Last month, I suggested several “must-have” actions to create a “Year of the Team Member” and develop a customer-centric culture in your organization. After you have implemented those must-haves, here are the next steps to follow.
Set Expectations, and Be Accountable and Transparent.
Once team members embrace the essence of the customer-centric culture – the story, values and codes of conduct – their leaders need to communicate clear expectations and hold team members accountable for results. Leaders must also be accountable for creating an environment of transparency. If team members clearly understand their roles and how they affect the overall goals of the organization, they will be more likely to trust their leadership and engage their customers.
Once team members have been thoroughly trained and given clear expectations and the tools to succeed, leaders must release control and let them do their jobs. Giving power to team members translates into leadership power – and that means getting results in a productive manner.
Create the Setting.
We all know how important the setting is to the customer, but we tend to forget the importance of the setting in building effective teams. Over the years, I have seen break rooms that are so disgusting that even my dog wouldn’t enter. Yet, team members are expected to relax and eat their lunches there! Make your team setting safe, comfortable and clean. If possible, provide snacks, exercise equipment and a television.
Hire With Care, and Revise Your Orientation Process.
Great teams begin with great people. Hire to the culture and train for skills. In addition to the customary role of human resources, invite several team members to interview prospective job candidates and provide input for the hiring decision. With the right attitude, you can train most people to do almost anything. However, even amazing new hires cannot be expected to magically embrace their new culture.
For example, Disney requires a multi-day orientation process for all new employees (“cast members”) before they begin their on-the-job training. Revamp your orientation to focus on your story, values and codes of conduct rather than on rules, regulations and policies. Everyone, including leaders, should participate in a re-orientation training experience to ensure that all team members embrace the customer-centric culture.
Once you have accomplished these next steps, you will be well on your way to celebrating the effort of your most valued asset – your team members.
Always remember that creating a customer-centric culture is not a destination; it is a continuous, never-ending journey. It is hard work. There is no instant pudding! But the results for your team and customers will be well worth the effort.