15 Easy Ways to Celebrate Customer Service Week (and Do a Bang-up Job of It, Too)

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“The way you treat your employees is the way they treat your clients” – Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS

With Customer Service Week only five days away, I thought I would share with you a few more ideas and resources to help make the planning and execution of a fabulous day easier for you. Below are my 15 helpful tidbits. Please e-mail me your stories and photos from your week’s celebrations. I will be happy to share them with our readers.

  1. Create and send a daily Customer Service Week newsletter to all the members of your team/department/company as a quick way to keep everyone apprised of the day’s events, remind people of requirements for the next day, announce winners, and highlight superior service instances or a team member’s accomplishments.
  2. Put together a yearbook with photos, stories, or anything that made the week special and memorable. I combined the yearbook aspect with a cookbook our print department bound for us. Each member of the department received a copy. To earn money for next year’s celebration, you could check with management about selling copies to those outside your team for $5 or $10. Here are three of the recipes I included in our cookbook –  Cathleen’s Favorite Recipe – Barbecue Drumsticks Cathleen’s Favorite Recipe – Black Moons Cathleen’s Favorite Recipe – Quiche Lorrainehandwritten thank you
  3. Every day have each person write at least one way that three people within the company helped him or her do a great job servicing clients. Give examples. Then complete an official thank you note and send it via interoffice mail. Each person on the team should choose three new people each day.
  4. Give a contest winner an extra 30 minutes or an hour for lunch on the day of his or her choosing.
  5. Award prime parking spaces to winners or on a rotating basis to each CSR.Reserved Parking
  6. Give gift cards to each member of your Customer Service Team. Also great for contest winners. DD Thank you gift cardgold-gift-box-small gift card  Starbucks gift card Apple Gift card (disclaimer, the links in this post are not affiliate links, merely suggestions of gifts that have worked well for me in the past.)
  7. Hold a special breakfast or luncheon in honor of the Customer Service Team, either on site or off.
  8. Work with local sports teams, theaters, art centers for possible donation of tickets as prizes.
  9. Hold a storytelling contest of the best and worst client experiences each CSR has had. If you can’t find an electric fireplace to tell the stories around, you can download a fireplace app for your phone to add a special touch.talent show
  10. Hold a before or after hours talent show or karaoke contest. If it works logistically, hold the contest in the department’s conference room throughout the day. Alternatively, the contest could be held in the cafeteria or some other place that would bring exposure of Customer Service Week to the entire company as a means to encourage further participation.
  11. Have CSRs write a short piece (this post is 576 words) on how they got started in Customer Service and what they love most about it. Post the stories on a central bulletin board.
  12. Ask upper management to write personal thank you notes to each CSR.
  13. Allow CSRs and others to send Thank You balloons (for your service, dedication, cheerful help, whatever fits) to
    the CSRs. You can charge 25 cents per balloon and 15 cents to add a personal note (check with Human Resources regarding message guidelines to stay compliant). An inexpensive way to handle this is to write on plain balloons with colored Sharpies.
  14. Hold a regional food festival as a mid-week pick-me-up. This could be done either as a potluck or as complimentary take-out food.
  15. Hold a photo contest to capture the spirit of the week on film. Alternatively, you could put together a video of the week for your company intranet.

If you do nothing else next week, make certain that you thank everyone who helps you service your clients well. Remember, although there may only be a few days to pull together an official celebration, it is never too late to say Thank You to someone. Sticky note thank you

Power On

Teamwork in the office

Power On

By Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS

 “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, or the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change. ” ~Charles Darwin

 

Flash! Crack! Pop!

Darkness engulfs us. Silence, too, but for the pelting of rain and hail on the house and windows.

A neighbor’s tree has just split in two and taken out the power to the neighborhood as it fell on the power lines across the street, pulling the wires from her house in the process. A few of us neighbors gather in the storm to check on our neighbor and her ninety-nine year old mother. We assign ourselves various tasks of calling the town about the tree, the power company about the wires, and vacationing neighbors about windows left open and the severity of the storm. We also call our neighbor’s son a State Trooper, to make sure his Mum and grandmother have the help they need during this frightening time in the middle of the night. All the while, we take turns staying with our neighbor and bringing her updates as new developments occur.

Change is hard enough to deal with when one has time to see its approach and adjust. There is so much emotionally to come to terms with during times of change that often goes unnoticed under the best of circumstances. When change takes us by surprise and places us in a state of complete upheaval, we feel the lack of control and the effects of all our emotions on a highly magnified scale. Without someone to keep us grounded and to guide us through the change, we, like my neighbor in the storm, fall to pieces in some fashion, unable to think clearly and take the necessary steps to deal with the change.

