Archive for the ‘Seeing Work as an Act of Service’ Category

The Gift of Giving at Work: B’s Diner Outreach

December 13th, 2010

The heart of B’s Diner is its owners: Brenda Der and her husband Bob Ziniak. The fact that this is no ordinary diner is evident by Brenda’s comment: “We just feel that this is our home. And we want to bring people into our home.”

Shortly after they opened the diner in 2002, Brenda noticed people in the back alley regularly going through garbage dumpsters, carrying what they could in their shopping carts. She was emotionally impacted by talking to them and the pain she saw. She decided to help.

Brenda started to feed the people that were hungry. And she invited those that were cold into her warm restaurant.

Shortly after, she and her husband began holding weekly dinners for the less fortunate. They covered the cost of these dinners through their tips and donations from customers. On occasion, they would provide entertainment: a movie and popcorn or a karaoke night.

This week, Brenda and Bob will host their annual Christmas celebration, which includes a meal and entertainment by many of the diner’s clientele. While everyone is invited, the Christmas meal will be free for the under-privileged. Others who can afford it are asked to bring a donation.

Their generosity is even more inspirational when we hear about Brenda and Bob’s own financial struggles. Last summer, their son, Jeremy, died when he was swept into an undercurrent. The diner was closed for two months after his death, leaving the couple with unpaid bills and arrears in rent payments. Not to mention the unexpected funeral costs for their son.

Their beloved customers were quick to help. Not only did they join an 18 day search for their son’s body, they threw a fundraiser to help the family with the bills and arrears so that they could reopen the diner.

Many of the customers support Brenda and Bob’s efforts through contributing to the B’s Diner Outreach. They donate things like money, clothing and sleeping bags. One customer said, “In a sense, it’s like a community project. It’s very much a restaurant where we are both customers and participants.”

Recently, Brenda and Bob have faced additional financial stress: the transmission in their van died and the two ovens in their restaurant broke down – irreparable due to age. They have no money to replace the ovens.

Yet, in spite of their added difficulties, the Christmas celebration will go on, albeit, at a different location. How does Brenda respond to the breakdown of the ovens?

“We’ve had bigger hurdles than that this year, a lot bigger. As down as we are, it helps to do this. It does make me feel better to help other people.”

Kindness and generosity at work goes hand in hand with spirit at work. Not only does the person receiving the act of kindness benefit, so too does the person showing kindness and anyone observing. It just feels good to help another out or to see someone being helped out.

How are you offering the gift of giving at work? Is there something that you and your colleagues can be doing? What about your organization?

Want to learn more? Sign up for our monthly newsletter where we will explore this topic in more detail. Read the book Rethinking Your Work and learn how to create spirit at work.

Val Kinjerski, PhD, is a leading authority in the field of employee engagement and on the topic of “spirit at work.” A consultant, agent of change and professional speaker, she helps companies and organizations increase employee retention and boost productivity by reigniting employees’ love for their work. Check out her Spirit at Work Program and Inspired Leadership training at www.kaizensolutions.org. Val is the author of Rethinking Your Work and Rethinking Your Work Guidebook. Available now at www.rethinkingyourwork.com.

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How Healthy is Your Workplace?

May 6th, 2010

Effective health programs extend beyond the physical and mental health of employees and occupational health and safety. They focus on creating organizational cultures and conditions that inspire a highly engaged and effective workforce.  Companies that develop and promote comprehensive strategies that include health programs and engagement strategies can expect to reap the rewards through more engaged employees, lower costs, improved productivity and financial performance.

The National Quality Institute (NQI) provides twelve questions for organizations to see how they measure up to the NQI Healthy Workplace Criteria. These questions provide a great starting point for organizations interested in becoming healthier. 

1. Is a strategic approach in place for developing and sustaining a healthy workplace and is it based on employee needs?

2. Do your leaders demonstrate, through their comments and action, a commitment to the management of a healthy workplace?

3. Is there an overall health policy in place stating your organization’s intent to protect and promote the health of all employees by providing as healthy an environment as possible?

4. Do you have a formal assessment process to determine employee needs, attitudes and preferences in regard to healthy workplace programs?

