It’s hot in the office today. The a/c is blowing, but the stress is high, more employees are stepping outside during their breaks to make personal phone calls. Not the kind that include dad telling his daughter that there are frozen dinners in the fridge, or that she can’t wait to see him later, but the kind that include, “Yes sir, I’ll be in to take care of that today, or I’ll fax that paper work right over to you.” It seems like everyone is about business. Financial stress in the summer time is no fun, especially with the Gulf Coast’s record breaking temperatures. So, how do you help your employees cope? How do you keep them focused on the goals? Focused on satisfying your customers?
Now is the time to pump up the fun! Contests, performance based or otherwise, are awesome ways to restore employee confidence, reinforce team spirit and cooperation, and remind your employees that everyone is human. We all are feeling the crunch and we will persevere.
I sat in the break room the other day and listened to the conversation about a “Guac-Off” (guacamole contest) we’d had weeks earlier. Instead talking about the latest challenges, the conversation was positive. As I stepped out into the call center area, I noticed people were LOUD. I heard laughter, I sensed smiling, and most importantly I heard working! Everyone was busy, whether helping each other solve a problem, or helping a customer over the phone. Everyone was busy doing their assigned tasks and making it happen. All this from a “Guac-Off” you ask? Of course not entirely. It’s from our employees’ efforts to make their workplace better. To make it happy. To bring back it’s spirit. It comes from the renewed passion to make every service to our customers, “Our Pleasure.”
So, where do you begin? Don’t think grand. Think of simple ways to recognize accomplishments of employees. What are their goals? Do employees have a way of reporting their successes and challenges to you? Reward the employee that comes up with the best solution for a common workplace challenge, a difficult sale, or an outstanding display of customer service. Don’t worry; little to no money is necessary. Allow a person to have casual dress on a normal dress day. Think of food contests, themed dress days/contests, or dessert potlucks. Have you had your employee appreciation celebration yet? Order pizza or sandwiches for the office. Most importantly, be involved. Don’t delegate this task. Get “in there” with your team and be active. Show them you mean business and they will give what you ask of them. Show them you care and they will give you their best.
Lisa Bogany is a Senior Business Consultant for Workforce Solutions in the Houston metropolitan area. She has over five years of experience in workforce development, primarily working with employers, and over 10 years experience in small business entrepreneurship.