Recently in New England, the news was full of accounts of a particular company in the throes of sudden upheaval after decades of rumblings from within the beast of an acrimonious family struggle for control of the business. In the early stages of this most recent installment of a public struggle, it was easy to see the ulterior motives of some of the participants in spite of the veils with which they covered these motives.

This brings me to the point of my comparing two seemingly dissimilar situations.  Change will happen. It’s inevitable. Whether it happens at its natural pace or thrusts itself upon us is irrelevant. How we handle the change matters. Whether our handling of it produces three-dimensional, positive results is determined by the motives involved in the change. Our motives may be pure or they may not be pure. The motives of the other parties involved in the change also may be pure or they may not be pure. Whatever goes into the change, will have an impact on the results. “Garbage in. Garbage out.” as the saying goes.

Conversely, if you put good stuff into the change, it will produce results that are good for everyone. Here are a few things to consider the next time you are facing change:

  • If you are the instrument of change, ask yourself what your motives are in instigating the change. Be honest or there is no point in reading any further. If your motives are self-centered, admit it. Then, decide what you are going to do next. You can continue on your original path, or you can decide to care about the people left in your wake by asking yourself if there is another way to get what you want while helping others in the process. In the corporate situation above, the motives behind the change were the best-kept secret everybody knew yet the offending parties would not acknowledge, thinking instead that they were hiding them. Mid-way through the ordeal, it reached the following point:

“Any reasonable person would begin to put into question whether or not this is going to happen, whether [the defendant] will be able to put this together,” said Richard Nicolazzo of the communications firm Nicolazzo & Associates, which has advised companies such as MetLife and Nortek in acquisition deals. “If past is prologue, I’m not optimistic. I think that this has been a situation where it’s no longer a rational or economic discussion. It’s about, ‘You’re not going to win at any cost,’ even if it means putting this company into some kind of reorganization.’”

  • Do not be shortsighted in your quest for big profits. My thirty-plus years in the corporate world have allowed me to witness well-planned change strategies that made the companies stronger on paper and at their core because the companies took into consideration all the aspects of what the changes would mean to everyone involved. I have also witnessed hastily made changes designed to boost the Bottom Line for the upcoming shareholders meeting that ultimately produced devastating results.

The advice that my grandfather gave me when buying my first car holds true for all of Life’s decisions:

“I you are pressured into buying the car without being allowed to step back and consider the deal from all angles, walk away because the deal’s no good. If it were good, it would stand on its own.”

  • If your goal is not simply to survive the change but to thrive throughout the change process, be certain to include solid change management practices into your strategy. By helping your employees to deal with the emotional aspects of change throughout each stage of the technical/physical change process, you will have a workforce fully able to support the change from beginning to end, becoming advocates as opposed to adversaries.

Copyright © 2014 – Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS

All rights reserved. It is strictly prohibited to copy, redistribute, republish or modify any materials or software contained on the cerossiterpcs.com website or in subsequent support without the prior written consent of Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS.

Feeble, Foolish, Wise, or Skillful

“Feeble, Foolish, Wise, or Skillful”

By Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS

 

“The feeble tremble before opinion, the foolish defy it, the wise judge it, the skillful direct it.”

– Mme. Jeanne Roland –

 

Today’s issue of The Rossiter Report is simple and straightforward – a meditation for the week. Take this week and gauge your reactions to other’s opinions (clients’, coworkers’, everyone’s) in comparison to the quote above. Once you see where you stand, determine if there is some other place in the spectrum you would rather fit, then work towards that goal. If you seek, truly, to build a team that has a great, positive impact on your company,  your success in this endeavor will be directly related to where you fall, ultimately, in the line-up.

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Copyright © 2014 – Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS

All rights reserved. It is strictly prohibited to copy, redistribute, republish or modify any materials or software contained on the cerossiterpcs.com website or in subsequent support without the prior written consent of Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS.