5. Are the workplace health assessment results analyzed and are improvement goals set out in a Healthy Workplace Plan?

6. Does the Healthy Workplace Plan lead to improvement of all the key elements of a healthy workplace – the Physical Environment, Health Practices and the Social Environment and Personal Resources?

7. Do you have a mechanism in place to review relevant occupational health and safety legislation and are you in compliance with such legislation/regulations?

8. Do you have methods in place that make it easy for people to provide ongoing input on healthy workplace and organizational issues and to seek assistance?

9. Do you measure employee satisfaction levels (and I would add employee engagement and spirit at work) in order to improve the workplace?

10. Do you identify the contributions of your employees and provide appropriate recognition and rewards?

11. Are there good levels and trends in employee satisfaction (and I would add employee engagement and spirit at work) and morale?

12. Do you train your employees in healthy workplace principles and methods?

At Kaizen Solutions, we work with organizations and employees to create positive, healthy workplaces that foster well-being and spirit at work. We know that the factors that contribute to a healthy workplace also contribute to employee spirit at work.

Want to learn more? Sign up for our monthly newsletter where we will explore this topic in more detail. Read the book Rethinking Your Work and learn how to create spirit at work.

Val Kinjerski, PhD, is a leading authority in the field of employee engagement and on the topic of “spirit at work.” A consultant, agent of change and professional speaker, she helps companies and organizations increase employee retention and boost productivity by reigniting employees’ love for their work. Check out her Spirit at Work Program and Inspired Leadership training at www.kaizensolutions.org. Val is the author of Rethinking Your Work and Rethinking Your Work Guidebook. Available now at www.rethinkingyourwork.com.

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Employee Engagement: What is an employer or employee supposed to do?

February 5th, 2010

Research is showing us that what drives engagement is different for different groups, whether that be generations, sector, gender, or position. However, a study completed by the Kingston University for the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), found that two factors were most important in driving up engagement, for all groups.  and employee voice emerged as the most important drivers, regardless of group or sector. The third most important driver was the way in which senior managers communicate with employees.

Meaningfulness of work

Here are three ways to increase employee engagement:

1. Connect to the meaning underlying the work

We want to know that our work matters. That we are making a difference. That someone or something is benefiting. Understanding the meaning underlying our work is key to being fully engaged and to experiencing spirit at work.

All work has meaning. While it is easier to see the meaning underlying a public sector position or a job of service such as teaching, nursing or social work, it is important to dig for the meaning in all jobs. Employers can help employees make the link between their work and the broader organizational goals and to connect with the organization’s deeper purpose.

Appreciating the contribution we make through our work goes a long way to increase our spirit at work and our sense of well-being. In my workshops, I help employees uncover the deeper meaning of their work, why it matters to them, and to appreciate themselves and their contribution. I also help them make the connection between their work and the deeper purpose of the organization.

2. Ensure that employee’s have a voice.

Regardless of what role we play within the organization, we want to be acknowledged and heard. Not surprisingly, being heard and having the ability to share your views upwards was the second engagement driver. We want to be involved. To participate. To be able to express our views. And to know that our opinions will be taken seriously by our immediate supervisor and senior managers.

There are several ways to give employees a voice. The most important is to create an environment where employees feel like they can contribute openly and honestly and that their opinions matter. Then, ask for their opinion and ideas. Give them an opportunity to participate in planning sessions. Ask for advice in meetings. Make sure that you let them know they are being heard.

3. Share the vision and make communication a priority.

I believe that the key role of senior management in any organization is to create a compelling vision for the organization. What is the purpose of this organization? What do we stand for? Where are we going? The next step is to share the vision and deeper purpose of the organization with employees and to inspire employees to fulfill that purpose and achieve the vision. To connect with the vision and see how their work contributes.

Communication is key. Almost every employee survey points to concern with communication. Yet, for employees to be fully engaged, they need to experience communication. Both ways. Earlier we spoke about the need for employees to have a voice. Here we are talking about information coming to the employee and senior management being open, approachable and transparent.

Want to learn more? Sign up for our monthly newsletter where we will explore this topic in more detail. Read the book Rethinking Your Work (link below) and learn how to create spirit at work.

