HOW TO SET GOALS WITH EMPLOYEES (AND ACHIEVE THEM) FT. SUNNY VERMA

BREAKING IT DOWN EPISODE 2 FT. Sunny Verma the CEO of TutorBright.

In Breaking It Down, I sit down with entrepreneurs and business executives to help them solve company culture, employee engagement and customer experience challenges in their organization.

I HAVE NOT BEEN PREPPED. What does this mean? My answers and solutions are honest, authentic and TRUE.

On this episode of Breaking it Down, Sunny and I tackle:

1️⃣How To Measure Your Company’s Culture

2️⃣How To Manage Turbulence In An Organization

3️⃣How To Set Annual Goals With Your Team

CLICK HERE FOR APPLE PODCAST VERSION.

Are you interested in improving your company culture, employee engagement, and customer experience? If so, my online course, Team Operating System, may be your solution.

Click this link to book a call with me directly to learn if the course is right for you and your company.

How To Build Your Customer Experience Strategy By Asking Yourself These Three Questions [2020 Edition]

I’ve leveraged customer experience strategies within my career for more than ten years now. 

I’ve seen companies thrive (some of which I’ve advised), some commit but not fully exhaust the benefits and others that say customer experience matters but do nothing at all. 

The latter is paying lip service to actually building a customer experience strategy that will grow your business, build an admired brand and have a competitive advantage against your competition.

Something my friend, Brian Mazza, says rings true in business (and other areas of your life). He says,

“Nothing changes if nothing changes.”

He’s right!

If you want your company to grow in 2020 you have a myriad of different options:

  • You can optimize your SEO to rank first for your respective search queries. 
  • You can hire a PR firm and increase brand awareness.
  • And/or you can host a sales contest within your sales team to increase top-line revenue.

All of these strategies have a time and a place in your company. 

But, there is only one strategy that will organically (which happens to be the most profitable to grow a business) help you achieve more profit and other great things…

… that’s having a customer experience strategy!

And, guess what?! It’s going to require an investment of time and money, just like the three bullet points above.

Let’s use an example we’re all familiar with as consumers. Have you ever called a company and have heard the voice recording say,

“Your call is important to us. We are experiencing higher than normal call volume…”

It’s not “higher than normal call volume” when you call repeatedly on different days and hear the same message. This company’s leadership team has made a conscious decision that is negatively impacting their customer experience.

What they should be doing is allocating a higher labour budget to afford more call center agents to ensure 80% of calls are answered within 20 seconds or less (this is a common call center service level agreement). 

However, the conscious decision they’ve made or what they say to themselves is,

“We can’t afford that!”

This simply isn’t true.

They can afford it, they’re choosing not to by spending that budget somewhere else.

If this is happening at your company, be honest with yourself, you don’t genuinely care about customer experience. You say you do but you don’t. That’s the honest truth!

Why Doesn’t Every Company Have a Customer Experience Strategy?

Just like any financial endeavor, when you invest in customer experience strategies to improve your customer service, user experience, call center and more, the results take time.

If you want to earn more customers quickly you could launch a Facebook ad campaign tomorrow, send people to a landing page and begin converting some of them into customers (not as easy as that but fairly close).

So, what’s the issue with this? You become too focused on customer acquisition and neglect customer retention which is the primary reason why we want new customers in the first place!

To create your customer experience strategy you could do a number of things (three of which are listed later in this post).

The thing with both of these options is that it will take some time to see the positive results of your efforts but, I promise, I’ve been doing this for over a decade, the results will come. And, they will be SUSTAINABLE, which will lead you to success for years and decades to come.

Still Need More Evidence?

You may have heard the name Danny Meyers before. If not, he’s one of the most recognizable hospitality entrepreneurs, owns Shake Shack, bestselling author and more!

Above: Danny Meyers, the Chief Executive Officer of the Union Square Hospitality Group.

