What customer service principles have to do with HR

by 04 Jul 2014
Imagine if you could create a work environment where employees not only wanted to stay, but refused to leave.

At some point or another we have, or will encounter an employee that we identify as someone who is not an engaged employee.  In many cases, the easy thing to do is to write them off, and let them do their job until they leave.  Another choice is for leadership to encourage them to leave through lackluster interactions with the employee.  Alternatively, leadership can work to engage them and the rest of their workforce by delivering an exceptionally positive experience for them.  This will result in a higher level of employee engagement in the organization.

To address the employee engagement issue, I suggest changing the way we think about employees.  We need to start looking at employees in the same way we look at customers.  Both are essential for operations, and both impact the bottom line.  There is a focus on customer service, but it is important to begin focusing on employee service.  To do this managers and leadership will need to implement the principles of customer service in their interactions with employees.  I feel that a basic, yet effective customer service model that can be applied to employee service is the L.A.S.T. (Listen, Ask, Solve, Thank) model.

For the next 90 days, I challenge you to start using your knowledge of customer service, and start applying these principles to your interactions with your employees. 

Begin this challenge with an intentional service approach toward employees demonstrating the “how can I help you?” attitude. 
  • Be willing to genuinely listen to your employees. Having this willing attitude to listen will make employees feel comfortable approaching you.
  • Ask questions to get an understanding of how they are doing, what they are working on, and plans for the day instead of telling them what needs to be done.  Chances are, they already know what needs to be done, so give them a chance to tell you.  Ask questions like “what are your goals today?”, or “What is going well on your project?” 
  • Through your interactions with employees, it is important to demonstrate a value for them by genuinely listening to their concerns, and solicit their ideas for solutions to those concerns.  Facilitate their process of solving their own problems.  This is a great opportunity to develop the decision making skills of your employee, provide employee empowerment, and a way for you to better understand that employee.
  • Thank them for their contribution with specific details, and be genuine.  In this process you can reinforce the desired behaviors that your employees are demonstrating.
The point of this challenge is to develop trust and build the relationships within your team.  It is an opportunity to trust your team more and increase their trust in you, while identifying their strengths and opportunities for development.  There may be obstacles along the way, but keep at it.  No matter how much you think they like you right now, they may like you even more after this challenge. 

For those of you who are brave enough to step outside of the regular daily routine and are willing to try this challenge, I encourage you to share your successes in employee service.  After completing the challenge, I encourage you to continue providing great employee service to your employees, and watch their satisfaction with you as a leader and satisfaction with your company rise.  You might just see them coming back each shift with smiles on their faces, and passing that great service forward to your customers.

Benjamin Patient: https://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=190433129&trk=spm_pic

Blog post taken from HRM America.