I have posted 2 previous blogs discussing morale and what can eat away at it. However, maybe I should have started with this blog before diving into issues that can sink morale. To me and through my experiences, morale is vital to becoming and staying an effective manager.
If you looked at my profile, you will notice that many of the companies I worked at required great customer service skills. However, as a manager, I had to make sure that my staff also had excellent customer service skills. So how do you teach customer skills, you ask? Well there is no simple trick to teach these skills. Some people will claim that you are either born with great customer service skills or you are not. I find this to not be entirely true. I feel in order to provide exceptional customer service you need happy employees. I am a firm believer that happy employees equal happy customers which in turn equal higher profits. The more engaged your employees are the more willing they will be to go above and beyond to satisfy your customers. The biggest tool that most companies utilize is an employee opinion survey. This tool can break down what your strengths and weaknesses are as a manager and give you better insight on how your employees feel. Build action plans around the results. Take one or two items that you scored low on and actually map out on how you can raise that number for next year. One item that I scored low on was 2 way communication. When I asked my team what they meant, they replied that I dominated meetings and did not always give them an opportunity to speak. The simple change I made was at our morning huddle. This was when I was a Manager at a Bank. Every morning I would have a morning huddle where I would go over the previous day sale results, customer service scores, and then what the day would bring. Instead of me talking for the entire 10 minutes, I would give the floor to someone who had an excellent day. Sometimes it was a banker who had a great day selling, or it was a teller who handled a difficult customer. This little change, made a huge difference. My morning huddles became more interactive which in turn became more fun. My employees were more engaged. The tellers were trying to refer more customers to the bankers or were more apt to work with a difficult customer rather than passing them off to the customer service line. Bankers were trying to see more customers to full fill their banking needs. At that point, my overall customer service scores started to improve, sales started to improve, and low and behold the branch profits started to rise. When the results of the next employee opinion survey came out, my score in 2 way communication rose from 61% to 80%.
The employee opinion survey can be a useful tool if used properly. Don’t look at it as a negative, but rather an opportunity to improve and listen to your staff. Build and action plan that you can track for progress. Remember, an engaged and happy employee is an asset that can affect your bottom line.