He knows what he’s doing when it comes to building a business. Not only that, he’s doing so in hospitality (the same industry that I’m in) which is renowned for being one of the most competitive.

Listen to this Entrepreneur podcast where he says that customer experience has always been his secret sauce.

3 Customer Experience Strategy Questions

As the year gets rolling, I’d suggest asking yourself three questions to identify what customer experience strategies you have the opportunity to create for your business and serve your customers exceptionally.

  1. Do you have plans to host a customer journey mapping workshop this year?
  2. Is it taking your customers too long to get in touch with your company which negatively impacts sales?
  3. When was the last time you updated your company’s customer service training material?

Customer Journey Mapping

If you said no to this question then I would highly recommend exploring this option. If you’re not familiar with customer journey mapping then I’d suggest watching this short video.

The video highlights what customer journey mapping is, it’s value and shares highlights from a workshop I hosted for a dental practice outside of Toronto, Canada. 

Customer Service: Service Level Agreements

When I was building my career in my early 20’s one of my first roles was working within the call center of 1-800-GOT-JUNK? I learned that we had a couple of key organizational goals that positively impacted the company’s customer experience: 80% of calls (they received 1,000,000 calls per year) had to be answered within 20 seconds and ALL system-wide customer complaints needed to be resolved within one business day, MAXIMUM.

MY RECOMMENDATION: have a family member or friend contact your company, whether by phone, email, social media or whichever channel you want to improve this year, and see how long it takes for your team to respond to a sales inquiry. 

Customer Service Training

If professional athletes and artists must habitually learn new techniques to get better at their craft. So why are our customer-facing employee’s customer service training program static and rarely evolving?

MY RECOMMENDATION: My rule of thumb is to introduce AT LEAST one new module of customer service training and techniques to your employees every three months.

2020 and Beyond

2020 can, and hopefully will be, the year that your company will become more profitable, attain high sales and admiration by developing a comprehensive customer experience strategy.

I know you can do it! You just need to create the plan, after all, nothing changes, if nothing changes. 

At the beginning of 2019, nearly one year ago, I had a company called SentriLock reach out to me to host customer service training for their management team. Below is a screenshot of what an attendee had to say about the impact the training had on the company and results!

Are you interested in improving your company culture, employee engagement, and customer experience? If so, my online course, Team Operating System, may be your solution.

Click this link to book a call with me directly to learn if the course is right for you and your company.

THE FOUR GENERATIONS OF CUSTOMER SERVICE: THE PRE-INTERNET ERA (1/4)

Delivering an excellent product is only HALF of the customer experience.

Check out the first installment of my 4 part series that explores the best practices of “The 4 Generations of Customer Service.”

This is something I’m going to be sharing within my keynotes and workshops in 2020!

Are you interested in improving your company culture, employee engagement, and customer experience? If so, my online course, Team Operating System, may be your solution.

Click this link to book a call with me directly to learn if the course is right for you and your company.

HOW TO ENGAGE REMOTE TEAMS & MORE FT. KRISTI HEROLD

BREAKING IT DOWN EPISODE 1 FT. Kristi Herold

On Breaking It Down, I sit down with entrepreneurs and business executives to help them solve company culture, employee engagement and customer experience challenges in their organization.

I HAVE NOT BEEN PREPPED. What does this mean? My answers and solutions are honest, authentic and TRUE.

On the premiere episode with CEO/Founder of Sport and Social Group Kristi Herold and I explore:

1. How To Engage Remote Employees

2. Tipping Culture In Non-Traditional Tipping Jobs

3. How To Inspire The 19-24 Years Old Demographic

I hope you guys enjoy this as much as I enjoyed filming this! Leave your comments, thoughts, opinions or questions below!

Interested in being a guest? Follow me on LinkedIn and shoot me a direct message!

CONNECT WITH KRISTI ON LINKEDIN HERE.

CONNECT WITH ME ON LINKEDIN HERE.

