Workplace Bullying

What happens to elementary school bullies?  In some cases, they grow up to be adult bullies who lurk in offices and workspaces doing what they’ve always done—tormenting their targets.

According to the Workplace Bully Institute (WBI), workplace bullying is defined as “repeated, health-harming mistreatment by one or more employees of an employee; abusive conduct that takes the form of verbal abuse; or behaviors perceived as threatening, intimidating, or humiliating; work sabotage.” 

The WBI also found in a 2021 study that 30% of employees are bullied in the workplace with 43% of remote workers enduring the same experience.  Bullying can result in qualified employees’ high absenteeism, lost productivity, lost revenues, and high turnover.

While harassment at work is illegal, bullying is not because harassment involves mistreatment based on a protected class such as religion, race, national origin, or sex.  

Workplace bullying takes on many forms including but not limited to:

  • Hostile or aggressive written and/or verbal communication
  • Withholding resources
  • Unrelenting criticism
  • Invasion of personal space
  • Non-verbal intimidation 

Often times, the bully is the target’s manager but the behavior can also occur among peers.

If you are bullied at work,

  • Address the situation in the moment
  • Say exactly what he/she is doing to you and why it’s a problem
  • Call the bully by name and use self-assured body language
  • Document all incidents including how you responded
  • Retain all emails, voice mail, and other communications 
  • Present your documentation to human resources.  Your documentation should include suggestions on how you would like to see the issue resolved

Through company culture and policies, this offensive and unacceptable behavior can be eradicated.

In the comments below, let us know if you’ve experienced bullying in the workplace and how you handled it.

Thrive During Change in the Workplace

Change.   Some people love it; others despise it.  Change in the workplace is inevitable.  Let’s be clear, companies must evolve in order to remain competitive.  So, how do employees learn to accept change AND thrive in the process?

From an employee’s perspective, it can be difficult to perceive opportunities that effective change brings to the company.  Also, they may not fully understand how improvements can advance their career.   Sometimes, employees focus on disruptions and their fears…nothing else.

To counteract negative feelings, encourage employees to look for the silver lining by identifying at least one positive outcome from the new way of doing things.  For example, what new skill will they learn? 

Focusing on self-care is essential to managing physical and emotional impacts of change in the workplace.  Encourage employees to:

  • Practice stress relieving techniques such as visualization, talking it out, meditation, etc.
  • Flexibility is key.  Help them identify ways to blend old practices with new ones

As a leader:

  • Create a psychologically safe environment for them to offer input/feedback
  • Be transparent
  • Be consistent with updates
  • Keep the lines of communication open…it fosters trust and inclusivity 
  • Create committees tasked with addressing the specifics on how the change will impact morale

Some people will be slower to adapt to change but that does not make them poor employees.  Slow adapters are still valuable team members and must be afforded extra time to accept change.  Employees and leaders working together position the company to thrive throughout the change process.

Talk to us in the comments below and remember…make it a great day!

Healthy Obsession: The Client Experience

In previous discussions we’ve touched on measuring customer satisfaction.  Let’s also explore how to close the gap between customer expectations and customer experiences.  The customer experience has several components ranging from packaging to logistics to employees performance. 

As an oversimplification, the customer experience can be described as how consumers view and receive a company’s brand.  Consistent positive experiences are the springboard to establising loyalty and creating a competitive advantage over competition.

Consumers want efficient service and quality products but they also want to do business with companies who share their values on topics such as diversity, ethics, and the environment.  Using data collected from customers through surveys and other means, companies can determine where they fall short.  Your approach to improve the situation must be holistic.  For example, data may show that customers think your marketing doesn’t influence them.  The fix will require re-examining your product/service as well as intangible systems such as empathy, etc.

Implementing a holistic approach to improve the customer experience also includes re-shaping your company’s principles regarding your:

  • Customer Service Philosophy
  • Vision Statement
  • Mission Statement
  • Core Values
  • Corporate Culture
  • Customer Experience Vision Statement

The customer experience vision statement will serve as the guiding light for every employee and will drive business decisions. Every employee plays a role in shaping the customer experience, therefore, all of these principles should be embedded in training and development…they must be at the core of every behavior and interaction.

Be obsessed with your customers’ experiences and make it a great day!

Happy Employee = Happy Customer?

Most companies put a great deal of focus on providing great customer experiences but when was the last time the employee experience was considered? 

Let’s be honest, often times, angry employees project their negative feelings onto customers (and colleagues for that matter) contributing to the cycle of losing customers due to poor performance and bad attitudes.

The pandemic-produced worker shortage coupled with the understanding that employees are the key to making or breaking a phenomenal client experience, smart companies are now asking its employees what they need have a fulfilling work experience. Employee engagement is becoming a strong trend.

So to answer an obvious question, yes, happy employees equate to happy customers.

Happy employees do, in fact, increase customer satisfaction.  In a study conducted by Gallup, energized and engaged employees who are passionate and know their purpose are 21% more productive than non-engaged employees.  Their drive makes them more detail oriented, more likely to complete assignments on time, and resolve problems quicker.  All of which translate into increased customer satisfaction.

How are companies making employees happy?  Companies are asking for feedback.  According to Forbes.com, Gen Z is interested in more than just their pay…they want to be part of ethical organizations where their work makes a difference in the local and global community. 

Surveys are a great way to find out exactly what employees are looking for in the workplace.  Combining feedback from both employee and customer surveys will provide invaluable insight into a company’s strengths and weaknesses.  It is important to use this information to further elevate the experience of both employee and customer.  A little known fact is that employees want to be provided with tools and training to achieve clear expectations.

What practices do you have in your company?  Let us know in the comment section below and remember…whatever you do, make it a great day!

Quality Customer Care on Social Media

Dialing up the client services department to complain (or compliment) about your buying experience can be a hassle.  Let’s be honest, it’s just easier to use social media to convey good or bad consumer experiences to solve our problem.

Social media customer service was once a rarely used service channel, however, that has changed.  Companies are bringing customer service pages back to the internet.

According to Forbes Business Magazine, addressing service quality on a social media platform boosts a company’s brand.  When executed with empathy, it presents situations to the public that describes how the business treats its consumers (this can also be a golden opportunity to shine if you’re delivering exceptional quality care).

To thrive in commerce on the world wide web, your customer service had better be on point. So, consider this:

1) Identify which social media platform you’ll use to communicate with customers.  Ideally, it should be the same platform the majority of your customers currently use.

2) Decide on an appropriate response time.  How quickly will you commit to responding to your customers?  Most customers expect feedback within an hour.  Establish customer expectations with automated responses that identify turnaround time.  Post your service hours.

3) Make sure your company’s values are reflected when acknowledging customers criticisms. Coach employees on proper verbal and written tone of voice.  Offer specific examples and encourage role play to enhance the training.

4) Monitor conversations on your social media platforms in order to gain insight into public opinions about your business and products.  Use it to improve your weaknesses.

Tell us how social media has impacted your customer service delivery.

Remember, make it a great day!