Stop Scamming Your Staff With an Employee of the Month Award

...it's really nothing more than a show of favoritism, right?

One of today’s typical “employee motivational ploys” is the employee of the month award. What a scam this is – at least it is for most of the business world! Here’s why…

Stop Scamming Your Staff With an Employee of the Month Award

We treat our employees like sheep; herd them in, give them slop to eat and expect the sweat off their brow (or their wool in this case) then we toss them aside when they’re no longer needed.

Add to this substandard working conditions, low wages, out-of-touch management and unrealistic expectations and we wonder why morale is at an all-time low.

Years ago someone had the bright idea to single out an employee each month in recognition of their stellar performance and bestow an award labeled the “Employee of the Month”. Sounds great, I applaud this.

But as time passed and “political correctness” reared its ugly head, the meaning behind this effort has become watered-down to say the least.

Employee of the Month SpongeBob 2In the truest sense of the word, whoever is the best employee for a specific month should win, regardless if he/she has already won the award last month or 2-3 months in a row. If the award is for performance and if the same person is repeatedly the best, he should be awarded each month – just like SpongeBob Squarepants!

But this doesn’t happen. We “must” (more…)

These 6 Employee Engagement Ideas Will Make You Wonder Why You Took So Long To Start

…what are the indicators that a team or group is NOT engaged?

Poor employee morale, theft of product, loss of revenue, dissatisfied customers, lower production, accidents/injuries, and negative messages about the company on social media…does this sound like your company?

Employee Engagement Ideas

In a recent study by Dale Carnegie Training and MSW they found that…

  • $11 Billion is lost annually due to employee turnover
  • 71% of employees are not fully engaged
  • 26% of employees are actively disengaged

Pretty startling statistics, right?

What causes an employee to disengage?

Based on my experience, these are the most frequent reasons I have seen that lead to employee disengagement: (more…)

Improve Management Communication With These 5 Easy Steps

Being a manager is easy; so says many hourly employees. “They get to sit in their offices and boss us around”. “They get the big bucks for doing nothing”. “What does he know about my job?” Seems like you need to improve your management communication skills.

Improve Management Communication

I disagree with these statements except the last one. Many in management believe they know better than the “line” employees that actually do the job each day. Just because one has risen to the ranks of management doesn’t mean they are competent in each discipline that make up their areas of responsibility.

So how does a one effectively manage a team of employees when he/she doesn’t fully understand the nuances of each position? Is it more than just delegation of tasks or a complete strategy to improve overall communication? I say it’s the latter.

Here are 5 strategies managers should use to enhance and improve their communication skills. (more…)

16 Ways to Stop the Lawrence O’Donnell Effect

By now most of us have seen the viral video of MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell become totally unhinged because of some studio noise and talking in his ear piece while hosting his TV show live on air. As soon as his “spot” was over and the camera shifted to another video clip or commercial O’Donnell became increasingly angry to the point of lunacy and berated his staff for their failure to fix the issue. It’s called the Lawrence O’Donnell Effect.

Stop the Lawrence O’Donnell Effect

You can view his complete meltdown on YouTube but be aware, his language is profane and not suitable for many people.

Now, this post is not to compound Mr. O’Donnell’s troubles but I do have one question for him:

How can he, or anyone else, expect his/her employees to enjoy working for someone who cannot control his emotions and scolds his staff in the manner he did?

What about employee morale? What about creating a positive work environment? What about treating your employees fairly and professionally? I guess O’Donnell never got that memo…

Here Are 16 Sure-Fire Ways to Create a Work Environment Where Employees Are Happy And Willingly Produce The Results Any Company Desires

1.    Provide Your Employees The Tools To Do Their Job

Seems so simple but so many fail on this basic premise.

2.    Give Them The Day Off

Remember that your employees need family time, time off to tend to personal needs and may not wish to work day and night as management may. Priorities vary greatly from person to person.

3.    Have Realistic Employee Expectations

Not all are driven or have a burning desire to climb the corporate ladder or to be a leader. Provide (more…)

10 Keys to a Better Sales & Marketing Team

The best companies don’t hire sales employees and put them at a desk to “sell”.  The new “sales department” employees must first understand the overall company mission and processes by which the mission is achieved.

Keys to a Better Sales & Marketing Team

I believe that… “You can’t sell what you don’t know”. Click To Tweet

The best sales people are those that have actually done the job and come from the rank and file employees that make, service or deliver the products.  They are the backbone of any company and the ones to deliver the dream presented by the sales team.

10 Keys to a Better Sales & Marketing Team

1. Understand Your Goals

It is much easier to promote/market/sell your business and its products and services when there is a clear understanding of what you can actually provide and how your product can benefit the customer.

2. Feedback From Your Customers

Proper feedback will help determine what they desire and provide a measure of satisfaction and adherence to product specifications, capabilities and performance.

3. Marketing is Like the Bait on the Fisherman’s Hook.

That’s only the advertisement and the beginning of the journey.  The good fisherman is the customer service/support team and will quickly know if the marketing (bait) is successful. But he still must “sink the hook” and make the sale later.

4. Pre-Qualify

How do you expect to sell “the right” product or service to (more…)

Here’s The Top Reason Training Your Employees Doesn’t Work

…plus 6.5 reasons to NOT train your staff

Ah, the ever-present argument about the proper training of your employees…well, you’ll get no argument from me. Training is the key to a well-motivated, knowledgeable and efficient staff. But is THAT all what’s needed, just training?

Training Your Employees

Here are some benefits of training:

  • Training bolsters employee confidence which is then noticed by the customers = perceived better service = more $$$
  • Training can identify areas where revenue is “left on the table” and not captured.
  • A well trained staff allows management to focus on other aspects of the business and not micromanage the staff

Throughout my years in the hospitality industry I’ve sat through more “service culture” and customer service training sessions than I care to remember.

We discussed how to create a memorable experience for the customer (guest), how to empathize, how to diffuse an irate customer and when to offer compensation for poor service. We spoke about the customer’s expectations and how to match and exceed them. Another well-worn topic is employee morale and how important it is and its direct correlation to the service provided. All worthwhile topics.

But, we rarely spoke about the “elephant” in the room…

All the training in the world won’t work if the underlying issues are not resolved & removed. Click To Tweet

I once had a boss tell me, “you need to do more training, then they’ll get better. We’ll just fire those that don’t improve, it’s simple!” Great attitude boss…wonder why service is poor! (more…)

You Need to Use These 9 Business Building Hacks Today

Location, location, location. Is that all you need for a successful business? I doubt it. You need to use these 9 business building hacks today. Maybe there’s more to it than just location…

Business Building Hacks

Understand Who is The Most Important

The needs of the customer must always come before your own. They are the foundation of your business, any business. Forget the customer at your peril.

Hire For Personality First, Teach The Skills Second

In today’s “customer experience” world, you must have employees with an abundance of soft skills. You can always train for “hard skills”; specific knowledge of a software program, mechanical prowess or understanding of the law and corporate policy.

But, team building, empathy, self motivation, time management, communication skills and plain old common sense must be inherent in those you hire.

Don’t Put Short-Term Profits Ahead of a Long-Term Goal

Building a solid foundation for long term success is easier said than done but what other choice do you have? You didn’t start your business only to have it end in failure 3 years later and (more…)

If You Make These 3 Stupid Mistakes Your Business Will Hate You Tomorrow

…how the bagel store forgot their bread and butter

When you take unacceptable risk, you have to be prepared to face the consequence. – Carly Fiorina, past CEO of Hewlett Packard, presidential candidate 2016.

Your Business Will Hate You Tomorrow

Being ready isn’t enough; you have to be prepared for a promotion or any other significant change – Pat Riley, Hall of Fame basketball coach, named one of the 10 Greatest Coaches in the NBA history.

Hope is an expensive commodity. It makes better sense to be prepared. – Thucydides, 5th century Greek historian.

Why do I start this article off with these quotes? To show the importance of preparation and how it doesn’t matter what industry or place in time you are in;

Preparation is a required constant. Click To Tweet

I stopped by my local bagel store last weekend and wasn’t expecting to see there was already a line of patrons inside. They looked as hungry as I was. But something wasn’t right. The line didn’t move, there was a constant murmur from the people and the workers seemed stressed.

What’s going on?

(more…)

Your Customers Don’t Deserve To Be Treated This Way

…is THIS the best you can do?

It was the attitude I disliked the most.  Why do they feel this way?  Where did they get their lack of thoughtfulness?  Why don’t they care about the customer?  These kids have no work ethic anymore, I just don’t understand…

Customers Don't Deserve To Be Treated This Way

Those in a position to hire face it every day.  Potential employees who in years past wouldn’t receive the time of day from a hiring manager now line up and “expect” a coveted customer-facing position at your company. Do they deserve it?  What have they done to make you believe your customer would be better off with him or her assisting in the sale?  Should you give him a chance?

We will see later how important this decision will become. (more…)

11 Industry Experts Discuss “What’s More Important: Customer First or Profit First?”

Businesses across the land champion their great service and the positive experience given to their throngs of loyal customers. They tout the benefits of their product and how they tend to the specific needs, wants and desires of their customers.

Customer First or Profit First

But as time passes many forget their original stated intent and lean more toward reducing payroll, lowering operational/product costs and finally to increasing profit as their primary goal.

Recently I had the pleasure of interviewing many leaders in the business world and customer service industry.  Whether a best-selling author, keynote speaker, top sales trainer or customer service guru they were gracious enough to share their view on this one (1) question:

As an organization gets larger there is a tendency for the mindset to change from “the customer comes first” to “higher profits and lower payroll first”.  What are the causes of this change and how do you keep this from happening?

(more…)