Are you interested in improving your company culture, employee engagement, and customer experience? If so, my online course, Team Operating System, may be your solution.

Click this link to book a call with me directly to learn if the course is right for you and your company.

HOW TO FIRE AN EMPLOYEE (WITH INTEGRITY)

I didn’t finish post-secondary university to earn my business degree (BA) nor do I have an MBA.

I don’t believe either teach you how to properly fire someone. Whether they do or not, many people I know leading companies and teams haven’t properly been taught how to either.

When I read Bob Iger’s book he outlined his philosophy on how to fire someone. 

bob iger, ride of a lifetime, employee engagement, customer experience, company culture, disney, walt disney
Bob Iger’s Book: The Ride of a Lifetime

In his book, he says:

“There is no good playbook for how to fire someone, I have my own internal set of rules.”

This got me thinking about my own set of rules on how to offboard employees.

I like to follow five key steps:

1. This Shouldn’t Be a Surprise

When an employee is let go they shouldn’t be surprised by the decision. At this point, they should have already received verbal and written warnings of their poor performance. 

Having each infraction document is crucial, not only for employee legal reasons but also for the employee’s awareness that their employment with your company may soon be in question.

If the infraction is grave, such as sexual, physical or emotional abuse, then the termination should happen immediately after your investigation into the matter.

If your employee is genuinely surprised by your decision then I would argue that you have mismanaged this person.

2. Have A Sign-Off Sponsor For All Hires

I like to have another person within my team also sign off on the termination. More often than not, someone else on your team will also agree with your decision. However, if you can’t find someone to agree with you then perhaps the issue may be with you. Perhaps, you’ve mismanaged this person or you aren’t seeing something others are.

If you’re able to find another person to agree with you then this person should also be invited to the termination meeting. Hopefully, the termination will not lead to legal issues but, if it does, then this person will act as your support if it leads to a “he said, she said” scenario.

3. Say It Immediately

As soon as the door is closed to the meeting the person being terminated should know within ten seconds that the reason this meeting is happening is that they are being let go.

No chit chat. No extended pleasantries. Get to the point immediately with confidence.

If this is the first time you’ve let someone go you may be nervous. Don’t let your emotions or nerves get the best of you. More often than not, they will if you don’t get straight to the point.

4. Provide Examples

If the employee knows why they are being fired then it’s not likely that you will have to defend your decision with concrete examples.

However, it’s always a good idea to at least generally (not needing to get into fine details unless asked) speak to why they are being let go.

Some HR professionals may tell you that this is not a good idea because there can be legal ramifications used against you in court if you say the wrong thing. My opinion is that if you’re going to get sued for firing someone then you should be confident in your decision and be ready to defend your reasoning inside and outside of court.

I’m not scared to be sued by someone I let go because I know that we did it with integrity and followed the rules.

5. Be Fair and Compassionate

I wouldn’t suggest firing someone before a holiday or their birthday, it’s just not the right thing to do. However, there can be circumstances (they are seriously going against your company values, theft, and other serious misconducts) that you can’t work around and need to consider the business and your other employees.

If an employee is let go I do like to give them a very fair severance, not just the bare minimum. After all, you would want someone to do the same for you if you were in their position. At the end of the year, when you’re setting your operating budgets, you should have a GL code on your P&L for severance. After all, no company is perfect and you will have to let some team members go.

Are you interested in improving your company culture, employee engagement, and customer experience? If so, my online course, Team Operating System, may be your solution.

Click this link to book a call with me directly to learn if the course is right for you and your company.

THE SECRET TO CORPORATE GIFT-GIVING (AND LEAVING A LASTING IMPRESSION)

Watch this quick video to learn my two GOLDEN RULES on gift-giving. I guarantee you will learn how to WOW your friends, co-workers and team members this holiday season.

Follow me on LinkedIn for more tips like this.

Buy John Ruhlin’s Book HERE.