Val Kinjerski, PhD, is a leading authority in the field of employee engagement and on the topic of “spirit at work.” A consultant, agent of change and professional speaker, she helps companies and organizations increase employee retention and boost productivity by reigniting employees’ love for their work. Check out her Spirit at Work Program and Inspired Leadership training at www.kaizensolutions.org. Val is the author of Rethinking Your Work and Rethinking Your Work Guidebook. Available now at www.rethinkingyourwork.com.

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Happy at Home, Happy at Work

December 16th, 2009

For the longest time we were counselled to keep work and home separate. Leave work at work and home at home. We thought that we could just shut down parts of ourselves as we moved back and forth between the two.

Research is showing us that it doesn’t work that way. A study by Marshall and Kelly Goldsmith has shown an “incredibly high correlation between people’s happiness and meaning at work (something I call spirit at work) and happiness and meaning at home.”

Because work and home are such different environments, the researchers concluded that whether we experience happiness and meaning tends to depend more on who we are than where we are. So they suggest that if we are going through a negative work life experience, that we ought to be looking within rather than blaming others, our jobs or our communities.

In my own research, I have found that it is not so much what we do, but how we do it and how we view it that leads to spirit at work. This is where the “rethinking” part comes into play. As we start to think about whom we are serving and how our work makes a difference in the lives of others, our experience of work and how we feel about ourselves changes. The more we contribute, the deeper meaning and fulfillment we experience and that leads to an increased sense of wellbeing.

Somewhat different from the Goldsmiths, I have found that people who experience spirit at work see its creation as a shared responsibility. Shared between the employee and the employer. Tapping into their personal power, they take responsibility for creating a positive work experience. At the same time, they hold the organization accountable to create the conditions that foster spirit at work.

The Goldsmith’s research had another finding worthy of report. “Overall satisfaction at work increased only if both the amount of happiness and meaning experienced by employees simultaneously increased.”  They needed to experience meaning and fun – both at home and at work – to feel satisfied.

At first glance, I was surprised by this finding. Until I thought about people in the helping professions like nurses, teachers, and social workers; employees exposed to difficult situations (e.g. police, medical emergency teams); others with great decision making responsibility (e.g., CEOs, Deputy Ministers, emergency doctors) or advocates. It became so clear that while their work was meaningful and had potential for long-term benefit, they needed opportunities to lighten up. To have fun. To enjoy short-term satisfaction. To re-energize.

Similarly, employees who are in jobs that appear meaningless need an opportunity to see how they are making a contribution. The focus on high short-term satisfaction quickly loses its lustre. That is why in my work, I help employees, regardless of position, uncover the deeper meaning of their work.

I am not surprised about the high correlation between our experience at work and home. We are only fooling ourselves if we believe that we can separate work and home or community. It takes an extraordinary amount of energy to keep them separate and even more so if we are experiencing difficulties.

What can we apply from this research to the workplace?

  1. Uncover the meaning in your work and in your life. Seek alignment between the two.
  2. Manage your energy. Refill your cup.
  3. Have fun. Celebrate successes.
  4. See your work as an act of service. Who are you serving and how is it contributing?
  5. Develop a sense of community at work. Encourage teams. Promote purpose and fun.
  6. Get interested in your colleagues. Take time to know them.
  7. As an employee, take responsibility for your own wellbeing and spirit at work.
  8. As an employer, create the conditions for employee well being and to foster spirit at work.
  9. Accept that work impacts home and vice versa and do what you can to support both.
  10. As an organization, be clear about the deeper purpose of the organization.
  11. Rethink your work. Get to the heart of what matters about your work.

 Val Kinjerski, PhD, is a leading authority in the field of employee engagement and on the topic of “spirit at work.” A consultant, agent of change and inspirational speaker, she helps companies and organizations increase employee retention and boost productivity by reigniting employees’ love for their work. Check out her Spirit at Work Program and Inspired Leadership training at www.kaizensolutions.org. Val is the author of Rethinking Your Work and Rethinking Your Work Guidebook. Available now at www.rethinkingyourwork.com. 

