BY CHRISTINA DAVISMr. Jones, your newest VIP client, has a reservation for tomorrow at 7:00 a.m. You don’t know Mr. Jones—you’ve never spoken to him—yet, you know a lot about him. Mr. Jones prefers an MKT over an SUV. He likes the vehicle’s temperature set at a cool 62 degrees. In the morning, he wants to listen to sports talk radio, not NPR. He’ll read the local paper, but not the national news. He notices if a vehicle hasn’t been properly cleaned.
How do you know so much about someone you’ve never met? You take your cues from each client satisfaction survey Mr. Jones fills out, and he continues to book with you weekly.
We are dedicated to ensuring our clients experience the A+ service we promise. To that end, we are constantly requesting feedback to confirm we are meeting their expectations. Here’s the thing: While we are consistently asking for feedback to improve our customer-service performance, we forget that our employees want the same thing! If feedback from our clients helps our performance, wouldn’t feedback to our employees work the same way?
At this time of year, many of you are thinking about annual performance reviews. But that’s not what I am talking about. Simple check-ins that can last five minutes or fewer will open the lines of communication, increase engagement, and ultimately improve performance.
Recent surveys from OfficeVibe and PwC reveal the importance of feedback.
• 39 percent of employees say they don’t feel appreciated at work
• Four out of 10 employees are actively disengaged when they get little or no feedback
• 43 percent of highly engaged employees receive feedback at least once a week, compared to only 18 percent of employees with low engagement
• 60 percent of employees reported they would like feedback on a daily or weekly basis—that number increases to 72 percent for employees younger than 30
• 78 percent of employees said that being recognized motivates them in their jobs
• More than 75 percent of employees believe that feedback is valuable
• 80 percent of Gen Y (otherwise known as Millennials) said they prefer on-the-spot recognition over formal reviews
We know that employees are open to feedback and that engagement is increased with consistent feedback, but time is in short supply. Fortunately, brief employee check-ins could be the answer to increased productivity and performance as well as an increase in the bottom line.
What makes an effective employee check-in? If your brief, casual meeting includes preparation, discussion, summation, and follow-up, you are well on your way.
Review notes/documentation from your last check-in or performance review discussion.
Were there any deadlines implemented from the last meeting? Have those been reached? If not, why?
Are there any new projects or tasks you would like this employee to accomplish? If so, what will the expectations be?
Are there any changes in performance that you would like to see?
During the Meeting
Leave your phone behind! Giving your employees your undivided attention shows them how important you think they are. Remember that this is an employee check-in, not a meeting to tell your employee what to do. Ask open-ended questions to get your employee talking. Some suggestions are:
“Tell me about your week/month. What’s it been like?”
“Tell me what you have been working on.”
“Where can I be most helpful?”
“What didn’t go as you had hoped? Why?”
“What can you/we do differently next time?”
“What suggestions do you have?”
Provide praise for the things they are doing well and suggest areas where improvement is needed. If you plan to make employee check-ins a weekly or bi-weekly event, only focus on items that are hot during that time.
End of the Meeting
Before you end the meeting, each of you should summarize what you discussed, including action items and timelines, to ensure you both understood the same thing.
Ask your employee if you missed anything he or she wanted to discuss.
After the Meeting
• Document what was discussed
• Evaluate the meeting; would you do anything differently next time?
• Schedule the next meeting
I know this list looks daunting, especially as you begin regular check-ins, but the more you have them with your employees at all levels, the more you will understand your team, their strengths, and their weaknesses. What’s more, you’ll understand the company’s as well as your own strengths and weaknesses, too. Just as with our clients, the more we identify their expectations, the better service we can provide. Employees are the same way: The more they understand the expectations of our clients and the company, the better equipped they are to perform to those standards. [CD0917]
Christina Davis is the HR Director for The LMC Group. She can be reached at christina@LMC.group.