The Rossiter Report – Volume 3; Number 2 – “Brown Grass – How I Came to See the Light”

The Rossiter Report – Volume 3; Number 2

By Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS

“Brown Grass – How I Came to See the Light”

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“There are none so blind as those who refuse to see.” – Old Proverb –

Gazing out upon the nearly-full tidal pool at the Plum Island Wildlife Refuge in Newburyport, Massachusetts on this unseasonably warm, early April day, I see brown. The parking lot in which I sit, writing, is at a slightly higher elevation than the tidal pool and the adjoining fields of marsh grasses. This vantage point affords enough of an aerial view to see partially over the hillocks in the near distance, across the harbor to the towns of Essex and Ipswich on the horizon. This bird’s-eye view (albeit that of a bird perched on a very low tree branch or a parking sign) places my vision above the fields of newly mown marsh grasses to see dozens of acres of brown. Even the tidal pool is cast with brown in the harsh light of the noon sun.

Very few people stop here for more than thirty seconds. To them, it is just a brown and lifeless landscape; boring. The only people who stay for any length of time beyond the thirty second mark are those birdwatchers who stay only long enough to spot (then consequently check-off) a new bird on their list, with no intention of actually observing the bird and getting to know it. What astounds me is the wealth of beauty that this spot possesses and is missed by those who come in search of a pre-determined idea of what is worthy of notice.

A few years ago (wink, wink) when I was eight years old, I ventured into the kitchen after viewing my Saturday morning cartoons and stood next to my mother at the kitchen sink. “Mumma, I’m bored,” I announced. In her characteristic, gentle firmness, yet in an uncharacteristically direct tone, my mother looked down at me (without skipping a beat in the washing of the breakfast dishes) and said, “Cathleen. The only people who get bored are boring people,” returning her gaze to the garden while continuing with the dishes. Not only was I NEVER bored again, but also this experience taught me to seek out continually something new. A treasure or lesson could be waiting for me in the haphazard pattern of a first coat of paint on the front of a dresser; or the way a reed bends and sings in the midst of a storm yet never breaks; or the fact that the overriding expanse of brown before me is, in point of fact, made up of greens, reds, purples, yellows, and blues in myriad variations on a theme.

The same thing is true of the people we hire and the customers who purchase from us. Without the individual talents, viewpoints, and insights each one brings to the table (the painter’s palette, as it were), then the work of art we call our company or team would lack the depth, luster, and uniqueness that makes our work a masterpiece.

Consciousness is a choice. Simply wanting to be aware does not make it happen. One must choose to open one’s eyes and mind. One must choose to see everything, not only what is pleasant or comfortable.

The thing that changed for me on that Saturday morning so many years ago is that I decided to stop refusing to see the world in front of me. I became determined to remain blind no longer. This choice of consciousness has brought a depth, richness, and joy to my life and work that I have carried with me to every aspect of my life, particularly in relation to the people I encounter. I choose to uncover the layers of wealth and richness buried in each person in front of me at any given time so as to bring the very best to the relationship, project, team, or circumstance. In doing so I find no need for the all-too-standard jealousy, defensiveness, and subsequent subterfuge that plagues Cubicle Farms around the world. Allowing for the enrichment of the team with the free-flow of each other’s talents, insights, and experience (as opposed to the general practice of trying to control and suppress it all) creates an infectious dynamic among the team members that creates a pride in the work and an enthusiasm to produce the best; to be a part of the best. I, for one, would much rather spend the 10+ hours each day that I am at work in the quest to produce the best, to be part of the best in a lively, dynamic environment. When one ponders the alternative, which is what one has become all-too-used-to in the working environment, one wonders why one hasn’t seen the light sooner.

 

Copyright © 2014 – Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS

All rights reserved. It is strictly prohibited to copy, redistribute, republish or modify any materials or software contained on the cerossiterpcs.com website or in subsequent support without the prior written consent of Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS.

Think Tank Tuesday – V1;N3 – Listening and Learning

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Today we think about the critical role that listening plays in our ability to serve those around us. Take time today to think about how well you truly listen to what people are saying, remembering that listening involves more than physically hearing the words that are spoken to you.

Listening involves observing and processing the physical and environmental cues that are being sent to you as well as keeping yourself clear of any hidden agendas you may have set in place for the outcome you are hoping to elicit.

Listening involves learning from past encounters with a person as to how he or she processes information, or the manner in which he or she communicates. Perhaps a person needs only the critical pieces of information in order to come to a decision. Some people need every gory detail to arrive at the same conclusion. Others need time and physical space in order to process, while still others need to work out a solution on their own before to be certain that he or she had fully grasped the situation.

The list is as endless as the stars in the sky because there are so many factors that go into the communication between people. This means that each person needs to remember that what works for us most likely will not work for the person with whom we are communicating.