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Unleashing the hero within

December 10th, 2009

Social workers are often unsung heroes. Working with the disadvantaged and vulnerable, their work is mostly off the radar screen. Yet the work they do is courageous and often remarkable.

CNN has named Filipino Efren Peñaflorida its ‘2009 Hero of the Year.’ Efren is a social worker and educator in the Philippines, who works with Filipino youth by using a pushcart.

Peñaflorida and his group of volunteers take their Kariton Klasrum (pushcart classroom) to different sites across the city, every Saturday. They go to where the children are: the cemetery, the municipal trash dump, and the deplorable housing conditions. They teach basic lessons in Mathematics, English, and Science along with basic hygiene to poor and underserved children.

Peñaflorida knows that poor children are most susceptible to gang influence and membership. Just like the children he serves today, when he was younger, a gang member challenged to a fight. But, Efren walked away and embraced his education, promising to create a positive alternative for other children to build a better life.

At 28 years of age, Efren, the founder of “Dynamic Teen Company” offers Filipino youth an alternative to gangs through education.

“Our planet is filled with heroes, young and old, rich and poor, man, woman of different colors, shapes and sizes. We are one great tapestry. Each person has a hidden hero within, you just have to look inside you and search it in your heart, and be the hero to the next one in need,” said an emotional Peñaflorida, during his acceptance speech.

“So to each and every person inside in this theater and for those who are watching at home, the hero in you is waiting to be unleashed,” he added. “Serve, serve well, serve others above yourself and be happy to serve. As I always tell to my co-volunteers of the Dynamic Teen Company you are the change that you dream as I am the change that I dream and collectively, we are the change that this world needs to be.”

What would it take to unleash your hero? How can you serve others above yourself? How can you be a hero at work?

Seeing our work as an act of service is key to the experience of spirit at work, that sense that our work is meaningful, engaging and that we make a difference.

Val Kinjerski, PhD, is a leading authority in the field of employee engagement and on the topic of “spirit at work.” A consultant, agent of change and inspirational speaker, she helps companies and organizations increase employee retention and boost productivity by reigniting employees’ love for their work. Check out her Spirit at Work Program and Inspired Leadership training at www.kaizensolutions.org. Val is the author of Rethinking Your Work and Rethinking Your Work Guidebook. Available now at www.rethinkingyourwork.com.

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Can capitalism, spirit at work and social responsibility co-exist?

November 24th, 2009

Brunello Cucinelli has a philosophy of ethical capitalism. He is one of the world’s best known manufacturers of cashmere products and a business man with firm values.

At the age of 15, Cucinelli noticed a deep change in his father when he stopped being a farmer and got a job in a cement factory. He said, “My dad came home from the factory with tears in his eyes and I resolved that whatever I would do with my life, it would be an attempt to make work more human.” And he has.

Brunello Cucinelli shows that capitalism, social responsibility and spirit at work can co-exist. He says, “I believe in real capitalism. The company has to make profits, but I want to try to do it with the ethics of human dignity.” While forecasts indicate that global sales of luxury goods will fall by 8% this year, Cucinelli is still expanding. And revenues are expected to be 7% more than last year.

The Brunello Cucinelli website states that his biggest dream is a form of modern capitalism where profit is used to improve the condition of human life. He values his employees and believes in treating them well. Although they work in a factory, no one punches a time clock and everyone gets a 90 minute lunch break. They can relax in an olive orchard garden around his villa or use a sports complex he built. Flexibility is built in so that employees can respond to family matters.

He rewards his employees, paying some of them 40% more than levels dictated by Italian national wage agreements. He also rewards good workmanship and productivity.

Cucinelli promotes a certain philosophy. The walls of the plant are filled with plaques containing quotes from philosophers and writers, for example, Socrates: “A life without searching is not worth living;” Aristotle: “Nature does nothing that is useless;” and Galileo: “Behind every problem lies an opportunity.”

“When a human being finds favorable conditions of life he is more creative,” said Cucinelli. “If we want to make high-quality goods, we need human beings. To convince a human being to do humble work, we have to make that work dignified.”