Are you interested in improving your company culture, employee engagement, and customer experience? If so, my online course, Team Operating System, may be your solution.

Click this link to book a call with me directly to learn if the course is right for you and your company.

What is People-First Culture?

In this video, I describe my People-First Culture. I hope you enjoy and subscribe to my blog to stay up-to-date on company culture, employee engagement, and customer experience strategies!

Stay tuned for next week’s installment!

Eager to learn more? Follow me on LinkedIn and pick up a copy of my book!

BOOK — https://www.amazon.com/People-First-Culture-Lasting-Company-Shifting-ebook/dp/B07JBDBTZ8

LINKEDIN – www.linkedin.com/in/michelfalcon

How to Earn Customer Loyalty and Maximize Employee Retention With A Unique People-First Culture Strategy

Loyalty is hard to understand and even harder to achieve.

For me, I can only think of two brands I’m truly loyal to, Nike and SWAT Health (my gym). And, when I say loyal, I actually am. I don’t wear Adidas anymore. In fact, I gave away my Ultra Boosts because I only align myself with Nike. As for exercising, sure I go to the occasional Barry’s Bootcamp but I wouldn’t allow anyone else to train me other than the trainers at SWAT Health.

Other than these two brands, I can’t think of any brand I’m truly loyal to. Not my grocery store, not my dry cleaner…the only reason I’m loyal to my bank is because undoing that relationship seems too labour intensive for me. 

As for my employees, I would like to believe they know I’m loyal to them. I invest in our relationships and in their development just like I would invest in spending time with my mother or my girlfriend, Sophia. 

But, when and why does loyalty falter when doing business with our customers, employees, and suppliers?

I believe we have a mutually binding agreement when we go into business together:

Loyalty falters when one party isn’t meeting halfway. 

If our customers start behaving poorly then we may decline to service them. 

If our employees consistently call in sick to work when they aren’t, then we move to replace them.

If our suppliers start delivering their products, the same ones we use to operate our business, at a higher price, we shout “Bait and Switch!” and end our relationship.

I was recently listening to The Corp podcast which featured Mark Mastrov as their guest. 

Mark Mastrov (left) and Barstool Sport’s Dan Katz (right).

Mark built the globally recognized chain of gyms, 24 Hour Fitness. During the podcast, he mentioned something that made me go back and listen again. 

He said, “The purpose of loyalty is to earn and keep it. It’s not everlasting.”

I’ve seen companies front-load their loyalty efforts.

What I mean is that they will shower their new customers with attention and gifts. They will also onboard new employees exceptionally during the first few weeks of employment. But, then it ends…

Imagine if I courted Sophia, my girlfriend, secured the date, wooed her for weeks, won her over then everything stopped. I don’t need Sophia to tell you that I wouldn’t have her loyalty and our relationship would soon end.

This is exactly what’s happening in our businesses! We are treating them like transactions.

I want to erase the gap between how we behave in our personal lives and how we do in our professional lives to earn loyalty.

When our sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, siblings, best friends, or extended family need something from us, we go out of our way to give it to them. 

We don’t hesitate. 

Whether that’s hiring a tutor for our kids or picking up our friends from the airport when they need a ride. 

We do it because it’s a natural reflex for us to help people close to us.

On the contrary. When our team members need something we ask ourselves: “What’s the ROI?”

Try this on for size…

What’s the ROI of giving a crap about doing something for the people who actually grow our businesses??!! 

My partners and I have nearly 200 employees and most customers don’t know who we are, nor do they care.

They care about the people with who they are interacting with. 

Our team members on the frontline of our business. 

With this in mind, we should be doing everything possible to give them what they need to win over customers and pave a path for them.

An investment in your people is an investment in loyalty.

Customer Service, Company Culture and Authenticity With Bob Glazer

I had the pleasure of sitting down with best-selling author, and culture and marketing leader Bob Glazer. We dive into the importance of customer service for your employees, why companies struggle with authenticity and more.