Finally, do not underestimate the power of your personal agenda for a particular communication to completely destroy effective communication. The presence of an agenda inherently denies communication because the agenda is, in fact, the outcome, therefore, there is no communication. Oftentimes we are not aware that an agenda exists, so when communication breaks down, we are dumbfounded and become frustrated, attributing the breakdown to the other person or people involved.

Paying attention, clearing out all ulterior motives, remembering what we have seen and experienced, and learning to work with the needs of the person in front of us will take the act of communication you are currently experiencing, to a higher level. 

Until the next time, I send you all my best wishes.

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Copyright © 2013 – Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS

All rights reserved. It is strictly prohibited to copy, redistribute, republish or modify any materials or software contained on the cerossiterpcs.com website or in subsequent support without the prior written consent of Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS.

Motivational Monday – V2:N3 – Leading By Example

Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing.

– Albert Schweitzer –

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Until the next time, I wish you all my best.

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Copyright, 2013 – Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS

All rights reserved. It is strictly prohibited to copy, redistribute, republish or modify any materials or software contained on the cerossiterpcs.com website or in subsequent support without the prior written consent of Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS.

Think Tank Tuesday – V1;N2 – The Power of Leadership

Power vs. Leadership

In honor of the various Presidents whose Birthdays we celebrate this month, great men and great leaders who truly took their positions seriously, with a full understanding of tremendous responsibility that was placed upon their shoulders to lead an entire nation of people, caring for the welfare of each and all, I think it àpropos to take a solid look at the attitude we have regarding our own positions of leadership.

Are we truly trying to lead the people we are responsible for or are we more concerned about the power we possess? Are we striving to become truly great leaders, or have we become bullies who take pleasure in controlling others and showing our importance through blustering? As this newest February comes to a close in a few short weeks, let’s take this time to grow into our own, personal Oval Office being ever mindful of the privilege and the responsibility that accompanies it. If we feel as though we are lacking the skills or training to handle the responsibility, find a way to obtain the missing components. By becoming a great leader who is focused on bringing out the best in and providing the best for the people in our charge, we create a highly motivated, hard-working team who gives their all for the welfare of all. I can’t think of a more rewarding way to spend the day.

Until the next time, I send you all my best wishes.

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Copyright © 2013 – Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS

All rights reserved. It is strictly prohibited to copy, redistribute, republish or modify any materials or software contained on the cerossiterpcs.com website or in subsequent support without the prior written consent of Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS.

The Rossiter Report – Volume 2; Number 1 – “Soul Searching and Transformation”

The Rossiter Report – V2:N1

By Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS

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“Soul Searching and Transformation”

Good Afternoon, Everyone. It is great to be back with you at the relative beginning of this brand new year. As St. Valentine’s Day is a mere few hours away, I am taking this time to talk about the importance of putting into words what it is that makes you so passionate about the work that you do.

As I was meeting earlier today with the owner of a small, but thriving, business (I’ll call him Marc) looking for a way to help him with his staffing issues, I was sensing a high level of frustration with the fact that his staff just does not take pride in their job or the work that they do. Marc is truly passionate about his business and has been so from the start. After twenty years in business, he is continually expanding and is focused on providing the best quality products and service to his customers (whom he views as welcome guests and family), yet he cannot understand why his employees do not see things the way he does, why they will not learn to do the simplest aspects of their job, and why they take no initiative in solving problems. My heart was breaking as I listened to Marc’s dilemma because I knew the solution was so simple (hard work, but simple nonetheless).

How many of you have felt the same way? How many of you wish you knew the magic formula for completely changing people’s attitudes? Well, fret no more. I give you the same advice I gave to Marc. The answer is simple. If you have not taken the time to write (yes, write it down) the reason you are so passionate about your work, your business, and what you envision for your business, then you will not be able to convey that passion properly. In Marc’s case, the unnamed passion turned to frustration at the sight of sloppily done tasks and the general lack of pride and connection he saw in his employees.

Oftentimes, until we dig up the root of our frustration, we actually communicate the opposite of what we intend. In Marc’s case, by not understanding why he is so passionate about his business, he is instead conveying to his employees that he is angry at them all the time. Without being able to articulate what it is he is angry about, his employees can only assume (and we know where that leads) that Marc is angry at them personally. This is a perfect example of why my Three C’s of Superlative Service are invaluable. Unless and until we become Conscious of the world within and around us, we will not develop the Compassion we need to get to the root or core of the person we are dealing with (the passion that is driving them at the particular moment we encounter them), therefore, we are incapable of Communicating the truth of the matter at hand. If we are incapable of communicating, the relationship breaks down.

