Millennials and Motivation at Work

Millennials and Motivation at Work

There’s a generation in the workforce that will soon play a very important role in leading your organization into the future.  In fact, Forbes reported that by 2030, Millennials will comprise 75% of the workforce. 

There has been a slew of articles lately about millennials ‘killing off’ various industries.  This attests to their immense buying power and control in the markets.  And, it is another reason why it is very important for you to treat your millennial employees well – because what is being felt on the inside of your organization can be felt on the outside by your customers.

All generations of talent want to feel valued in the workplace.  Millennials have reported several things that help to motivate and engage them in the workplace and turn them into loyal employees (and customers).

Here are some of things millennials look for in an organization to keep them motivated and engaged:

Flexibility.  This comes at the top of the list for many millennials. Many would even forgo a pay increase or bonus in lieu of more remote work, flexible hours, vacation time and a better work life balance.

Mentorship.  Millennials want to receive feedback and one on one coaching with their managers.  They want to have a good relationship with their direct supervisor and learn from them so they can move up in the organization.

Autonomy. Along with flexibility, millennials want to have some autonomy and say in how they execute their role. They don’t want a supervisor who micromanages them.  Some examples of ways they can get autonomy include, working remotely or flexibility, and having authority over making certain decisions within their scope of practice.

Transparency. Millennials want to know what is going on in the business and how they can contribute to the growth. They want you to be clear about what your business goals and objectives are and to communicate that with them.

Impact.  Millennials want to feel like they are contributing to the betterment of the organization.  This could be with a special project, by supporting their colleagues, or by serving their customers on the front line.  Whatever way they serve your organization, they want to know how their contribution is making an impact in order to feel valuable.

Skills. Millennials are a generation that are very dedicated to continuing their education and learning new skills that make them more marketable.  They want to know that you are investing in their future by providing them will skills and development that will make them more marketable and allow them to grow in the organization.

Recognition & rewards.  Millennials (and other generations of talent) want to feel like their great work is being acknowledged. Recognition and rewards can come in many forms including non-monetary recognition such as praise and thanks, or monetary rewards and recognition such as bonuses, time off, gift cards, and total recognition points that can be redeemed for merchandise, travel and many other rewards.

For more information on how to support millennials at work read What Millennials Want in the Workplace.

5 Effective Ways to Motivate and Engage Your Remote Employees

5 Effective Ways to Motivate and Engage Your Remote Employees

With the rise of virtual and remote workers, organizations are paying more and more attention to how they can utilize this great opportunity to offer their employees more flexibility.  However, just as important is keeping those same employees motivated and engaged as if they were in the office daily having one on one face time with their colleagues and managers.

As a remote worker myself, I can attest to the fact that the tips below work to keep me motivated and engaged during my workday.  I should mention though that not everyone is cut out for remote or virtual work.

When I tell people I work from home, I’ve had countless people tell me “Oh, I couldn’t do that.”  I think it’s true that some people are just not cut out for remote work.  You do have to be self-motivated and disciplined enough to cut out the distractions.  Additionally, it’s important to make sure you allow yourself the time to step away from work to take short breaks — perhaps get outside for a walk – as it will help you to reinvigorate your energy for the rest of your workday.  If you just plop down in front of your computer screen for 8+ hours straight you’re going to drain yourself both mentally and physically.

Here are some of the top ways that you can motivate and engage your remote and virtual workers:

1. Establish Your Company Culture.

Be sure to communicate your expectations and company culture up front with your remote workers.  You want to make sure that they’re a good fit for your organization and that they will be committed and competent to perform their duties.  If you find that an employee isn’t cut out for remote work, give them opportunities to connect in person with their colleagues and leaders.  For example, when I first started at GES I would go into the office so I could get to know who I was working with.  It was important to establish those in person connections and get to know a little bit more about the company and culture before I began working remotely.

 

2. Keep in Touch Often.

It is so important to communicate often with your remote workers.  Establish a meeting frequency that is best for your team and be sure to touch base on activities, deadlines and updates that they might require in order to perform their job best.  Keep in touch daily via email and be sure to communicate very clearly and efficiently what your expectations are for work completion.  Establish deadlines together and come up with an action plan on how they will execute their duties.

 

3. Opportunities to Grow.

Make sure to offer your remote employees the opportunity to learn and grow within your organization.  If they stay sedentary for too long and aren’t developing new skills, they are likely to find somewhere else where they will.  This can include formal learning opportunities such as eLearning, one on one training and coaching or work related courses/certifications that will teach them new skills.  You can also send them to industry conferences where they will have the opportunity to keep their finger on the pulse of the industry and bring back relevant opportunities to implement in your workplace.

