Spoiler alert – it still takes a culture built around respect, consistent practice and accountability

During a time with higher unemployment rates, it might be easy to think that team members will stay with your FEC just to have a job. But falling into this trap and not focusing on your company culture puts your business at risk for losing your best team members – and your customers. Because if your team isn’t happy, no one will be. That’s why we’re bringing back this important post to remind leaders about what it takes to maintain a world-class culture.

No. 1: Care about your team members.

With all of the uncertainty 2020 has wrought, it’s become even more evident how important it is to consider the impacts of our actions on those around us. Caring about your team means that you must hone your emotional intelligence so that you are able to be the best leader you can. We have no idea what challenges our team members have been facing in their home lives that may impact their performance at work. The best leaders take the time to help their team members want to give their very best.

When thinking about coaching and managing staff, particularly the young ones, I always go back to Rita Pierson’s mantra that “kids don’t learn from people they don’t like.” Find common ground, unleash your inner empath and celebrate their uniqueness. They’ll thrive under your leadership when you show that you care, and naturally want to be more engaged in the work you do together.

No. 2: Develop clear training processes.

Proper training is a critical component of an effective onboarding program but is often conducted haphazardly. Has your facility’s new hire training ever looked like this: “Ok Michaela, you’re going to shadow Tyler for the next few days or so, and then, um, you’ll be able to go out on your own…” It’s happened to most of us.

On the job training is great, it provides context to your systems and shows real-life scenarios, but does not always ensure team members receive the same messaging. Make a list of key competencies that new team members should learn in new hire orientation, classroom learning, shadowing, or any blend of the three. If you have specific phrases you would like team members to use with guests, give them ample practice opportunities through games and activities, role-play scenarios and quizzes. Don’t let new hires onto the floor until they have demonstrated they’ve mastered the key competencies.

Training doesn’t stop after the first 30 days, either. Train, retrain, and coach team members to deliver the level of service that you wish to be known for. And, with guidelines or mandated procedures continuously changing, keeping on top of target behaviors has never been more important.

No. 3: Don’t leave it up to chance.

So many expectations for a role are left up to chance. But if you want something done right, teach staff the right way to do it. This means teaching what needs to be done, and if there’s a specific way it needs to be done and how. Don’t teach them how to smile, but assume they know how to sweep the floor. Your standards and expectations should be crystal clear.

Distribute lists of items you want to upsell, scenarios that will help them know what to offer based on what guests say, scripts to use when taking inbound calls, and what they have in their arsenal to create wow experiences, or in service recovery situations. If it feels like your team members run to you for every service issue, or guests always have to talk to you for every little thing, there’s a good chance your team members are not empowered, and even more importantly equipped, to handle those scenarios.

No. 4: Track performance.

It’s easy to become desensitized to the sights and sounds around you on a busy day. But you must inspect what you expect. If you’re trying to achieve a certain standard for how inbound calls are handled, consider recording them and spot checking weekly for targeted messages and actions. If you want guest service staff to focus on upselling, consider monthly contests for upselling certain items each month and use your cashier reports to reward winners. Or if you simply want team members to stop responding to your guests with “what?” when they don’t understand, make sure you’re actively tuned in to interactions happening throughout your facility so you’re ready for those coaching opportunities.

No. 5: Be willing to have difficult conversations.

Finally, you must be willing to have those difficult conversations and take coaching opportunities as they arise. Just like when you are trying to correct your posture, you must catch yourself slouching and adjust the behavior in the moment. Sometimes we wait until a situation with someone has become urgent and we hate the way a person breathes. Don’t let it get that far. Remember the phrase to “nip something in the bud?” Catch unproductive behaviors early before they become habits, or worse, catch on with other team members.

Team members need, and want, real time feedback and coaching about the right behaviors and actions. And of course, be sure you’re dolling out lots of praise to go with that constructive criticism. They want the feedback, and they especially want to know what they’re doing well.

It’s not difficult to get started in any one of these areas, but what separates the good from the great is the consistency applied day in and day out to ensure everyone in your facility is on the same side and working towards the same goal. Where does your team stand today?

Have other ideas for managing performance? Share them with us in the comments or on Twitter!


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