How to create an inspired workforce: Discover

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Over the next several weeks, I will share several blog posts to support the efforts of leaders, managers, and supervisors to create an inspired workforce.

Thankfully, my counsel does not include pretending to be someone you’re not by donning a cheerful, animated disposition and leading the team in a pre-shift cheer when that’s not your authentic self, personality, or style. Now, if that’s who you are, then great. Do that, too.

Motivation, inspiration, and engagement are unique in that you really don’t increase motivation, inspiration, or engagement levels in others. People govern their own levels of these attributes. Just like it’s not possible to force others to take initiative, be observant, or care, it’s not possible to compel motivation, inspiration, or engagement. You can only influence these qualities through suggestion, encouragement, modeling, coaching, feedback, recognition, and reinforcement (i.e., performance management).

So, that’s what this series of blog posts is about: managing the performance of your team to create a work environment where team members choose to take initiative, be observant, and care. In these cultures, team members are motivated, inspired, and engaged. And customers benefit because of the documented relationship between engaged staff and the quality of their experiences.

Here’s the first step to create an inspired workforce: 1. Discover for yourself, and then reveal to all team members, the total job role.

Most people view their job role through the lens of their job description, which contains a set of duties and tasks linked to their position. Through on-the-job training (OJT), workers acquire the job knowledge and skills needed to consistently execute job assignments. After team members have completed their OJT and probationary period over the course of, say, 90 days, they are now deemed competent. It is at this point that many supervisors shift their attention to other, newly hired team members with the goal of developing their competency.

It’s critical that team members possess adequate job knowledge and demonstrate sufficient job skills. Customers expect them to be competent. But competency is only one facet of their job role. The other aspect (one that many leaders, managers, and supervisors overlook) of every job role is its purpose: WHY employees do WHAT they do, and HOW they do it at work.

Job purpose is the role’s single highest priority. For instance, the job purpose of a barista might be to make a connection with each customer. The job purpose of a restaurant server might be to surprise and delight each guest. And the purpose of a hotel housekeeper might be to create a promoter of the hotel.

Armed with this awareness, team members in these roles will no longer see their responsibilities as limited to technical knowledge and skills (e.g., the ingredients and portions in a macchiato, menu knowledge, or which cleanser to use on which surface). They see the potential to realize the higher purpose of their job role by, for example, recalling and using the customer’s name, offering an amuse-bouche to restaurant guests, or anticipating a guest’s need for extra towels.

Of course, before team members can be made aware of the higher purpose of their job role, it must first be uncovered and articulated by leadership. This is neither complicated nor obvious. It’s true that, in larger, sophisticated organizations, much of the work has already been done and exists in the form of a corporate mission, vision, or purpose statement and core values.

Other times, concentrated effort must be applied to a series of questions to reveal these corporate ideals and apply them to individual job roles. This will be the subject of the next blog post in this series. Please stay tuned…

Image credit: Scott Preator

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Steve Curtin
Steve Curtin is the author of Delight Your Customers: 7 Simple Ways to Raise Your Customer Service from Ordinary to Extraordinary. He wrote the book to address the following observation: While employees consistently execute mandatory job functions for which they are paid, they inconsistently demonstrate voluntary customer service behaviors for which there is little or no additional cost to their employers. After a 20-year career with Marriott International, Steve now devotes his time to speaking, consulting, and writing on the topic of extraordinary customer service.

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