Now that he is successful and living a very comfortable life, Cucinelli says, “The underlying question is what do to with the profits. Part of the profits have to go to help humanity. That means a church, a theater, or a work of charity. That is what I think the system of business should be.”

Brunello Cucinelli shows that treating employees well and fostering their spirit at work can contribute to productivity and profits.  

What will it take for companies to realize that treating their employees well and inspiring spirit at work leads to increased profits?

Val Kinjerski, PhD, is a leading authority in the field of employee engagement and on the topic of “spirit at work.” A consultant, agent of change and inspirational speaker, she helps companies and organizations increase employee retention and boost productivity by reigniting employees’ love for their work. Check out her Spirit at Work Program and Inspired Leadership training at www.kaizensolutions.org. Val is the author of Rethinking Your Work and Rethinking Your Work Guidebook. Available now at www.rethinkingyourwork.com and www.amazon.com .

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It is not about Me; It is about the Patient, the Customer, the Client

November 18th, 2009

What will it take for us to learn that employees, regardless of position need to be on the same page? That principals, teachers, admin support and the school janitor are working for the same purpose? That the CEO, directors, IT personnel, finance officers and front-line staff are all needed for the company to be successful? That patients need doctors, nurses, and technicians to work together for their wellbeing?

Last month, I wrote about the report “For Patients’ Sake,” written by Tony Dagnone, Saskatchewan’s Patient First Review Commissioner. The key message of his review was to put patients first. The Commissioner recommended a health care system designed to make the patient the centre of care and not the people who deliver the care – as he says it currently is.

 In the United States, the Joint Commission, a non-profit, independent group that accredits and certifies 17,000 health care organizations, created zero-tolerance policies in regards to intimidating and disruptive behaviours between medical staff.  Now a year later, the American College of Physician Executives has just released the results of a national survey of 13,000 physician and nurse executives. Bad behaviour still exists and it is still having a negative effect.

As reported on the American Medical News site, the findings renew questions about how to deal with issues arising from the doctor / nurse relationship. The results also point to the lack of effect of the zero-tolerance policies.

Practically all (97%) of respondents experienced unprofessional outbursts and overreactions. Some experienced this several times a year, whereas others experienced it weekly. Degrading comments and insults, yelling, cursing, and inappropriate joking were at the top of the list.  Some refused to work or speak with a colleague, whereas others tried to get someone unjustly disciplined or fired. Adults were throwing objects, spreading rumors. Sexual harassment was identified.

This is from a group of professionals who took the Hippocratic Oath or chose a career because they wanted to be of service to others. What happened?

To me, there is more to be concerned about than compliance to a zero-tolerance policy. Something has gone very wrong. And we know that simply telling someone to change their behaviour is not going to change it.

What would happen if we put the patient first? Truly put the patient first? If we remembered why we went into this profession in the first place? If we got to the heart of what matters about our work? If we started to see our work as an act of service? If we adopted the attitude that our work is about the patient, and not us? If we became interested in and supportive to our colleagues?

What would happen if our leaders and management focused on inspiring us, rather than disciplining us? If they really heard what we are up against? If they supported us to put the patient first? If they supported and recognized the team? If they saw their work as serving the medical profession?

Everything would change. Behaviour would change instantly. Patient care would improve over night. Relationships would develop and grow.

I have been researching and promoting spirit at work – that sense that our work is engaging and meaningful and that we can make a difference through our work – for a decade. Not only can we increase spirit at work, as it goes up, so too does job satisfaction, organizational commitment, teamwork and morale. At the same time, absenteeism and turnover go down.

The Spirit at Work program has been implemented in health care with incredible results. Download the Promise of Spirit at Work: Increasing Job Satisfaction and Organizational Commitment and Reducing Turnover and Absenteeism in Long-term Care from http://www.kaizensolutions.org/publications.htm

This does not have to be the experience in health care and patients should be able to expect more.

Val Kinjerski, PhD, is a leading authority in the field of employee engagement and on the topic of “spirit at work.” A consultant, agent of change and inspirational speaker, she helps companies and organizations increase employee retention and boost productivity by reigniting employees’ love for their work. Check out her Spirit at Work Program and Inspired Leadership training at www.kaizensolutions.org. Val is the author of Rethinking Your Work and Rethinking Your Work Guidebook. Available now at www.rethinkingyourwork.com and www.amazon.com .

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For Patients’ Sake: What would happen if we all put the patient, client or customer first?

November 2nd, 2009

Have we lost our way? Have we forgotten why we entered our profession in the first place?  Why our organizations were created? Current research on engagement and commitment at work says ‘yes’. We are losing our satisfaction and joy at work; our organizations are struggling; and our patients, clients, and customers are not receiving the service they deserve. What would happen if we adopted a Patient First or Client First or Customer First philosophy?

In October, the Government of Saskatchewan released “For Patients’ Sake,” a report by Tony Dagnone, Saskatchewan’s Patient First Review Commissioner. This review was commissioned by Don McMorris, the Minister of Health with the intent to improve both the patient experience and the efficiency and effectiveness of the health system.

The key message of the review is to put patients first. The Commissioner recommends a health care system designed to make the patient the centre of care and not the people who deliver the care – as he says it currently is. Thus, the first recommendation is that the Saskatchewan health system makes patient- and family-centred care the foundation and principal aim.

Tony Dagnone says,

“Patient First” must be embedded as a core value in health care and ingrained in the “DNA” of all health care organizations. The health system has lost its focus on the patient and lost sight of the fact that health care is a service industry. The best interests of patients and families must be the primary driver of policy decisions, collective agreements, priority setting and resource allocation decisions, and the operation of workplaces.

The intention is to make the Patient First philosophy a reality in all work places. But where does one start?

What is important here is that one does start. It is time for action, not words. Start with the employees, the leaders and the organization. Start everywhere. Create a momentum. Here are some places to start:

Organization. Design strategies to strengthen the capacity to achieve a patient-centred organization. Communicate the patient first philosophy to every member of the organization and in every document. Get leaders on board. Create Patient’s First Filter and test every decision or policy against it. Evaluate the effectiveness of all initiatives. Recognize and reward a patient first philosophy. Walk the talk.

Leaders. Inspire your leaders.  Have a clear vision and mission. Teach leaders how to inspire their managers and staff. Reward a patient first philosophy. Build your teams with this shared purpose. Evaluate your leaders against the Patient First Filter.  Support them.

Employees. Engage employees. Foster their spirit at work. Create the conditions for them to put the patient first. Help them to reconnect with the deeper purpose of their work and see their work as an act of service. Reward a patient first philosophy. Build their teams with this shared purpose. Listen.

The Commissioner sums up this new direction by stating that “Patient First” cannot be a mere lapel pin, button, or logo; it must be a way of doing business…

What would it take to have a renewed commitment to putting the patient or client or customer first?

Val Kinjerski, PhD, is a leading authority in the field of employee engagement and on the topic of “spirit at work.” A consultant, agent of change and inspirational speaker, she helps companies and organizations increase employee retention and boost productivity by reigniting employees’ love for their work. Check out her Spirit at Work Program and Inspired Leadership training at www.kaizensolutions.org. Val is the author of Rethinking Your Work and Rethinking Your Work Guidebook. Available now at www.rethinkingyourwork.com.

Tags: For Patients’ Sake, Tony Dagnone, Val Kinjerski, Don McMorris, Patient First, customer service, Patient First Review Commissioner, spirit at work, inspired leadership, service, employee engagement

 

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Is Your Organization Playing Defence or Offence?

October 2nd, 2009

Is your company or organization reacting to the current economic situation or is it responding? Is it playing defence or offence? There is a difference. When we take into account the situation we are in, along with our vision and goals, we are able to step back and choose to act. Act, rather than just react to the latest challenge facing us.

Aberdeen’s recent study: “Mid-Year Insights 2009” point to the development of existing talent as a top priority for the coming year. Organizations need to ensure that the workforce has the skills and ability to face the challenges and uncertainty of the future. These development opportunities can benefit both employees and employers.

Opportunities to improve skills and capabilities and challenging work assignments that broaden one’s skills have been shown to drive engagement. Not only do engaged employees plan to stay with their current employer, a correlation between high levels of engagement and strong business performance have been demonstrated.