 

4. Give Them Challenging Projects.

Keep your employees motivated by giving them new and challenging projects.  It will give them the opportunity to learn new things, and exercise their problem-solving skills in a new way.  This will also help them to develop a new set of skills that they may be able to transfer into other parts of their role in your organization.

 

5. Recognize their Achievements.

It is so important for you to recognize and reward your remote workers for their great work!  Recognition can take on many forms such as non-monetary recognition such as a verbal thank you or acknowledgement, or a peer to peer recognition note, etc.  You can also recognize them with monetary rewards such as points to redeem in your total reward program, monetary bonuses or paid time off.  It is important to recognize your remote workers in a personalized way that is unique to how they want to be recognized.  For example, some employees would prefer to have extra vacation time over a bonus, or vice versa.  Get to know your employees so you can personalize their recognition experience.

 

To learn more about what your employees want to keep them motivated and engaged check out the Top Company Perks to Consider for Your Talent.

If Your Employees Aren’t Engaged You’re Losing Profits!

If Your Employees Aren’t Engaged You’re Losing Profits!

There are many reasons you should engage your employees, besides just money. But did you know that if you’re not engaging and recognizing your employees you could be leaving hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars on the table!

By engaging your employees, not only will you be improving your internal processes, but you will create a better experience for your customers.

Internal Loss from Lack of Engagement

Lack of engagement can lead to many pitfalls in your internal service channel. Some of them include:

  • Lower Productivity
  • Higher Turnover
  • Effect on Recruitment
  • Lower Energy/Motivation
  • Higher Stress Levels
  • Implications for Safety/Wellness

Why is Employee Engagement Important for your Bottom Line?

As an organization, if you focus on engaging your employees and removing obstacles that get in the way of internal service cooperation, it will translate into better experiences for your customers. This will create customers that stay longer, buy more and positively refer others and that means more profit for your organization!

When you have loyal customers you have a built in base of reliable continuous profit. This can continue to grow if you exceed your customer’s expectations and provide them with personalized service. When you provide your customers with value and exceptional service they will continue to be loyal to your organization. Value for your customers is created by having competent, committed, hospitable and authentic employees that can provide fast, friendly, hassle-free service. Therefore, your employees’ engagement and motivation will result in high-quality service for your customers.

The Numbers

According to a recent report by OfficeVibe, “disengaged employees cost organizations between $450 and $550 billion annually” (OfficeVibe, 2017). In their roundup of employee engagement stats, they make a very compelling case for the profitability of engaging your employees (see below).

  • Highly engaged business units result in 21% greater profitability.
  • Highly engaged business units realize a 41% reduction in absenteeism and a 17% increase in productivity.
  • Highly engaged business units achieve a 10% increase in customer ratings and a 20% increase in sales.
  • Companies with engaged employees, outperform those without by 202%.
  • Customer retention rates are 18% higher on average when employees are highly engaged.

Discussion

What improvements have you seen in your organization from having an engagement and recognition program?
Do you feel your engaged employees have improved your customer experience?

If you’re ready to get started engaging your employees to create more profit, read more about how to Focus on Engaged Employees for Better Customer Outcomes.

The Importance of Service Recovery: How to NOT Lose a Loyal Customer

The Importance of Service Recovery: How to NOT Lose a Loyal Customer

In order to have your customer’s loyalty, to ensure they stay longer, buy more and tell others, you have to be responsible for their entire experience, not just the things directly in your control. That is why if you are a leader, it is so important to focus on your internal service cooperation in order to improve your customer experience. Read more about why If Your Internal Service Sucks, Your External Service is Doomed.

It is critically important for you and your organization to look for ways to own and manage the entire customer experience or you could be in jeopardy of losing your loyal customer at any touch point. Yes, this means even for things you are not responsible for.

“Service recovery means that you have an opportunity to respond and work to resolve the problem at hand to ensure the customer expectations are met.” – Peter Psichogios

Here are a few ways that will help to keep your customers as net promoters (and not turn them into net detractors):

Put their problem in context. Context involves using your diagnostic skills. The other element of context is knowing your customer. As a leader, this means giving your team autonomy to use judgement in the service recovery process.

Never be rude. There is never a reason to be rude, disrespectful or condescending to a guest. Safety, security, common respect and politeness are not mutually exclusive. Rude people leave a long, lasting impression. Always show your customer respect. Many people have difficult jobs, many people have to deal with difficult situations.

Receive feedback as a gift. Don’t argue with a customer who is giving you feedback; use it to improve. Continuously. Regardless of what type of complaint, it is critically important to first listen, never argue and then apologize.

Focus on recovery. If you get it wrong the first time, you’d better get it exceptionally right the second time. Not a lot of people complain, because typically it is such a hassle. But, when someone gives you an opportunity to recover, you’d better do it exceptionally well. Recovery means listening. Recovery means being empathetic.