FOLLOW ME ON SOCIAL:

Instagram — https://www.instagram.com/michelfalco…

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CONNECT WITH BOB GLAZER

Instagram — https://www.instagram.com/robertglaze…

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LinkedIn — https://www.linkedin.com/in/glazer/

5 Employee Management Tips to Boost Employee Morale

Managing employees isn’t hard!

I’m not saying this to shock and awe you.

I believe managing employees isn’t as hard as we make it out to be. We simply need to adhere to some sound employee management tips and strategies to become great companies.

As leaders, we generally make it hard on ourselves to manage our employees and the outcome is a poor experience for our team members which negatively impacts their perception of you as their leader and paralyzes their morale and performance.

I’ve come a long way in my leadership ability to manage a team. I’ve recognized that my management style is different than yours and different than those of my business partners and peers.

I don’t believe I’m any better or worse than the next person, I just know, full heartedly, that my management style is right for me.

Dating back to my time at 1-800-GOT-JUNK? I was groomed by people like Brian Scudamore and Patrick Louis. I took some of what Brian and Patrick taught me and found my own style.

More recently, I’ve taken advice from Danny Meyers, Howard Behar and Patty McCord. I now define my leadership style as being a benevolent and servant leader to the 150 employees we have today at my businesses in Toronto.

For the last decade, from afar, I’ve studied great leaders like Kat Cole, Jimmy Iovine and many others to share five employee management tips to boost employee morale.

I hope you enjoy this post, consider leaving a comment below and share it with your colleagues.

Understand Their Purpose (as an individual, not employee)

My book is titled, People-First Culture: Build a Lasting Business By Shifting Your Focus From Profits to People. I define People-First Culture by building a business that your employees and customers will admire.

Simple, right?

On the surface you may think, “Yes, it’s simple enough.” But, I beg to ask you, “If it’s so simple then why isn’t every company admired?”

To become “People-First” I’ve created something I call the 3P Strategy: Purpose, Process then Profit.

Within purpose, I advocate that a benevolent and servant leader must intimately understand the purpose of each team member who directly reports into them…with or without the company. Let me explain…

employee moral

Take Christina Parihar as an example. Christina is a star! She has risen the ranks of our company remarkably. She went from a server, to a shift leader and now she’s a Manager at one of our venues. But, management of our restaurant isn’t her true career purpose. It’s to become the Director, Learning & Development for our company.

This is her career purpose and as one of her leaders it’s my job to get her there. This is an example of helping someone achieve their purpose with the company.

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Meet Riley. He’s one of the top bartenders at our venues. He’s going to leave my company very soon and I’m happy about this.

I’m happy because we, as a company, are going to facilitate his exit so he can pursue his career purpose.

You see, Riley has been studying hard for years to graduate from university. He will graduate and pursue a career in biotech on the business development side of the industry.

Once Riley graduates I will personally take ownership, exhaust energy and connect him with people in my network who will interview him and hopefully hire him. This is an example of understanding a team member’s purpose and helping them reach their goals.

I once read this quote and it really resonated with me:

“Be a great company to be from.”

When I work with my management teams I share that a great employee management tip is to understand their team’s purpose and share in their success.

Clear (I mean, VERY clear) Definition and Visibility of Goals

This is where we make it hard on ourselves when it comes to managing employees and developing them during our meetings and review.

How on earth are we suppose to manage our team if goals aren’t clear and visible?

My partners use a weekly dashboard meeting to review their goals with their direct reports.

I use something called weekly GS&R’s (Goal Setting & Review).

Maybe you use something else. But, whatever, you do…use something! If you’re hiring high performers and want to manage their performance and morale, goals need to be clearly defined and visible.

Great! We have the framework in place but how are we adhering to the framework? Are we cancelling these weekly meetings? Is it a time where we passively review recent performances or do we dig deep and put everything under a microscope.

