Having an empowered, trained and engaged team is the dream of many service leaders. How can you work it out?
Have you ever been in situations where seemingly simple problems weren’t resolved because the clerk who answered you didn’t even have a gram of autonomy to solve? Have you ever wondered why an employee didn’t take the initiative to think a little differently in situations where you needed a quick fix?
The rule in many businesses is to simply follow the rules. That’s the message to employees. Follow the script and answer the client. If something comes out of the script, harden and don’t yield. When in doubt, say: “I follow orders, I fulfill procedures”. If your business is still at this stage, maybe it’s time for you to rethink things.
A team with no power of action, when things get off the rails, becomes an annotation team. By the way, it becomes a message team, where the demands have to await a decision of a superior, which will depend on the agenda, availability and interest.
What else happens in these situations is for the customer to simply turn away and look for another supplier. Sometimes we’re talking about trivial situations, such as a discount of 1.0% more than normal; the exchange of a defective product; repayment of an amount paid more; the authorization of a freight or the exemption of an item of service. The lack of empowerment stops the business, limits creativity, curtails motivation, and leaves the team so much less engaged.
There are employees who attend the company in a strict employment relationship, for a mere source of income. And knows that the number of employees attending this stand is significant. They are the ones who clock in (with great difficulty) and are there simply for the job and not for a project. It’s not their fault. It’s the fault of the leader.
When we talk about empowering a team, it doesn’t mean that everyone can decide the easiest way, in the “you can do anything” way. We are talking here about transferring autonomy with responsibility. When you have an empowered team, you have at the same time a motivated team with a high sense of belonging that is considered important to represent the company in adverse situations.
When employees have the responsibility and the ability to make decisions that affect the lives of customers, they are helping the company achieve its goals. When an employee uses their judgment to make decisions that they believes to be in the best interests of the company, they’re engaged. And being engaged means more than being motivated or satisfied.
Many positive factors happen for a business where leaderships can keep teams engaged. Increasing productivity is an immediate consequence. The customers themselves recognize that in that company, things happen differently, everything flows better and a demand off the charts won’t clutch everything because the manager or the boss is absent.
The engagement doesn’t necessarily mean happiness for employees, nor does the company’s HR be responsible for promoting it. No, no. Responsibility for engagement comes from leadership, management and CEO; and has corporate culture as its strong mainstay.
A study published by The Global Workforce has shown that companies with engaged employees have operating margins almost three times higher than those in which engagement doesn’t appear. You already can imagine the enormous field of opportunity to rethink a business from the perspective of team engagement. “Engagement is a decisive indicator of how successful a company will be and the sustainability of that success”, said Beni Kuhn, an online communities expert and Setesys’s CEO.
Yet, according to Kuhn: “By definition, engagement is directly linked to motivation. You cannot ‘buy’ engagement’. Indeed, when a certain standard of services is needed, studies show that motivation is not limited to financial compensation. To increase engagement, in addition to the meaning of work, it’s important to allow the employees to adjust their role to their competencies, strengths, as well as to their likes, as much as possible”.
A good way to measure engagement is to see how connected people are to their work and to the organization that they engaged. Engagement isn’t just getting involved. Engagement is compromising. Another important sign is when they actually understand what the company expects from them. If they understand their importance and their role in meeting the strategic objectives and realize the importance of the productive contribution every day, this is engagement.
Have you ever wondered why a team acts exemplary in the presence or absence of leadership or oversight? Because you can be sure that people’s behavior will change (and much) from company to company.
To further illustrate the theme, the Temkin Group Consulting (www.temkingroup.com) teaches five tactics, including disciplines, to work on employee engagement. I take the opportunity to comment here, point by point, for you.
In this context, informing means providing all the information that the employees need to understand the organization’s mission, vision and brand value. Informing also includes talking about how customers feel about the company, their perceptions, feedbacks, complaints, facilities and difficulties.
The more the company transparently shares corporate information, the more paved the entry will be to get to engagement. Here are some practices that can help here:
Inspiring is to connect employees to the organization’s ideologies (business, mission, vision and values) so they believe they are important and proud of the work and the company in which they operate. The practices to further inspire your teams are:
Instructing means supporting employees with the training and feedback they need to successfully deliver the organization’s brand promises to customers. For this, some practices for better effectiveness of instructing:
Involving is acting proactively with employees, supporting them when necessary, encouraging them, promoting them, designing their careers and goals. Involvement is improving work processes and solving identified problems through customer or employee feedback. Some practices to involve teams:
Incenting, in this context of engagement, is to implement appropriate systems to measure, reward, and reinforce desired employees behaviors and motivate employees to give their best. Some practices of incent:
Although not an easy task, I believe that entrepreneurs, leaders and executives should pay much more attention to this topic. Ignoring it may already be costing dearly or it may cost a lot more in the future. The subject not only gives a good reflection, but also a lot of courage and action.
Note: The five disciplines and practices for employee engagement cited in this article are authored by Temkim Group. To access the original content, just use this link.
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Translation/Tradução: Yan Mendes