July 5, 2018

How to build a strong and engaged team in the service industry

By Ryan Ashton

Categories: Retention

By Ryan Ashton


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When it comes to working in the fast-paced, frontline service industry, it pays to have every hourly worker on your team working seamlessly with one another—pulling together when the rush of work hits.

A team that works in unison, with a shared commitment to getting stuff done, gives you the ultimate competitive advantage—leading to increased customer satisfaction and leaving competitors wondering how it is you do it.

Here are a few tips for you to get started on building your dream team in industries with hourly workers.

Always lead by example

A team is only as strong as the foundations it’s built on.

If you’re in a position of leadership, set a strong example for your employees to follow. Here’s how you can do that:

  1. Be an advocate of honest communication and show respect to your employees: this will set the tone for others to follow.
  2. Use open dialogue to tackle challenges and talk through issues: setting a precedent of transparency and open communication will help prevent trivial issues festering beneath the surface, leading to tension between colleagues.
  3. Be vocal about the values you find important: make sure to let your team know that these are standards you expect them to try to uphold. Communicate and educate your expectations on all levels to ensure everyone is on the same page.

Outline responsibilities clearly, then let your employees step up

No one wants to be micromanaged. Especially for your ready-and-able hourly workers; it can even lead to them avoiding stepping up and taking on more responsibility.

Provide your employees with a clear outline of their responsibilities, then give them the autonomy to be able to get it done. Though they may stumble a bit at that start, trusting them to do the job you hired them for will show that you believe in their abilities.

In the situation that you have a number of employees working together for the first time, a clear outline of the role and responsibilities will prevent them from stepping on each other’s toes and reduce task redundancy. A quick team meeting before a shift to run through tasks and ownership can prevent confusion and ensure all jobs are taken care of.

Champion their strengths

A report by the Journal of Positive Psychology found that workplace performance was closely related to the use of strengths at work. While some employees excel at customer service, others might have a knack for implementing new systems and staying on top of admin.

Take the time to understand where your employees’ strengths lie and allocate tasks that play to their abilities. Even when it comes to the smallest of tasks and responsibilities.

Take an interest in your employees

Your employees are more than just staff. Some are parents, some could be caregivers and the list goes on. With that in mind, there could be several factors in their personal lives that could have an impact on their performance at work.

Take some time to learn about your team member’s lives outside of the workplace to get a better understanding of their circumstances. By showing them you are interested in more than just their workplace ‘selves’, you are letting them know they are valued as more than just a resource.

Through regular chats and feedback sessions, you’re able to dig a little deeper to find out about their goals and objectives. Some employees might just want to come to work and do the job they were hired to do; with personal situations that may take a fair chunk of their time. Knowing this information is valuable to reveal the best approach to lead each member of your team.

Open communication with your employees on their personal and professional needs is valuable in helping build the strong and engaged team you’re looking for.

Appreciate their efforts

As the old adage goes: manners don’t cost anything. And to add, they prove to be very valuable in the workplace, especially when it comes to recognizing employees with a simple ‘thank you’.

A recent study by BambooHR found that 94% of employees who received daily positive recognition were satisfied with their job, while 43% who barely received recognition were dissatisfied. Though appreciation alone won’t be enough to retain your employees, it can certainly help your team members feel more engaged and connected.

For most of your employees, verbal recognition and acknowledgment do the trick. When your employees feel valued, even in the smallest of ways, they are more committed to their job, feel more responsibility to their co-workers and have increased productivity.

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