Another effect of not taking the time to write out what it is you are passionate about in your business, along with the “why” and including your vision for your business, is that this lack of clarity is directly transferred to your employees. What Marc needed to see was that without any clear delineation of (to use real estate as a metaphor) your property lines, your employees do not know where to put their feet. Your employees are left without solid ground upon which to stand, therefore remain adrift and insecure about what is expected of them. This insecurity takes their focus off of serving the customer because they have no clear understanding of what that means in the context of your business.

As the day comes to a close, do yourself a great favor and set aside some time every day (in Marc’s case, someone who is struggling to find time in his day for everything, I suggested taking fifteen minutes each day) to put on paper what it is you love about the work you do and WHY you love each item on your list. The “what” is essential, but the “why” is critical. Without knowing why we do anything, we will never have a full grasp on the “what”. Having had decades of practice in this art, I am able to say with certainty that you will begin to see a change in the people around you and how they relate to you. You will be unconsciously communicating your passion in the proper manner, in a manner that people will finally be able to understand without you having to utter a word (although, once you have the understanding of your passion, you may not be able to keep quiet).

Until next time, I send you all my best wishes.

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Coppyright, 2013 – Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS. All rights reserved. It is strictly prohibited to copy, redistribute, republish or modify any materials or software contained on the cerossiterpcs.com website or in subsequent support without the prior written consent of Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS.

Applying Client Relationship Principles to Performance Reviews

The Rossiter Report -“Applying Client Relationship Principles to Performance Reviews”

By Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS

This past week I have been in the process of cleaning out my stored papers and, in the process, have come across old performance reviews. In reading through them and comparing them to the reviews and evaluation process of today’s world I realize that not much has changed in the past thirty years in this regard. Employees are expected to evaluate their own performance and set their career goals at predetermined intervals. Managers are expected to do likewise, not only for their underlings, but for themselves as well – all with the merest cursory training and guidance along the way. My experience has taught me that this process is taken seriously in name only and that it is rarely used with any sense of honesty. Employees are never quite certain as to what to say because they simply want to be left alone to do the job they were hired for and feel that their manager should be paying attention to the quality of the job they are doing because this is the job of a manager (“How can he/she say that he/she is managing me when I have to tell him/her what it is I have been doing all this time?”). Managers all too often use performance reviews for their political motives, as well as to punish or reward particular underlings who they wish to control or to elevate (regardless of the actual merits of the chosen employee).

To evaluate something means, according to Webster’s Dictionary, “1: to determine or fix the value of,” or “2: to determine the significance, worth, or condition of usually by careful appraisal and study”. In all honesty, I have rarely come across anyone (underling or manager) who carefully considered the significance, worth, or value of the performance they were to evaluate. The employees dashed off their self-evaluations at the last minute by simply copying and pasting the statements from the previous year. The managers, invariably, did likewise adding the necessary verbiage to substantiate whatever financial goals were imposed upon them by their superiors (or to substantiate whatever political goal they were pursuing with a particular employee). In the words of my favorite history teacher, Shady Ray as we affectionately called him, “The Golden Shovel Rule has run roughshod over your submissions”.

In order for performance evaluations to have any meaning, the mentality and processes surrounding them need to be overhauled. Thinking about the concept of evaluating performance as a whole, it is critical to understand that in order to evaluate someone you need to get to know that person. In order to get to know someone; you must enter in to a relationship with him or her. This is where client relationship principles come into play. Your employees are internal clients (this term is bandied about the corporate world with little real understanding of what this truly means).This means that, as business owner or manager of people, you must do two things:

  1. Get to know your clients (employees) beyond the statistical aspect. Managing involves directing, instructing, and guiding. In order to accomplish this effectively, you have to acquaint yourself with the person you are directing and guiding, otherwise, you do not know what he/she needs direction or guidance on, nor do you know the best way in which to guide him or her. Additionally, getting to know the people who help you run your business (and keep you in business) lets them know that you care about them and recognize the value that they (as individuals) bring to your company. This knowledge brings with it a sense of security which frees your employees up to honestly focus on the success of the company by working as a team, rather than focusing on saving their individual derrieres by making everyone else look bad (which only encourages and accelerates the cycle of sabotage). In this step Honesty and Sincerity are critical. Frankly, without them you are  wasting your time and everyone else’s. Employees can sense in-authenticity and are, in fact, on the lookout for it.
  2. In the process of becoming conscious of the people you have hired to help you run your business (or department), you are simultaneously becoming aware of their needs and desires. [Please Note that if you do not care about someone, it makes no difference how much you know about him/her]. When it comes to your relationship with your clients, once you have opened your eyes to their needs, and have worked hard to resolve their problem and fill their need, you now need to transfer the information in your head to them. Here is where communication comes in. Generally, this is the easy part because, in getting to know your clients (employees), you learn to speak their individual language and become a fluent speaker. As a result, you now begin looking out for opportunities to communicate with your clients by way of anticipating needs and solutions, researching logistics, and telling your clients (employees) about it.

