GUEST POST from Shep Hyken
Last week I wrote an article, 4 Ways to Create Trust with Your Customers. I don’t think anyone would argue (and the stats prove it) that a customer who trusts you is more likely to do more business with you. After all, why would they want to risk doing business elsewhere?
Well, it’s the same for employees. With so many employment issues today, it’s more important than ever to get and keep good employees. One of the crucial areas that can drive employee retention is trust. Just like customers, if employees don’t trust you, they may eventually leave for a competitor. And in the world of employee retention, a competitor is any other company that offers employment opportunities.
With that in mind, here are six ways to build trust with your employees.
1. Listen to your employees. Ask them for feedback. Frontline employees often have a better opportunity to know what customers think and say about you than anyone else in the company. Listen to them. And many employees have suggestions about processes and systems that can be improved. Creating an easy way for employees to share feedback and make suggestions can be a powerful way to improve the experience—for both customers and the employees themselves.
2. Act on the feedback and insights employees share with you. If you ask your employees for their feedback and insights and do nothing with it, employees eventually resent that they took the time to offer up their ideas and suggestions. And at some point, they will see it as a futile effort and waste of time, even if what they share with you is important. Employees often provide even more valuable feedback than customers. So, even if you choose not to use their suggestions, at least acknowledge their effort, express appreciation and let them know why.
3. Make sure leadership and management are accessible. If there is a metaphorical wall between employees and leadership, employees will always feel like they are on the outside. And if they feel like outsiders, any organization that may make them feel more included and appreciated could be the next place your employee—who you thought was happy—ends up working. There are different ways to go about this. An open-door policy is not always realistic. As an alternative, consider having “office hours”—a special time each week when employees can make an appointment. The point is that it needs to be easy for employees to connect with their managers, supervisors, and leadership.
4. Get out of the office and mingle with “the people.” If the only time employees see management or leadership is when there are problems, then the sight of them will create a level of fear and tension. Years ago, I read Tom Peter’s strategy he referred to as MBWA, Management by Wandering Around. The idea is that employees would not fear the sight of management, because they become used to seeing their bosses and leaders walking around. If a manager shows up just to point out problems or criticize, employees will always have concern whenever they see a manager or leader walking anywhere near them. The goal is to achieve trust, not fear.
5. Trust employees to do the jobs you hired them to do. If you hire good people and train them well, let them do their jobs. If employees feel like they are always being watched, scrutinized for their work and not being allowed to make the decisions you hired them to make, they will feel unfulfilled and frustrated. This is “Empowerment 101.”
6. Treat employees the way you want the customer to be treated. I refer to this as The Employee Golden Rule. You can’t expect employees to behave toward customers and each other in a way that’s different—as in better—than the way they are treated by their managers and leaders. Your actions and attitude toward your employees must be congruent with how you want them to treat your customers. You can’t invite them to your office, yell at them and then them, “Now go out there and be nice to our customers.”
What’s happening on the inside of the organization is felt on the outside by customers. To create the best customer experience, you must create a similar employee experience, if not even better. While there are many components that go into creating a great culture for an organization, trust is one of the essentials. Without it, you can’t expect to get and keep your best employees.
Image Credit: Shep Hyken
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