I believe there are three disciplines that must be present in defining and delivering in today’s workplace. Without them, customers will go elsewhere – and so will our employees. Each must be engrained into the fabric of what we provide, and if done right, these can positively impact our customers and employees.
One global organization boasted this leadership lingo for their employees to embrace: 8 competencies, 7 ways to succeed, 3 values, 3 brand terms, 1 mission, 1 purpose, 1 tagline. Following each of these lists came a full definition. This is the opposite of simple. Very few employees could restate much of it at all, let alone live by it.
Bottom line: Although the words existed (too many), the company leaders didn’t practice what they preached. And if the leaders don’t, neither will the employees. After all, we tend to follow the example of our leaders, don’t we?
Small things matter: This organization stated on their ‘careers’ page that people came first, yet when company descriptions like website layout were constructed, the people-centric items were listed last. Here’s the truth for that organization – revenue was the first priority; growth was second. And employees knew it.
The results: ‘Recommend this company to a friend’ hovers between 30-40% and the CEO approval rating remains in the teens. The TEENS! Additionally, the employees were not clear on the company direction, the ever-changing priorities, or their own career path.
What to do: Create or redefine a short set of simple values – no more than six. Healthy companies define values uniquely within their organization and ensure they are an important part of everyday life. Here’s how it looks - value stories are shared, peers remind each other, leaders speak to them, performance is measured by them, and the company hires and retains employees through examples and programs led by the values.
Who does Simply well:
When our car tire goes flat, we want it fixed now. In most cases we NEED it fixed now. In today’s world, we expect things quickly – our lunch, our favorite show, our packaged goods, feedback. As I sit writing this message to you, I have no home internet. It’s been down now for 24-hours. We’ve been on the phone with the provider three times and were supposed to get a call back last night, and again today. So far, nothing.
Bottom line: There are some things that MUST be immediate, or they automatically fail. Imagine these services showing up late – fire department, wedding dress, unemployment check, schoolteacher, surgeon, murder hornet exterminator, internet service.
Small things matter: My brother and I worked for a large organization early in our careers – we were both in different divisions of customer service. He told me a story about how his group was incentivized to reduce call time on the customer service line. So, the employees who hung up quicker were rewarded. Problem – many of the customer’s issues were not resolved, so they called back unhappy. Ultimately, it took longer to resolve their issue.
The results: Reduced call times = reduced costs + unhappy customers.
What to do: Invest time and money on reducing time for customers – and your employees. Provide incentives for good ideas. Rapid resolution of delivery includes software updates, shipping, and customer service. Here’s how to put it into perspective - imagine a customer’s time is just as valuable as the service or product we provide.
Who does Immediately well:
One size fits all. Ever buy a ball cap that says this? Usually they come with a slide adjuster on the back. Why? Because one size does NOT fit all. If fact, we have millions of caps to choose from, because a ballcap is one object that reflects our personality. Envision a world with all dark blue ballcaps. Although ‘blue’ is the favorite color of most people, this scenario would dilute what many of us crave – our uniqueness.
Bottom line: An organization best step up to care for the needs, expectations, and unique personal preferences of both their customers and their employees – or some other company will.
Small things matter: Our world has been hurled into a situation where most of us have been re-examining all aspects of our lives. Bubbling to the surface and graduating into something massive is the importance of lifestyle.
The results: There’s a movement for organizations to shift from an office setting into work that is more remote, flexible, and location independent.
What to do: Ask! Find out what employees prefer. Examine what future hires will want and expect. Personalize with a choice menu of sorts, especially in the areas of work location, benefits, meetings, travel, time-off, attire, and pay. Now, let’s take this same philosophy to our customer base.
Who does Personally well:
Visit me and say hello!
"freedom at work"