Our team is so tired and beaten down. We’ve lost some connection due to a partial virtual workforce, and we’re struggling to get morale up again. What do we do?
This is one example of a comment I’ve heard from several customers over the past few weeks. While some of you have expressed that your team is more connected now than ever, others have lamented that your team has lost its mojo.
So Stella. How do you get your groove back?
Here are 5 Steps To Get You Started
- ACKNOWLEDGE THE LOSSES. If you’re someone who focuses on positivity and making lemons out of lemonade, you might feel the first step is to get everyone back to work! Bring out the core value initiatives and customer service training you abandoned and expect everyone to get excited all over again. However, you can’t get to that place until you first acknowledge the losses that you’ve experienced over the past year. Furloughed employees or outright layoffs. Keeping customers out of your buildings, isolation, having to say no more often than yes. New policies, procedures, and constant confusion and change. Working from home or working in potentially dangerous situations. Who wouldn’t feel frustrated, angry or de-motivated? Before you jump back into some version of “business as usual” acknowledge that your team may be grieving. Have one-on-one or group discussions and invite your team members to express their feelings about the losses they’ve experienced. Awareness, as they say, is the first step.
- REFLECT. As difficult and tragic as the past year has been, it has also been a year of tremendous innovation. Challenge your team members to think through all they’ve learned and how they’ve improved their skills over this past year. While everyone might be looking forward to “getting back to normal,” you’d be missing an opportunity to come back even better than you were before. Remind your team members of all they have learned and accomplished and ask: What should we stop doing now? What should we start doing now? What should we continue doing?
- SHARE STORIES. Throughout the past year, your team stepped up in phenomenal ways. Did you notice? Revisit some of the moments of kindness you noticed from individual team members and double-down on sharing those stories worth celebrating. Tell them at staff meetings. (In-Person & Virtual), create a weekly newsletter or email, post photos & stories on bulletin boards, and interview your team members about those special moments on video. Too busy to notice? Start noticing now and sharing those stories out loud with your team members and your customers. Remind your employees of the difference they made last year and the difference they continue to make. One note: It’s fine to do “group thank you” events or “group pats on the back,” but they aren’t a substitute paying attention to the individual contributions of each member of your team. Start celebrating the stories they create.
- GET TO KNOW EACH OTHER AGAIN. “Don’t worry, Donna! We’ll get back to the STARS program again soon!” That’s another thing I’m hearing a lot of and they’re referring to our customer service education program. My advice? Don’t be in such a hurry! Before you re-focus your team members on customer service, spend some time on the employee experience. Have a little fun and get to know each other again. If you’re able to gather people together, great! Or do it virtually or as some sort of a hybrid event. However you do it, use icebreakers, games, and activities to re-build connections between your team members.
- CREATE A VISION FOR THE FUTURE. Involve people at EVERY level of the organization to create a vision for what your next normal looks like. Conduct listening and work group sessions to get clear on what your culture could look like moving forward. Lead the conversation by asking “now that we’ve been through this experience, what do you know about what really matters?” and “How can we use our work in this company to really make a difference?” It’s time to give your team members something to care about again, beyond the pandemic. Hint: It’s not profits. Yes, your bottom line is important but that’s not what’s going to inspire your team. Work with them to get back to a purpose they can get behind and before you know it, they’ll have their mojo back.
What about you? What are you doing to help your team get their mojo back? Comment below and let me know. All ideas are welcome.
Donna Cutting, CSP is the Author of 3 books including 501 Ways to Roll Out the Red Carpet for Your Customers (Career Press, 2015) and the forthcoming Employees First! Inspire, Engage, and Focus on the Heart of Your Organization (due to be released in April, 2022 by Red Wheel-Weiser/Career Press) View video tips at www.theredcarpetway.tv