I am trying to get my staff more engaged. I am looking for ideas on how to stress the importance of their position. We are a small club with limited staff hours so most of my employees work very little & I feel they are disconnected from the job. I found a great article on the importance of the front desk staff & had a hard time getting them to read that. I want them to feel like their job is the most important part of our club. Any suggestions would be great!
Great question. Your front desk is like your first line in the army. They are generally the first people that your clients and potential clients will have a chance to interact with…their position and how they handle themselves is critical.
The first thing that comes to mind in helping to get them more engaged is a mission and/or vision statement. Do you have one for your organization? If so great. Take some time with each of your front desk personel and help them to see how their position supports your mission. Try to get them to “buy into it”. You can simply ask them if they are inspired by this mission. If not, you may have to rethink your mission, or get rid of those personnel.
If you don’t have a corporate mission, I would begin working on one and try to involve all of your staff in the process. This will create a sense of greater responsibility and ownership for their position.
With a powerful mission, you can then use this to help create specific expectations of your front desk staff – such as “greetings and salutations” – basically the expectation is to greet all clients coming through the door warmly and getting and learning names.
Regarding meetings, I think you should only meet as often as you need to. Again you can ask the staff for their thoughts. At this meetings you might perform some role playing in dealing with different front desk scenarios that may pop up.
Lastly, you should make it clear what is expected of your staff and make sure they are aware of both the positive and negative consequences of meeting or not meeting those expectations. The positive consequences should ultimately reflect back to your corporate mission, but can have other extrinsic items, like prizes, eligibility for bonuses, etc.
Lastly, lastly: Going out of your way on a regular basis to let each teammember know you appreciate them is a big deal!
Hope this helps.
Have you had complaints from your patrons or is this something you would like to make a priority?
I think the desk person is THE most important first impression that your club will get and I totally agree that the staff are mostly overlooked.
Meetings are a drag unless you make it fun by having “ice breaker” games, raffling off prizes for a task performed, or have a slide show of the “faces” of people who come to your club and whoever can name the most faces wins something great!
I would constantly be reiterating that they may not work many hours but the hours they work are vital.
Words of encouragement posted someplace behind the desk along with a big smile can motivate and remind them that you appreciate them
Sending them a card or flowers expressing your appreciation can go a long way.
One thing that has helped engage my staff (I work at a University and have both student and contract professional staff) is to have them involved in active learning and then teaching back to one another. They have sought out topics that they think could help improve the facility (i.e., find areas that may need a little work) and do the research and put together a program based on it. We’ve done the same thing with the “show and tell” idea, sharing what we’ve learned at conferences or in our own continuing education / research. It helps them own something and feel like their opinion and experience is valued.
Hope that helps!
Hi Thea. Hmm, I’m trying to think a little “outside the box” here to help you 🙂 I like the idea of “short” staff meetings, perhaps not every week, or every x weeks, but instead when there is enough “pertinent” information to hold one. This would help avoid some of what Karin complained about in her answer about some meetings. Then, in preparation for the meeting you can have a short agenda that your give out along with any handouts (such as this article) that you want people to read and comment on ahead of time (maybe included with their paycheck). Ask them to read the article and be prepared to talk about it. If you find that giving them this “heads-up” still doesn’t work, then perhaps offering something small but valuable to them (or just the one that you elect for offering the most meaningful contribution to the meeting discussion) for their active (and meaningful) participation in the discussion during the meeting. Not only may this raise their interest in participating in the meetings, but it will also bring some fun competition to an otherwise boring meeting (hopefully 🙂
I was formally the Director of Wellness at a College. I had a staff of about 30, many of them part-time student employees. If anyone had the reason to be apathetic about their part time front desk jobs you would think it’d be these students. But they weren’t! They took ownership of their jobs because my managers showed them that they were appreciated. Their advice was sought before some (not all) management decisions were made. We had pizza at our staff meetings. Whenever a client had a good front desk experience, we made sure that ALL other front desk staff heard about it. And, we empowered them by allowing them to give their own suggestions on how they thought we could better run the front desk. Very empowering for them!
I hope that this helps.