Developing specific skills: Attitude

The attitude of your employee as well as the company environment can and will make the difference in guarantying a return customer.
 At this point most customers are savvy enough to know when they are being played, condescended to, or just receiving bad service. Since frankly, one’s attitude is what can make all of the difference between a commodity being sold at one location versus at the competition’s, it makes it imperative to have a clear and effective attitude expectation for all employees.
  • The key word being clear -don’t leave anything to interpretation
  • Have the expectations spelled out so that there is no question
  • Make it very clear Why  the attitude is so important and thereby what it means for the employee
  • Cultivate a culture around that attitude and exemplify it at every turn
           So how do you do these four things and have a different result than the mere smattering of positive attitude posters?
Show the Why as it pertains to the individual, not just the company. Show the bigger picture of what this attitude will do in the individual’s life, future, jobs etc. Make it real not just a slogan. Cultivating a specific attitude within the culture will carry through to every aspect of your business, not just the face to face time with customers.  It does take commitment, consistency and a leadership team who understand the how and why to foster this culture. This new culture will change everything in the way your business interacts with the public and in turn set your company apart from the competition.
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Developing the Specific Skills

Attitude
In a previous blog I brought up Attitude as one of the attributes that requires development in order to deepen one’s tool box of skills. Each company has their own way of trying to get across to their staff what kind of  attitude they want demonstrated to one another or to customers. I so often find either that companies in the customer service world either put very little emphasis into attitude -aside from either SMILE!  or The customer is always right!- or they splatter slogans all over the work spaces that have corny messages, unreasonable scenarios, and laughable conflict resolution tactics.
They either let employees decide for themselves how to handle a situation (which can be great if they are trained and in a very healthy company culture) or they make the employee a drone reciting all of the slogans. Nothing is more annoying to a customer than an employee who cannot think for him/herself or one who lies and undermines the company in order to make the employee look the best. So be very clear about what the attitude expectations are and then implement them, exemplify them, and create an environment that only fosters that attitude.
Creating a healthy attitude in the culture of our companies is vital at every level; this is why it is always so puzzling to watch the many ways attitude is handled in different companies and by their different managers. Developing the right attitude in staff, while fostering it into the culture of your company, is vital to longevity and imperative to bettering the customer experience.
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Why develop these “skills for tomorrow” in your employee?

The big questions becomes: why should the employer in this middle class job industry care about instilling these qualities for the “next guy” ?
1- The employee who is invested in is far, far more likely to invest back into the company in some way or another and for good reason. The invested-in employee is more likely to:
  • Stay with the company longer
  • Move up through the company
  • Care about seeing the company succeed regardless of employment
  • Make and encourage ethical decisions at work
  • Be more productive, efficient, and hardworking (if good leadership is at work)

2- A successful company and corporation recognizes how important it is to invest in their employees for the betterment of the economy, the workforce, the future, and in turn for the business itself. This point is clear and without idealistic intent.  Look at some of the most successful and long-lived companies; their commitment to creating a healthy culture with investment into the success and the skill-building of their employees propels them ahead of those others more focused on profit.

3-Frankly, it is time we stop complaining about the lack of workforce or quality thereof, stop encouraging an attitude of entitlement to someone else’s success and instead it is time we started empowering people and equipping them with tools for success. This way success or fail it is in the employee’s hands to make something of themselves, but at least we have truly trained people to have a set of skills that is marketable across the globe of the workforce.
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Instilling the right skills

We need to get across to our employees that they need a skill for tomorrow, not just a job for today.
This is the message that managers and leaders in the middle class job market arenas need to be getting across to their employees:
  • Use this job to develop a skill for tomorrow by improving your
    • attitude
      • work ethic
        • teamwork
          • initiative
            • integrity

This seems simple and I am sure we have all read these concepts in some new hiring paperwork or in the banners across the job website; however how and if it is implemented is what makes all of the difference. How it is insisted upon, exemplified, and inspired will determine the success of skill development and retention.

