Happy New Year!
As we enter 2018, many of us have our New Year’s resolutions, where we set goals to lose weight, tackle projects, get finances in order, do things differently, love more, complain less, forgive often and be a better person. I’ve always quoted to my friends, coworkers and colleagues that “it’s all about relationships” and the older I get, those words become part of what I do each and every day. Some days are more productive than others, obviously, but we spend much more time with our coworkers and customers than we do with our families and friends.
We need to ask ourselves if our relationships with our coworkers and customers look like the relationships we have with our families and friends. What is the answer? The magic formula to building healthy relationships is to treat employees like family and customers like friends, where the line between personal and professional is often blurred. When employees are treated as family, they work harder and feel emotionally tied to their employer. When customers are treated like friends, where they have connected with you on a different level, they will continue to give you their business, because they are committed.
A company that has a culture which treats employees with care and respect also has the capability to delight and amaze their customers. Great customer service begins with great employees and great employee relations, but who owns customer service? Every individual owns customer service and if employees are engaged, committed and treated fairly, they will feel a connection to the organization, serving as an anchor to “do the right thing” where customers are involved.
So what does this look like? How do we create this type of culture? It starts with leadership. Great leaders create environments where employees are empowered, confident and feel comfortable with handling customer service issues and owning those situations where the organization may have failed in some aspect. Research has shown that those organizations who have employees who feel empowered and have employee satisfaction that is as aggressive as customer satisfaction, companies place themselves well ahead of the competition.
As leaders, we must create a culture and an infrastructure that supports meaningful interactions with both our employees and our customers. Although your customers and employees play different roles in the success of your business, they both contribute to its longevity. Everyone deserves the same level of consideration and respect and money should never be the deciding factor as to whether someone is treated like a human being.
Good employee relations will affect the bottom line of your organization and having employees who want to do a good job will drive revenue and lower costs, it’s that simple.
How do we measure the difference between a good company and a great one? It’s people. And how do you get people to give their all to care for their customers? Treat them like family. Employees that are happy at their workplace have your customer’s interests in mind because they know they are a valued and cherished part of your company. Employees that are treated like family members have a feeling of belonging and contributing to something bigger than themselves, which is why building a relationship with an employee is so important. However, this relationship involves more than just being courteous and nice. It’s about identifying a human connection that deepens the sense of trust and confidence and finding a common bond.
According to Paul Lencioni, author of The Three Signs of a Miserable Job, there are positive ways to value employees and treat them as your customers. Lencioni notes that miserable jobs aren’t about the work the employee does, it’s about the misery an employee suffers, which is why it is important to value people. The book discusses change that each and every one of us can achieve by valuing people. The three areas to evaluate yourself in:
Anonymity: All human beings need to be appreciated. Do you know the people you work with? Their interests? What they do with their time? Where they are at in their lives today? Have you found some connection as to how you can relate to them?
Irrelevance: Employees need to know that their job impacts the success of the organization. They need to understand the vision beyond what they are doing and how their job directly impacts others. In addition, employees need to adopt the values of the organization and truly take them to a personal level. Those employees who are engaged and feel a personal connection to the organization’s values are key to the overall organization’s success.
Immeasurement: Do your employees know how to assess their own success? Do employees have a means for assessing success or measuring performance in a way that is relevant to what they do? What are their personal goals? Where do your employees want to see themselves in the next five years? The next 10 years?
Lencioni puts it bluntly, “No one gets out of bed in the morning to program software or assemble furniture or do whatever it is that accountants do. They get out of bed to live their lives, and their work tasks are only a part of their lives. People want to be managed as people, not as mere workers.”
As the Administrative Director for WORKcare.ready.well, I feel it is important that our employees see me as part of the team. Regardless of my title, I am still Dena Kirk. Titles and positions only describe your job responsibilities, it doesn’t necessarily change who you are as a person. Everyone deserves the same level of consideration and respect and money should never be the deciding factor as to how you treat others. I hope this article has opened your eyes in regards to how you treat your coworkers, employees and your customers and how you can find a way to build a relationship with others. Most importantly, I hope you remember that "it’s all about relationships” and in every encounter and effort with others “be a good person and do the right thing!”