Annette Franz is a noted blogger who writes often (here) on “improving both the customer experience and the employee experience by utilizing their software platforms to facilitate listening to and operationalizing the voice of the constituent.” That’s a mouthful, but in short, she is all about empowering people and consulting on improving customer and employee experiences.
In a recent article in the March/April issue of APICS Magazine, she reminds all of us who manage businesses of a few key tips for empowering our employees so that they become more productive – both for us and to our customers. Following are a few of Ms. Franz’s suggestions:
- Define what empowerment means at your company. Think ahead and set expectations and boundaries.
- Outline what doing right means and what it looks like.
- Describe and reinforce with your team what great customer experience is, and what it means for the customer and to the business.
- Ensure employees have the knowledge and skills to do what you’re expecting of them. Train, communicate and provide a framework. Then, let them do their jobs.
- Make sure workers know how they affect business outcomes.
- Confirm that your people have a clear line of sight to the customer. Let them lose the script – empowered employees don’t need one. Trust them to make the right choices and decisions for the customer.
- Remind employees that going the extra mile doesn’t have to cost a dime. Customers just want them to listen and act. Allow for common sense, but don’t necessarily rely on it.
- Evaluate progress and the business environment. If necessary, eliminate any vagueness and refine goals.
- Provide feedback and coaching so people know if they’re on the right track.
- When employees comprehend the vision and are allowed to execute on it, businesses realize numerous meaningful productivity enhancements in teamwork, creativity and overall satisfaction.
We’ve been in consulting long enough ourselves to have seen these principles put in play by smart companies with forward thinking managers. Sadly, we’ve also witnessed the cold vibe of the highly secretive, micro-managed, non-empowered company. Which would you rather work for?