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Why develop these “Skills for tomorrow” in employees

The big questions becomes: Why should the employer in this middle class, job industry care about instilling those qualities for the “next guy” ?
1- The employee who is invested in is far, far more likely to invest back into the company in some way or another and for good reason. The invested-in employee is more likely to:

  • Stay with the company longer
  • Move up through the company
  • Care about seeing the company succeed regardless of employment
  • Make and encourage ethical decisions at work
  • Be more productive, efficient, and hardworking (if good leadership is at work)

2- A successful company and corporation recognizes how important it is to invest in their employees for the betterment of the economy, the workforce, the future, and in turn for the business itself. This point is clear and without idealistic intent.  Look at some of the most successful and long-lived companies, their commitment to creating a healthy culture with investment into the success and the skill-building of their employees propels them ahead of those focused on profit.

3-Frankly, it is time we stop complaining about the lack of workforce or quality thereof, stop encouraging an attitude of entitlement to someone else’s success and instead, it is time we started empowering people and equipping them with their tools for success. That way, success or fail it is in their hands to make something of themselves, but at least we have truly trained people to have a skill set that is marketable across the globe of the workforce.
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Simple Tactic: equipping people with the right thing

There are so many different skilled jobs, different trainings, and even schools that people could go to in order to be sufficiently trained for their job. How in the world do we expect to get this middle class of employees just the right set of skills to help them make themselves more marketable?

I am proposing this: we need to equip people with a skill set that every employer is looking for. While it can be costly for an employer to have to train someone to do a job, inevitably they are having to in some way or another; either through grants to education programs, or on site, only time will tell which they prefer to do when it is all said and done. So let’s start equipping people with skills that will make employers want to train them.
 At the end of the day, when an employer is analyzing two resumes with the same ivy league education or the same fast food restaurant experience, what becomes the tie breaker is the character and behavior of the hopeful employee. I don’t think many employers will come right out and say it on their hiring paperwork, but if you catch a Lead Shift, GM, CEO, CFO or even President of a company away from work and talk to them, in my experience, the answer is the same every time with a few variances.
There are few education programs or jobs that teach us the value of our attitude, behavior, character, work ethic, and a sense of self worth. Several books have been written about the lack of business ethics being taught by our colleges and very few high schools have any funding to get this concept across to our “middle class market” students. Where is the flood of these employees going? They are going right into the customer service industry as they try to find themselves, to get a better job,  to get by, to pay the bills, or make money while  going to school. We have a huge opportunity to help equip a very powerful group of people to become a hot commodity to these higher paying jobs.
We just have to be brave enough to start working on these basic qualities and insisting that people step up to the expectations. Some employers even seem to be afraid to insist on instilling these character qualities, and yet we seek out these qualities in the employees we interview. Let’s empower and equip people with a skill that is less single minded and instead more marketable on a larger scale..
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How to care..

Does it really matter if employees care about the company, the product, the customer, their fellow employee, or the process? When reading these words it is probably fair to think that everyone would say, “Of course it matters!”
 Then why is it so hard to find these qualities in staff members at the restaurant, hotel, department store and so on?
  •  How do we instill the quality of caring in every employee and the company’s culture? What steps will it take to ensure those important qualities last long after the beginning of the shift pep talk or after reading the inspiring quotes in the new-hire paperwork?

The simplest answer is to lead in a way that demonstrates at every opportunity the culture of your company. A company’s culture cannot just be a blurb on the first couple of pages of the employee’s handbook as it is often easily forgotten if even read at all. It is vital that culture and processes are modeled by leadership who will hold themselves and their employees to the same high standard.  Leading and instilling the mentality that caring about the job in its entirety will not just help the employee to excel at the current job, it will also put them ahead at the next job.  People care because they are shown how important it is and are surrounded by a culture that encourages it.

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