Listen, listen, listen. Upset customers need to vent, so let them. When you are in service recovery, expect to have a frustrated customer who may be emotional.

If you are in customer service and you are dealing with an angry customer, they may yell at you and they may even swear at you. It is your job to listen and not be defensive so that you can understand the real issue that your customer has. And ideally, solve it!

An apology, listening and respect go a long way. In order to thrive in service recovery you must a) acknowledge b) communicate c) apologize and d) answer your customer.

Remember, each and every person inside your business impacts the customer experience, their loyalty and yes, your customer’s peace of mind. If you let somebody inside of your four walls, regardless of what department they are in, they’d better be focused on enhancing the customer experience. Create exceptional experiences for your customers at every touch point.

How To Engage Yourself (When your Workplace Sucks at Engagement)

How To Engage Yourself (When your Workplace Sucks at Engagement)

Are you in an organization that doesn’t really value employee engagement? Is there a lot of expectations put on you from senior leadership, but no acknowledgements or rewards for your exceptional performance?

Here are some tips and tricks to keep yourself engaged. And who knows, maybe your positive attitude and initiative will rub off on senior leadership and before you know it, you’ll have a formal program in place!

Start with a routine. When you’re unengaged it’s easy to be bored, and lose focus. But if you have a routine you can rely on, something you have made a habit, it’s much easier to just dive into the tasks at hand without having to use up too much brain power and effort to get yourself there.

Take breaks. Especially if you work in a physically demanding job or a sit-down office environment, it is important for you to take breaks so that you don’t burn yourself out. A quick 15-minute walk around the block or stepping out at lunch can really reinvigorate your body and mind for the rest of the day.

Ask for challenging projects. If your leaders are not engaging you and offering you opportunities to grow, create them for yourself! Taking on a new client? Ask to be part of the implementation or project team so you will learn something new. Find areas to improve the business? Prepare a mini report to discuss with your leaders. Always continue to grow and find new and better ways to do your work.

Step outside your silo. This is another way that you can learn and grow in your organization. Ask to shadow people in other departments so you get to know all areas of the organization. It will help you better understand the flow of work and how it can be improved internally and externally. If this is not a possibility for you, why not eat your lunch with someone from a different department where you can have casual conversation about what is and is not working and discuss ways you could improve it. Then bring it up at your next team meeting!

Be friendly, fun and hospitable. When you’re un-engaged, I know the last thing you want to be is friendly, fun and hospitable. However, these three qualities are critical for you to practice, even when you don’t ‘feel’ like it. I promise if you act friendly, fun and hospitable towards every person you interact with both inside and outside of our organization, it will improve your interactions drastically. You will feel happier from having a positive point of view, people will open up to you, and you will become an invaluable resource.

Celebrate your achievements. If you’re not being rewarded and recognized by your leaders and organization, make sure you acknowledge and recognize your own success and those of your peers. Complete a big and challenging project? Pop a bottle of champagne at dinner! Talk to your colleagues about their success, exchange stories and recognize and acknowledge each other. Peer to peer recognition is an incredible driver of engagement! It could be as simple as sending them a personalized thank you or recognizing them at a team meeting. And perhaps if this becomes a habit of those around you, leadership will eventually catch on to what’s working.

Want to drop the hint to your senior leadership or give them some engagement and recognition options?  Click here to learn more about our programs, plus you can book a complimentary demonstration of our custom solutions.

When it comes to Growth, the Coach can’t want it more than the Player

When it comes to Growth, the Coach can’t want it more than the Player

You know the old adage, you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink?  Well the same goes for your employees and their growth and development.

As a senior leader, it is your job to provide opportunities for your employees to learn and grow, and to make their learning accessible, actionable and accountable.  However, if your employee is not engaged by your company and culture, then you can’t force them to learn and grow. Read more about how to engage your employees with Servant Leadership.

Here are a couple things you can ask yourself and examine to have better engagement in your organization:

  1. Did it start with your hiring practices?  I think today, more than ever, it is critical to hire employees for their interpersonal skills over their technical ones.  As long as they have basic abilities, many technical skills can be trained.  However, many interpersonal skills such as friendliness, fun, and authenticity cannot be trained, they are often ingrained in the person from an early age and they’ve either got it or they don’t.  Perhaps this person is just not a good cultural fit for your organization.
  2. Are they not engaged by your organization’s culture? This is where you can step in and re-examine your culture and how you can enhance it to make a better overall experience for your employees.  This might include offering better benefits, examining outdated policies and procedures (e.g. strict dress codes, flex time, and vacation policies) and whether they feel recognized and valued in your organization.
  3. Are you recognizing and rewarding them for their exceptional performance? If your employees were consistently providing exceptional performance but you did not recognize them for it, why would they even try to grow and give you their discretionary energy and motivation.  You can enhance this experience for your employees with both formal and informal rewards and recognition.  The best organizations recognize their employees at every touch point.  Non-monetary recognition is also a big motivator for employees, and can include acknowledging an employee at a team meeting in front of their peers, sending them a personalized thank you email or sending them a formal award certificate for going above and beyond their duties.  You can also recognize them with monetary rewards such as spot cards, bonuses, incentives, and points in their employee performance portal that they can redeem for merchandise and gift cards.

