As an employer, you recruit, hire, and train staff to deliver your service to customers. But if most service business owners were to be really honest, many would admit their relationships with their employees are lacking. It doesn’t always feel like everyone is on the same team. The truth is, many even feel their relationships border on adversarial.
If you want your employees to step up and deliver the best service to customers, it’s time to make sure you and your employees are on the same team — that everyone is aligned and pulling in the same direction.
FIVE ALIGNMENT STRATEGIES TO BUILD YOUR TEAM
Alignment Strategy No. 1: Start Early — Don’t wait until your employees are employed before you start creating alignment. Instead, start during the recruiting process and actively recruit potential employees who already share the qualities you need in an aligned team.
Once you start talking to these prospective employees, share your vision of your company with them and get their early agreement. That way, they know before day one what everyone is trying to accomplish and it will be a strong start for them.
Alignment Strategy No. 2: Strong Culture — A key part of being on the same team is feeling like you’re on the same team. That’s why your company’s culture is so important. Culture is created either by default, as is the case for most service businesses, or by design. Design your company’s culture to be a team of strong, focused, hard-working people who always push each other to be the best.
Create a culture that is so compelling that your employees show up early and stay late — not because they have to but because they love hanging out with like-minded individuals.
Alignment Strategy No. 3: One Big Target — You’ve already shared your vision with your new employees, but a vision will only get you so far. You also need quarterly targets that are inspiring, stretching, and measurable. Create one big company target and share it with everyone. Build incentives around that target and measure performance based on that target. Make sure everyone — from your managers to your custodial staff — know how they contribute to that quarterly target. Build all quarterly performance measurements and contests around this target, and make sure you keep your team up to date on how they’re doing and encourage them to keep pushing hard.
Alignment Strategy No. 4: Daily Meetings — Before the day gets busy and overwhelming, hold a 5-minute stand-up meeting to realign everyone to the quarterly target for the day. In a small company, you should do this; in a larger company, get the managers do this. Keep that quarterly target in everyone’s mind and use this daily meeting for inspiration and alignment.
It might be tempting to use these meetings for administrative tasks but actively work to avoid that. Keep these meetings only about alignment and inspiration, and save the administrative details for later.
Alignment Strategy No. 5: Lead — Your team is not looking for a buddy; they need you to be a leader. That means you need to step up and deliver the strong, confident voice at the front of the room that everyone wants to listen to. Even if this is not your personality, and even if you like the idea of being buddies with your employees, you’ll get everyone on the same team faster if you are a dynamic and inspiring leader. This takes practice but is a powerful strategy.
Even if this type of leadership does not come naturally to you, it is possible to learn to be a strong leader who commands respect. Leadership is a skill that can be built. Find a mentor to teach you leadership and help you tap into a leadership style that works for your personality.
When you send employees out daily to serve customers, are you confident they’ll meet your expectations? If you don’t have that confidence, then it’s time to implement these strategies to make sure you and your employees are on the same team.
Publication date: 11/14/2016