customer service?
With today’s uncertain economy and belt-tightening occurring on every level, customers are becoming much more selective about where they spend their money. At the same time, companies are scrambling to maintain profitability and grow their businesses. Add to that, competition and a world that relies on social networking and word-of-mouth marketing … well, let’s just call it a tough sell.
Reliance on customer service employees is even more crucial these days. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, “as companies downsize or take other measures to increase profitability, workers are being trained to perform additional duties …” So, not only are customer service representatives (CSRs) charged with keeping current customers satisfied and winning new ones, but organizations are also training them to perform additional tasks, such as cross-selling products.
Labor statistics predict that the customer service sector will grow faster than the average growth of all occupations through 2016. Training CSRs must become a priority.
Who should you be training to provide cutting-edge customer service?
· Sales and service representatives
· All employees who deal with your customers
· Anyone who has internal and external customer contact
Look at Men’s Warehouse as an example. From a Fastcompany.com article, “They Sell Suits With Soul,” shares the story of Men’s Wearhouse’s record of turning “reluctant shoppers into loyal customers.” One top executive said that the company’s training curriculum is less about how to sell suits than about understanding people. In addition, Men’s Wearhouse believes in “the ability to move beyond the initial customer request and to satisfy a true need.”
Does everyone on your staff know just how critical it is to maintain a relationship with your customers to keep them coming back? Do they understand what it costs your organization in terms of both revenue and time, every time you lose a customer who had a bad service experience? In every customer interaction, the client walks away with a stronger, or weaker sense of loyalty to your business. There is no such thing as a neutral interaction.
There has never been a more compelling time to keep your organization moving and on the cutting edge with customer service training.
Skywalk Group Stimulus Package
For a limited time, you can train your customer facing employees for as little as $30.00 per person. Contact Mindy Seiffert at 319-892-3980 or send her an email at trai...@skywalkgroup.com to find out how.