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Strategies for a More Productive Workday

July 8th, 2016

Are you looking for positive, sustainable ways to get your employees to show a little hustle? Would you like to wave a wand and see everyone on your team work a little harder to impress your clients and drive your company forward? If you’re like most managers, you’re wondering how access the hidden, untapped potential in your teams. Does this potential lie in the team, or in your own personal management style? Here are a tips and techniques you can use to bring out the best in your employees.

Ask them.

If you’re guessing and struggling to figure out what might motivate your employees, stop guessing and just ask them. Distribute surveys if you choose, or simply sit down with key members of your teams and engage in an open conversation. Would they respond to monetary motivation, increase competition, learning opportunities, or additional perks? You can experiment with each of these, or you can simply cut to the chase.

Teach and model, don’t dictate.

If you see an employee with an inefficient working style or a messy desk, don’t ignore this easy opportunity for improvement. But instead of scolding and lecturing, describe what works for you. Explain how using digital spreadsheets and scheduling apps can reduce the drifts of paper, and show your employee how dividing large tasks into smaller ones or tackling bigger challenges first can improve daily productivity. We often assume that basic principles of efficiency and productivity were taught in the earliest years of childhood, but this isn’t always the case. Sometimes employees simply don’t know any better. It’s never too late to learn.

Praise publicly.

While your criticisms should always take place in private, feel free to publicly praise employees who work hard, stay focused, and get things done. Clearly communicate the kind of behavior and work ethic you’d like to see from everyone.

Move around the office.

Don’t hide in your office during the day. No matter how busy you may be, make time every hour to get up and circulate around the floor. Check in, say hello, join conversations in the break room, and find out what your employees are up to when they aren’t working. Sometimes the mere appearance of a manager on the scene can break up idle gab sessions and return focus to the job at hand. Be friendly, but present.

Make yourself available.

When employees need help, answers, guidance or direction, make sure they feel comfortable coming to you directly. Paralysis and stagnation often result when employees are at loose ends and not sure where to turn next with a project or issue. If you force them to exhaust every other option before coming to you, you only encourage them to waste time. Be generous, not stingy, with advice and support.

For more on how to keep your employees engaged and in motion all day, every day, turn to the expert Hartford staffing team at Merritt.

Top Traits to Look For in Customer Service Talent

February 5th, 2016

Your company’s reputation, your bottom line, and your financial future all depend on the group of hard working professionals who stand between the company and the public and serve as ambassadors for your brand. So when you hire a candidate for a customer service position, you only want the best. Keep in mind that your customers have access to online review sites and are likely to share their experience with a wider audience, for better or worse. So if your customer service team can protect this experience and associate your brand with positive feelings, you’ll come out ahead. Here are a few traits to look for during the selection process.

Friendly confidence

Within the first ten minutes of your interview session, ask yourself a few quick mental questions: would you turn to this person if you needed help or an answer to a question? Would you follow their advice? If your candidate’s demeanor puts you at ease, that’s a great sign. If they seem comfortable in their own skin and make you feel comfortable in yours, that’s even better.

Experience with pressure.

Ask your candidate a few behavioral questions in order to assess her professional experience. For example, ask her to describe a situation in which she dealt with an unhappy customer under challenging circumstances. What were the specifics and how did she respond? If you appreciate the story (whatever it may be), that’s good news. But if the candidate can’t recall such an episode—or worse, if her idea of a “challenging” situation doesn’t measure up to yours—make a note of it.

Tenacity

When life presents us with a problem, most of us make a few easy attempts to solve it, and if these don’t work, we ignore the problem until it goes away (which problems often do). But in customer service, this approach just won’t sail. Will your candidate go the distance to resolve customer concerns? Will he apply a combination of knowledge, common sense, and critical thinking until the customer walks away happy? Or will he look for the fastest and easiest way to end the interaction?

Teamwork

This trait can be essential in a customer service environment, so you’ll need to ask a few pointed questions to determine how your candidate steps up to lead and steps back to follow when necessary.
Willingness to learn new things

This customer service role may involve a software system or a set of communications equipment that your candidate has never used before. Can this candidate handle a steep learning curve? Again, a few behavioral questions can help you use his or her past to make predictions about the future.

For more on how to find the candidates who can meet your needs and contribute to your team, reach out to the Connecticut staffing professionals at Merritt.

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