At the upcoming itSMF UK conference (ITSM17) this year, I’ll be presenting on how you can use reward and recognition to motivate your support staff and build strong, customer-focused teams. Studies have shown that there is a huge difference in the performance of motivated and non-motivated staff, and as such it’s highly important to invest time and effort in the people that are responsible for service delivery. People that feel valued and appreciated are better able to deliver excellent customer service and it makes sense that happy people give great and/or better service, so if you want to improve your customer experience then you should start off with employee experience.
Sounds easy doesn’t it?
The reality is that this can be quite a difficult thing to do – most people are simply not motivated by money alone, but want to be able to feel that they’re making a difference, after all nobody deliberately comes to work to do a bad job. So if you want to supercharge your support teams here are my top tips for successful reward and recognition:
- Make sure that your teams have a strong sense of direction and purpose – help them understand their fit in your organisation, and how the work they do supports the overall organisation.
- Invest in professional and personal development – it can be a great motivator for people, so develop a culture and working environment that gives people the opportunity to learn new skills and improve their knowledge, and invest in staff training and development.
- Collect customer feedback – using customer feedback and customer compliments can also be a great way of recognising excellent customer service. Make sure that you take the time to share customer feedback with key stakeholders including the senior management team.
- Arrange “team time” – a team is not just a group of people that work together but also a group of people that respect, trust, and care for each other. Make sure your teams get the opportunity to spend time away together; regular team meetings are essential, and you might also want to consider team building events and away days.
- Recognition – this is an essential ingredient in ensuring that people feel valued and motivated. Make sure you take the time to recognise good work and celebrate success.
My experience is that different people are motivated by different things so it is important to use a wide variety of reward and recognition initiatives, enabling you to demonstrate the value that you place on the staff involved in service delivery.
So when should we reward people?
Sometimes, this can be the most difficult part of a reward and recognition strategy. Should we only reward people when they go above and beyond what is required of them and when they have put in the extra effort to get the job done? That might sound like a good idea, but what about the people who go about their jobs diligently and deliver excellent service every day? Should we not reward them too? Simple answer – reward the behavior you want to see more of! Recognition should be always be timely. When there is a reason for praising someone don't put it off! Promptness equals effectiveness. Praise people when the achievement is fresh on everyone's mind, and don’t be shy about it, simple thank you emails are nice, but don’t necessarily have a big impact – it’s much better to deliver recognition face to face with a big smile and a warm handshake.
My approach to reward and recognition has enabled me to create team cultures where there is a real sense of fun and joy, and joyful people do remarkable work. But it’s worth remembering that once you’ve created this culture it will need to be cultivated and nurtured. This isn't a one off piece of work but an ongoing and continual process.
Service improvement is not just about processes, procedures, tools, and technologies! It starts with the people! A good service needs good people and a strong team. If you focus on improving employee experience the result will be an improved customer experience, and so as a result you should create teams that can stand tall and be proud of the service that they deliver.
You can find out more about this at my upcoming session at ITSM17. I’m really looking forward to presenting, it’s my first time at this event and I’m excited to not just be attending and learning, but also to be contributing.