Friday, June 22, 2012

Employee Loyalty: 13 Tips For Getting It AND Keeping It

As a corporate manager or a small business owner, the people who work for you will make you or break you.  If your employees feel a sense of loyalty, they will reward you.  Loyal employees promote customer satisfaction.  And, satisfied/loyal customers (also known as repeat business) are less concerned about price and more likely to bring referrals for new business.  Loyal employees, who tend to stay put, can help keep recruiting and training (of new hires) costs to a minimum.  However, don't confuse longevity with loyalty.  Just because someone is there long-term doesn't mean that she is loyal.

Loyalty grows out of a feeling of connection and a commitment to produce.  The following 13 actions are what you need to do to promote employee loyalty.

1. Set a good example.  Show your employees that you take work seriously.  If you are out shopping or busy making plans for the weekend, your employees will follow suit.

2. Create clear boundaries.  Your employees can have many friends, but only one employer.  Yes, you want to be friendly but not at the cost of establishing your unique role and position.  Most employees will be delighted to have a boss that can be depended upon to make difficult decisions, call the shots, and resolve awkward or burdensome problems - tasks they would never present to a friend or co-worker.

3. Outline each employee's sphere of influence.  Each staff member should be clear about where his/her own domain starts and stops.  This kind of definition fosters a sense of pride while preventing boundary overstepping and turf wars between employees.

4. Show your employees that you are loyal to them.  Never belittle or criticize an employee in public.  Avoid threats or any action that might give an employee a reason to question your commitment to him/her.  Instead carefully present your criticisms and see "mistakes" as opportunities for learning.

5. Give your employees something to be proud of.  Strive to make your organization the best it can be.  Whether you are the CEO of a large corporation, a supervisor in a governmental organization, or running a Mom-and-Pop shop, you want your product and service to shine so that everyone involved has a sense of pride and accomplishment.

6. Do good deeds.  Have an outreach plan that gives both you and your employees a chance to interact with, and give back to, the larger community in a positive way.

7. Reward your employees.  Money cannot buy loyalty but money does serve as a metaphor so tell your employees how much you value them.  Fair wages, appropriate raises, and an occasional unexpected treat can go a long way in building loyal employees.

8. Cultivate peak performance.  Provide your employees with training and development opportunities so that they can learn and grow.  And, as they develop, challenge them to set and meet high expectations.

9. Foster a team mentality.  Encourage your employees to communicate their ideas and allow them to influence company practices and policies.  Likewise, share your own vision for the future and your thoughts as to how you will all get there together.

10. Recognize and respond.  Everyone appreciates positive feedback.  And, once it becomes clear that you are willing and able to provide it, most employees will go the extra mile in order to get it.

11. Build solid relationships.  Find common ground, share life experiences, prove your trustworthiness, and be patient as strong relationships blossom over time.

12. The Platinum Rule.  There is no blueprint for fostering employee loyalty.  As you go about your business, remember that each employee must be seen as an individual - what works in some cases will bring disaster in another.  Forget the golden rule.  DO NOT treat your employees, as you want to be treated.  Instead, find out what each of them needs and wants and proceed with that in mind.

13. Be yourself.  Find your own management style.  Somewhere between "surrogate mother," who is more caretaker than boss and the Leona Helmsley stereotype, who responds to employees with contempt and ridicule, each of us can find our own happy medium.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The practice of mediation often feels like a lonely endeavor. We work without the benefit of peers or mentors. Many mediators have no cohorts for case review or brainstorming. No old timer is waiting in the wings to teach us the ropes or let us in on time-tested trade secrets.  Often we are left to reinvent the wheel when it comes to best practices and marketing techniques. And, until now, there has been no way for mediators to reduce costs by engaging in cooperative marketing.

Susan and I created The Mediators' Round Table so that you can engage in an on-going conversation with trusted colleagues AND be part of a collaborative forum for promoting yourself, your practice, and the mediation process.  As a Round Table member you may bring your talent, in-sight, and concerns to the forum. In return your seat at The Round Table will provide you with lots of perks and an interactive experience geared towards increasing your profits and improving your skills.

We are committed to creating a world-wide community of mediators. Together, we will finally bring mediation into the mainstream. And, along the way you will increase your viability, visibility, and revenue.