Why It’s Important to Treat Coworkers As We Do Our Customers

Kerry McCarthy on March 2, 2017

Studies have shown that when employees are empowered, they are more likely to take ownership of the company goals, and the employer will see an increase in employee retention and loyalty; however, according to Gallop’s 2017 study, “only 30% of U.S. employees, and 13% worldwide, are engaged.” While you may be thinking that doesn’t sound too bad. A disengaged employee can be crippling to many businesses.

Leave some members out of the loop for information or activities, and you may see a decline in your staff morale, create a toxic workplace, and staff members leaving your employ. Entrepreneur.com explains, “this disengagement costs the U.S. economy between $450 billion and $550 billion every year in squandered productivity. Beyond wasted dollars, dwindling employee engagement negatively affects businesses in a number of other ways.”

How do businesses create a more engaging environment?

The first step, is recognizing poor behaviors and ensuring improvement. To be aware, let’s review a few “bad” practices that no one wants to experience: extreme hierarchy (I once worked for a manager that referred to his office staff as “the commoners”), undermining, micro-managing, being late, speaking out of turn, forgetting commitments, gossiping, and generally being inconsiderate of others time or boundaries. These disrespectful behaviors, while not always intentional, create mistrust and discontentment in the workplace, which can easily cause many problems within the organization.

As Office Manager, I am responsible for ensuring that the employees’ needs in the workplace are met, thereby allowing them to do the work they do best. Over the years, I’ve learned a few good practices as well. Let’s focus on some of the “good” practices!

Think of your employees as “customers”

Some examples may include being honest and fostering open communication, trust, and respect. Host team building activities to increase comradery, recognize big and small wins, say “thank you”, give concise expectations, be flexible - where possible, but keep commitments and deadlines. And lastly, give people space and authority to do their job, while truly working together as a team. The old “Golden Rule” is so applicable here! Simply put, treat others as you want to be treated.

Not all co-workers are working from the same physical location. In my role, I am fortunate to see most our team in our head office every day, but I also work closely with teams in Toronto, ON and Chicago, IL. The distance is not the only hurdle, the SPLICE team (like many businesses) is diverse with a myriad of personalities, skills, talents, backgrounds, nationalities, and even ages. All these factors must be considered in creating employee engagement.

Part of our mission, at SPLICE, is to instill trust and respect amongst our peers no matter the diversity. A good team wants each member to feel important, included, and valued. Just as businesses strive to connect with customers and improve their experiences, businesses must focus their efforts towards understanding their employees and acting in accordance to those needs.

Keep A Good Pulse on Your Employees

Here at SPLICE, we like to use a tool called TINYpulse to send out a weekly question to our employees. Their answers are completely anonymous, allowing them to freely give feedback – and allowing our HR team to measure employee engagement, and where there may be potential difficulties brewing. With this insight, changes can be made as opportunities arise. While employees benefit from feedback on their performance, this tool gives employees a voice to safely give feedback to management too. This allows everyone to see that the team is working together.

I’m sure many can relate when I say, I have worked with some amazing folks – and a few that need a bit of direction in how they behave at work. When tackling employee engagement, don’t expect perfection; instead, commit to continuous improvement.