Recognizing your employees is the first step towards creating engaged employees. For many companies this remains the proverbial first step on a 1000 mile journey.
A recent survey by the Gallup organization of 300,000 businesses found“75-80% of employees are achieving much less and feeling far less enthusiastic about their work than they could be. If all your employees were “fully engaged,” Gallup reported, your customers would be 70% more loyal, your turnover would drop by 70%, and your profits would jump 40%. Last, Gallup found that great employees also tend to engender “passionate” customers.” - Eric Brody, Healthy Conversations
Great employees are those employees fully engaged, intellectually and emotionally, in their roles building their brand. They are evangelists for their work, the work of their colleagues and their brand which they create together.
And what about those passionate customers engendered by these great employees? What do passionate customers do?
They tell their friends, their family, their colleagues.
What do they tell them?
Their story. Their story is composed of all the things big and little, observed and overlooked, created and delivered by those great employees, fully engaged employees, the employee evangelists.
See? The great employees story expands to include the passionate customers story, too. When that happens you have a passionate brand story to tell. And your engaged employees and passionate customers become evangelists for their story of their brand.
What do these evangelists engender?
- Lower customer churn
- Higher revenues from existing customers with up-sells and cross-sells
- Greater customer referrals that generate higher conversion rates
- Lower advertising costs
- Lower hiring costs as your employees become your recruiters
- Lower employee turnover numbers
- Lower employee training costs
- Higher cash-flows
- Sustainable businesses
And this journey starts with that first step: recognizing your employees.
Still, some may hesitate to even consider that first step. To help, I offer 52 steps organized into 4 categories. A simple action plan is included, too.
Each Tuesday for the next 52 Tuesdays I will discuss the next step in more detail. That's the date by each step.
Follow along. Or take the first step and share your experience with a comment or a guest blog post.
You can start with the first step on the list, Let Them Pick Out Their Aeron Chair. Or skip to the middle and start with Make it fun. Do you have a new hire joining your company soon? Start with the last step on this list and Make their welcome a grand welcome.
Here’s a sample action plan:
Define your reasonable aspiration or hoped-for goal. That’s the term Erika Andersen uses in her book Being Strategic.
What Metrics Best Measure Your Progress?
- How will you measure them?
- What reports will reflect them?
- Who uses these reports?
These are key decisions that will help you continue your journey by enlisting others to join you.
Consider the Net Promoter Score. It measures recommendability with a simple, 3-question survey.
Yes, I know its use with employees has not been sanctioned. But who better to ask than your employees if they would recommend ‘their’ company to their friends and colleagues?
Pace. How many steps? When? How often? And with whom? These are questions you should answer now. And answer them again as you see the results in person and in your reports. Email or call me if you want to bounce ideas or concerns.
Here are the 52 steps, organized into 4 categories. Beside each step is a date. That is the date I will publish a longer discussion about that idea, whether I used it, the results I have seen or where I found the inspiration to include it.
Provide The Tools
• Let them pick out their Aeron chair. ( May 11, 2010 )
• It’s their company. Let them organize their company party. ( May 18, 2010)
• Explain why their accomplishments matter for everyone. (May 25, 2010)
• Let them use social media. They already do. They already talk to your stakeholders: each other, customers, partners, vendors and investors. (June 8, 2010)
• Let them organize the interview process…and be there to help. (June 15, 2010)
• Ask them: what are the right tools to do the right things, right. (June 22, 2010)
• Provide Better Tools than Your Competitors Provide Their Employees. (June 29, 2010)
• Be their teacher. (July 6, 2010)
• Be their student. (July 13, 2010)
• Install a dual-monitor. (July 20, 2010)
• Simplify, simplify…simplify the day. (August 3, 2010)
Be Their Champion
• Reward the disruptors: those who ask questions (August 10, 2010)
• Don’t let anyone waste their time. (August 17, 2010)
• Hold them accountable. (August 24, 2010)
• Protect them from abuse by all stakeholders: each other, customers, vendors, partners, shareholders, management. (August 31, 2010)
• Tell their boss how awesome they are, in front of them. (September 7, 2010)
• Be their friend, later. First, be their friendly leader/snowplow/roadpaver/resourcehunter/champion. (September 14, 2010)
• Make meetings meaningful…for them. (September 21, 2010)
• Be their Ronald Reagan: help them tear down those walls. (September 28, 2010)
• Know their dreams; know why their dreams matter to them. (October 5, 2010)
• Invest in their health. (October 12, 2010)
• Share your failures. It sets them at ease, shows your human, lets them know failures are ok. (October 19, 2010)
• Recognize the Gate-Keepers, the Routine-Makers. (October 26, 2010)
• Make it fun. (November 2, 2010)
Prove You Care
• Forgive them. (November 9, 2010)
• Use their first name. (November 16, 2010)
• Support their charities. (November 23, 2010)
• Stop by and say “hi”. (November 30, 2010)
• Give them the time off they need for family crisis. (December 7, 2010)
• Be able to explain why that (their work, task, accomplishments, tools, colleagues) is important for them. ( December 14, 2010)
• Celebrate their birthdays in the way they want to celebrate it. (December 21, 2010)
• Close your lap/desktop, turn off your cellphone, put down your pen…and listen. (December 28, 2010)
• Share your failures. (January 4, 2011)
• Call them before their first day at work. Let them know how excited you are they are joining. (January 11, 2011)
• Implement a No Face-Time Policy (January 18, 2011)
• Share with them a customer’s praise for them: word-for-word. (January 25, 2010)
Let Them Sparkle
• Greet them every day. (February 8, 2011)
• Offer them the most convenient parking spots. (February 15, 2011)
• Reviews should be to admire their carats, their color, their clarity…not the flaws. (February 22, 2011)
• Create a company snitch program: Recognize your unsung heroes. (March 1, 2011)
• Recognize the unsung, unseen, unheard heroes of the “night shift.” (March 8, 2011)
• Know the answer to this question: What’s their future with the company and why does it matter to them? (March 15, 2011)
• Know the answer to this question: what would change if that person left? (March 22, 2011)
• Treat them as you do your biggest customers. They are. (March 29, 2011)
• Treat them like your biggest investor: they are. (April 5, 2011)
• Find a success to celebrate together daily. (April 12, 2011)
• Read customer testimonials at company meetings. (April 19, 2011)
• Welcome the new hire with a grand reception. (April 26, 2011)
• Find your Net Promoters (May 3, 2011)
DISCLAIMER: I do not offer this as THE definitive list of possible first steps, categories or even the plan as simple as it is. Their order contains flaws I’ll discover soon, perhaps. Many are steps I have taken with success. Others I wish I had known were right in front of me.
It’s a journey. This is the first step. Maybe sharing it here with you will inspire more to take this first step, too.