Cameron Herold once said, “Meetings don’t suck…we just suck at running meetings.” Managing your team during their reviews (which should be done regularly, not yearly) must happen often and with a clear definition of success and visibility.

Gather Employee Intelligence (EI) to Create Never-Seen-Before Experiences

I refer to employee intelligence as things you learn about your team members throughout their tenure with your company (the same can be done for customers). The most admired companies use this intelligence to create experiences for their team (and customers) that they have never seen before. These experiences build admired, People-First Culture companies.

RELATED: 3 Employee Engagement Training Strategies (video)  

Our employees have intimate conversations with us, their leaders, on a daily basis. And at times, these conversations may be falling on deaf ears, or equally as bad, are being acknowledged with unenthusiastic responses.

Let’s put this into action by way of a real-world example.

An employee tells me they have a big exam coming up. I ask for the date of the exam and record it in my phone to remind me three days before. The same day that I get the notification reminding me of the exam, I think to myself, “What would one need to help them prepare for this exam?”

One of the first things that comes to mind was one of those Sage scented vaporizers to use the evening before the exam to relax my team member before the big day.

Not all employee intelligence gestures need to be delivered with a high monetary value. For example, if your team member tells you their mother’s name or their favourite sports team, you can simply…

  • Ask how Rosa’s doing
  • Text them when their team wins a big game

One trick here is to use your phone to capture the data. Don’t leave it up to memory to remember these moments of employee intelligence.

When I host my Breakfast N’ Jam sessions I often find myself excusing myself to the bathroom so I can write things in my phone so I don’t appear rude by doing so at the table.

Find Them Another Leader to Learn From

You can’t be the only person that your employee learns from. After all, you’re not an expert in everything and neither am I. I’m constantly trying to find other professionals that my team can learn from.

These teachings can come from a book, podcast or in-person and virtual coaching. Here are a few examples of when I’ve found members of my team other people to learn from.

  • Jordan Lopez: his marketing prowess exceeded my skill set so we purchased Brian Dean’s YouTube online course for him.
  • Melissa Smilie: someone who has a tremendous future ahead of her, I recommended she read Patty McCord’s ‘Powerful: Build a Culture of Freedom and Responsibility” book as she’s going to need to learn how to develop high performing teams.
  • Max Romer: a team member who will be leaving my company to pursue a career in finance, I connected him with someone I know working within the finance department at Microsoft Canada.

Did I  already possess some of these skill sets? Yes, but, like I mentioned, your team needs to learn from people other than you to help continuously manage their morale.

Take action: This week, ask each of your direct reports one thing they want to learn within the next 90 days then go out and find an external subject matter expert for them.

Tell Them to Invest in Themselves

In 2014, I wrote a Linkedin article that received some great traction. I titled it, “Employees Need to Be Responsible For Their Own Development.”

You, as a leader at your company, can only develop so many people. Your bandwidth eventually will reach its limit. There needs to be a mutual understanding between you and your direct reports and it goes like this…

“I will give myself to you BUT you must give yourself to your own development.”

As my Linkedin post above suggests, Michael Jordan didn’t become Michael Jordan by only shooting free throws during designated practice time. He became great by putting in work on his own time.

Beyonce became Beyonce by singing, singing and singing some more at home, not just in church.

Building a high performing team is a counter balance between the leader and the team member. The leader must provide stewardship but ultimately it’s up to the employee to grow themselves.

When I was growing my career in my early 20’s I invested time to reading, watching YouTube videos and reaching out to professionals on Linkedin to ask if I could ask them a few questions. Today, in a way, I’m still an employee. We have investors that count on us to pay them a return. To do so, I must continuously invest in my education. I invest in paying 5-figures to attend retreats and workshops. I read books and listen to podcasts to level-up my game.

Take these employee management tips and apply them within your business. I’m not suggesting doing all five tactics immediately. Start with one or two, build some momentum then add another.

Leave a comment below: which employee management tip resonates with you the most and why?