There are times when, particularly when you are new to the concept of effective communication, you are absolutely challenged in getting your message across clearly. Oftentimes you will be completely blocked from communicating because of the emotional state your client is in at that moment (in the workplace this would translate to the prevailing morale). So, what do you do in this situation? If you find that your attempts at communicating are ineffective, downshift gears to First and get to know more about your employees. Ask questions that will help to clarify what the needs are and work together to determine the  best way satisfy your mutual needs and reach your goals together. This clarification process helps you to communicate more effectively with your employees and is, in itself, communicating that you are truly ready, willing, and able to help.

As you work your way through the above two actions you will discover that the performance evaluation process will become easier and more effective. You will begin to discover the process that best fits the refreshed corporate culture that will develop as a result of your efforts. By seeing your employees as clients and putting your honest effort in to treating them as such, with the vision to see that your employees should be pursued as readily as you pursue your clients because they bring tremendous value to your company, you will also begin to see the positive impact this new culture has on your bottom line. Remember, your employees become who you tell them they are to you

Copyright © 2012 – Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS

All rights reserved. It is strictly prohibited to copy, redistribute, republish or modify any materials or software contained on the cerossiterpcs.com website or in subsequent support without the prior written consent of Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS.

The Rossiter Report – Re-humanizing the Workplace to Elevate Client Relations

The Rossiter Report“Re-humanizing the Workplace to Elevate Client Relations”

By Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS

 

In my wanderings this past week, I have come across a good deal of jargon used in reference to employees. The examples I came across range from Human CapitalIn-sourcing, and Onboarding, to Sweat the Asset, Surplused, Extract the Max, and Deselect. With terms like these being used to refer to the human beings (in other words, people) that make your business run and bring in the profit that fills your wallet as business owner, it is no wonder that  more and more employees lose all sense of loyalty and desire to give 1000% to the company they are working for. It is no wonder that workplace morale is at such a low level. It is no wonder that employees readily treat clients as they are treated themselves. One thing that business owners overlook is the fact that your employees are the ones who keep you in business. If your clients are your reason for being in business, your employees are the reason you stay in business. Without your employees, you cannot run your business.

Looking at the terms referenced above, think about what happens in your way of thinking about the person that the term refers to. For example, what do you think of when you say the word “employee” versus what you think of when you say the term “Human Capital”.  The definition of Employee refers to “a person” where as “capital” refers to “accumulated goods devoted to the production of other goods; or accumulated possessions calculated to bring in income”.  How would you feel if you were viewed as a good or possession? Go through each of the terms used above and return to the original definition (I have attached links to the definitions for your convenience). By looking at the original meaning of the words we bandy about the office and industry thoughtlessly, we can get a good hold on what it is we are actually communicating. Once we realize what we are truly saying about the people who are serving us by running our business for us, we begin to get a handle on why a particular culture exists in our company.

In order to get a handle on the various ways in which your company is devaluing and de-humanizing your employees, try jotting down all the jargon you use during the day when referring to the people you have hired to run your business. Even if you do not make note of all the references you make, you will be quite surprised at how often you use jargon relating to your employees and how truly awful these terms can be. Once you have a list of terms you use, write down how each term makes you feel as the target of the term (include in your feelings the way you now relate to the work you are doing for the person giving you the label). Finally, think about how you want your employees to feel, then choose (and use) your words accordingly. It is easy to get caught up in the buzz-word frenzy because buzz-words make you feel as though you belong to the cool crowd, those who are In-the-Know. What we often do not think about is that, once you become part of a group you exclude everyone who is not part of the group; Those People on The Outside become of no value. Remember, your employees become who you tell them they are.

Copyright © 2012 – Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS

All rights reserved. It is strictly prohibited to copy, redistribute, republish or modify any materials or software contained on the cerossiterpcs.com website or in subsequent support without the prior written consent of Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS.