The frontline drives the bottom line. Basically, your people are your profits. What do you do to ensure they are aligned, engaged and supported to bring their A-game to the moments of their work days?
During an average year, I speak to thousands of CEOs, mostly about talent, engagement, productivity and performance. I am surprised how many of the organizations are continuing to use outdated approaches with their talent. I find that many leaders continue to have the old mindset that anyone can do any job with the right training. It’s a holdback from our industrial age when, in a skill-based workplace, anyone could learn how to operate a machine.
But today, in our intellectual and service-based workplace, where workplace situations constantly change and require a present, focused and engaged employee, choosing employees wisely and supporting them intentionally is the key to a high-performing frontline.
For every employee to succeed, to feel capable and competent in a role, he or she must be aligned to a role that needs their strengths, abilities and interests. How engaged will your frontline be if they are not good at and interested in what the role does? What level of service will that provide? The lack of engagement due to misalignment will be reflected in employees’ productivity and performance, and in customers’ lack of loyalty.
Does your organization have a process to consistently and successfully hire good-fit employees? By good-fit, I mean employees who not only align to the tasks of the role, but also have the values, beliefs and mission of the organization.
But remember: your work isn’t done once you find that good-fit employee. Well hired employees still want and need to feel supported, valued and cared for. For this to happen, workplace managers need to act more like workplace coaches. Workplace coaches build relationships with their employees to encourage open and honest communication, develop accountability and clarify expectations. They ask, guide and support instead of tell, direct and control. Coaching managers increase the frequency of contact with their employees and use that increased contact to help employees develop skills and abilities. They host recurring feedback conversations with employees that share what’s working and not working in performance so it can be noticed and discussed to either amplify (what’s working) or improve (what’s not working).
Do your managers know how to think and act like coaches to improve the relationship and development of all frontline employees? Consider this: The Gallup Organization shares that the single most important initiative for all organizations is to train the managers how to think and act as coaches.
Assess your hiring process. Does it focus on fit, alignment and abilities? What changes do you need to make? Then, assess your support process of your frontline. Does it train and encourage your managers to think and act as coaches to amplify frontline connection and engagement?
Your frontline drives the bottom line. Give it the attention it deserves.
By Jay Forte
Consider reading Don’t Drag Your Feet When Hiring New Talent