You invest a lot in your team, are you listening to them?

A few years ago, I was being mentored by Dr Marc Stigter Honorary Senior Fellow at the University of Melbourne and Global strategy expert and author.  I was making the move from my executive HR role into consultancy and he kindly offered to guide me on my path.

My greatest takeaway from working with Marc was the concept of “customer centricity”. In essence leading a customer centric business means when I make a decision, I must consider the effect my decision will have on my customers.

It means listening to my customers, so I build the right products, invest in the right resources and meet the customer’s needs. 

He cautioned me that organizations that forget about their customers tend to struggle and fail because they haven’t anticipated what the customer needs and don’t understand what keeps customers coming through the door.

I couldn’t help but see the parallels in modern workplaces.  When you replace the word “customer” with “employee” an opportunity to use the principals of customer centricity to create more valuable workplace relationships emerges.

To test my theory, I started running internal workshops where I asked employees to tell me what they needed from their organizations.  I asked them “what was working well for them” and “what needed to be improved”.

This practice enabled me and the managers to see the world through the eyes of their employees.  It helped us to identify what was propelling them forward and what was holding them back.

With a greater understanding of what the employees needed, we with them to find solutions that were valuable to them and met the business needs.  And we mapped out ways to deliver on those ideas. To ensure accountability and follow through, we captured the solutions in a team plan that fed those into individual performance plans.

This strategic approach enabled us to work with the employees to co-create the future.  And gave the managers confidence that they were investing in the solutions that were going to make a positive difference.

With every workshop I saw an improvement in engagement, workplace relationships and team performance, simply by putting the employee at the center of the decision making.

Many mangers think that asking employees what they need will result in unrealistic expectations.

But when done well the opposite is true.  When the workshop facilitator challenges the team to meet other others needs as well as their own, openly discuss constraints and also reflect on how they are contributing to the problems, the team rethinks what is possible and often find innovative and realistic solutions.

With staff retention and engagement high up on the list of what keeps managers up at night, it’s reassuring to know that seeing and meeting needs is an easy solution.

I’ll leave you with some work inspo and wish you a great month ahead.

“Leadership is the ability to facilitate movement in the needed direction and have people feel good about it,”  – Tom Smith

All the best, Andrea

I empower people to use their inner strengths to live and lead in the way that inspires them most

Our human resources article this month has been contributed by Andrea Tunjic (CAHRI) 

Andrea is an award winning Leadership and Human Resources Strategist.

With a diverse career spanning 25 years in the people management space, Andrea has earned a 360 degree perspective on work. She started out as a union official, has worked as a senior HR manager, lead her own small businesses, consults in all aspects of people leadership and business improvement strategies to organizations throughout Australia and has written a book on the topic called People Power.

She is also the creator of a range of online leadership courses aimed at helping managers become more effective leaders and teams to Vibe Up.  She is also the is the developer of ICoachMe, a self-coaching process

that has been recognised by the International Coaching Federation. Andrea’ s approach to people management is engaging, knowledgeable and practical with an unwavering commitment to empowering staff and leaders to work to their best, resolve problems well and enable them to become happier, more empowered and more successful at work