It is time for companies to rethink how they are developing existing talent. Here are some questions to get you started:

  • What is the company’s deeper purpose?
  • What is the vision for the future?
  • What are the desired outcomes?
  • What needs to change in order to achieve these outcomes?
  • What are the goals?
  • What is no longer needed and can be let go?
  • What skills and abilities need to be developed to achieve the vision, goals, and outcomes?
  • What training or development is required and how does that fit with the new direction?
  • How can employees become more engaged?

Development of existing talent is a key factor in employee wellness, retention and productivity. But it cannot be done in isolation. Organizations who help employees to become more engaged and develop talent that is in alignment with the organization’s deeper purpose, vision and strategic plan will realize remarkable results.

 

Val Kinjerski, PhD, is a leading authority in the field of employee engagement and on the topic of “spirit at work.” An inspirational speaker, consultant and writer, she helps companies and organizations increase employee retention and boost productivity by reigniting employees’ love for their work. She is the author of Rethinking Your Work and Rethinking Your Work Guidebook.

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Posted in Attracting and Keeping Employees, Creating organizational conditions, Emerging from the Recession, SAW and Organizational Outcomes, Seeing Work as an Act of Service | Comments (5)

Service in Action: Learning First Hand

September 21st, 2009

 

Writing a book where seeing your work as an act of service is a central theme has a way of bringing one’s attention to customer service. I really lucked out when I chose Hignell Printing from Winnipeg, Manitoba.  

Hignell Printing is a small Canadian company that has been in business for over 100 years.  I suspect that they have been in business for this length of time because they know something about being of service. So what did they do?

1. Provided a personal touch. I submitted several requests by email for quotes on printing my book. Herb Krushel, the Account Manager, immediately phoned me to talk about my books and the printing process. Only Hignell and one other printing company contacted me by phone.

 2. They walk the talk. Many companies speak about the value of service in their literature or in their mission statement, but are incongruent in their behaviour. Highnell walks the talk. As part of the footer, Hignell writes:

 At Hignell we offer the best in service and quality work at competitive prices. We are caring and responsive and have hundreds of satisfied customers throughout N. America. 

 Herb closes his correspondence with,

Thank you, and please do not hesitate to call with questions. I look forward to being of service to you.

And I experienced that to be true. Given that this is my first time self-publishing, I had many questions. Not once did I feel that my questions were silly.

 3. It takes a whole company to provide service. When Herb was away on holidays, Dave Friesen, Client Services, took over in order to keep the process going. Rather than just cover off for Herb, Dave also called and developed a relationship with me.

 4. They demonstrate flexibility. My father-in-law passed away during this process and his memorial was held during the same time that I was getting my book ready for print. I also committed to having the book ready for Amazon by October 1st. Talk about  competing priorities. When I shared this with Cori Jones, the Customer Service Rep, she said,

I will try and make this as easy as possible for you.  . . . .
Let me know if you need anything further.

Rather than having to send everything back by courier, I was able to send my changes and approval via email.

5. Everyone is interested. Even though my project was transferred to Cori for production, today, I received the following email from Dave.

I happened to walk by the printed covers for your book a couple of days ago, and I read the back cover. WOW, looks like this will be a great book ! Congrats !

 So what can we learn about service from this printing company?

  1. Provide a personal touch. Take time to reach out by phone.
  2. Get interested in your clients or customers.
  3. Demonstrate alignment between what your company says you believe in and how you deliver services.
  4. Give employees the flexibility to respond to customers’ needs.
  5. Help all members of your company or organization see how they contribute to excellent customer service.

It is time to rethink our work and how we are serving others through our work.

Val Kinjerski, PhD, is a leading authority in the field of employee engagement and on the topic of “spirit at work.” An inspirational speaker, consultant and writer, she helps companies and organizations increase employee retention and boost productivity by reigniting employees’ love for their work. She is the author of Rethinking Your Work and Rethinking Your Work Guidebook.

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Posted in Creating organizational conditions, Employee Wellbeing: Refilling the Cup, Inspired Workplaces, Seeing Work as an Act of Service, Spirit at Work (SAW) in Action | Comments (2)