There is a critical overlap between employee engagement and learning development.  When your talent are engaged with recognition and enabled with skills and competencies from learning, they will be able to provide better service internally with their colleagues and externally with your customers, which will result in customers (and employees) who stay longer, buy more and positively refer others. Watch this quick video below for more information on the Intersection of Employee Engagement and Learning.

Why our Society Sucks at Engagement

Why our Society Sucks at Engagement

Companies are continuously offering surface level forms of employee engagement to attract and motivate their employees.  The problem is, that their effort is half assed.   Organizations feel the obligation to do something for their employees, but their intentions are not heartfelt.

In order to not suck at engagement your intentions must align with your actions. Leaders who have the mentality of service and being a servant to their employees are the ones who will often find the most success with employee engagement (and also profitability).  Read more about the benefits of Servant Leadership here.

When it comes to engagement, intention is so important.  Your senior leaders must have good intentions and care about their employees in order to have engagement that is effective and creates significant change.  They must care about the betterment of their employees and creating an environment that they can continuously learn and grow in. Plus when you invest in your employee’s development with learning and growth opportunities this shows them that your care about their future at the company and are willing to invest in their future.

Part of this positive engagement isn’t using and abusing employees and pushing them to the brink of exhaustion. It’s checking in and making sure that your employees have a good work/life balance and manageable workload. 

Unfortunately many organizations and our society in general often focuses on measuring success by putting in long hours, working to the bone and making tons of profit.  But I can assure you that if profits are what you’re after, a lack of positive intention and engagement in your organization will tank your potential profits.

When you have good intentions with your engagement program it creates a trickle down effect.  The senior leaders role is to motivate and support their talent, their engaged employees will be happier, more productive and provide better service internally with colleagues and externally with customers, and your customers will stay longer, buy more and positively refer others based on their exceptional experiences with your organization.  Makes sense, right?

For more information about how to create this kind of meaningful engagement in your organization, get in touch for a complimentary consultation.

Take your Engagement Program from Meh to Hell Yah!

Take your Engagement Program from Meh to Hell Yah!

Are your employees bored, unengaged and unmotivated? Are you an HR leader tasked with the important goal of engaging your employees? It’s a tricky task to try and engage your employees in meaningful ways that will unlock their discretionary energy and motivation.

A large majority of organizations that are providing employee engagement incentives to their employees are not getting a return on their investment. Part of the reason is that employee engagement has become too focused on generating ‘buzz’ and using superficial ways of engaging employees like stocking the company fridge or having a fuseball table in the break room. Now it’s not to say that these types of engagement strategy can’t work, but in addition to these fun perks it is critical that you provide your employees with deeper, meaningful forms of engagement that will enable your employees to grow and do the right thing, at the right time, for the right reasons with their colleagues and customers. For more info on how to engage your employees more meaningfully, watch this quick video on The Importance of Employee Engagement in Your Organization.

Now the key to taking your employee engagement program from meh to hell yah, is by uniquely personalizing the incentive and recognition process to each individual employee and giving them choice. Those participating in the recognition program must be motivated by the incentives.

Beyond being personalized and individualized, incentives and recognition need to be tied directly to superior performance, learning and development, and key customer and operational metrics.

An effective way to take your recognition program from meh to hell yah is to use situation recognition. Situational recognition means diagnosing each individual and each desired outcome.

If you provide the same recognition for everyone in your organization, I guarantee you that your program will be ineffective and disappointing. When you focus on situational recognition, you are focusing on the individual’s ability, competence, willingness and commitment to create positive results.

Additionally, situational recognition means getting to know the person beyond the job they do. And when you get to know people and care about them beyond the job, they will feel more connected to you and your organization, and thus be more motivated to give you their discretionary energy.

Our global research has shown that employees want to feel supported by their direct supervisor and be involved in business decisions. When it comes to providing recognition, it is essential to know individual personality types and preferences, as recognition should be a one size fits one mentality.

For more information on how to create a personalized recognition program for your employees, get in touch for a 15-minute demonstration of GES’s recognition solutions.

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