Employees are critical to the success of this culture. Treat them the way you’d like them to treat your members – or better. The employee experience drives the member experience. If your staff enjoys coming to work every day and is passionate about what they do, this will be reflected in how they interact with your members. Be sure that your employees have the training, tools, and resources to do their jobs and do them right.
Employee ownership of this culture begins with the launch meeting. But even before that, you need to ensure that you hire the right people. Hire nice people. Skills can be taught; nice cannot! Hire people with service backgrounds, especially those who have worked for companies best known for their service cultures.
During the launch meeting or the new-hire on-boarding process, encourage and allow employees to design the culture. Encourage them to be creative and come up with ideas on how they can offer the best service around! Ask them to think of companies they’ve recommended. Why did they make the recommendation? What was special about the experience of the relationship with that company? How can that translate to the club’s culture?
Ask each employee to submit one suggestion for improvement (of club operations, service delivery, etc.) per week; they may not all be great ideas (but praise them all for participating), and you may only implement some of them, but it gets employees constantly thinking about service delivery!
With regard to member feedback, engage employees in root-cause analysis.
- Foster a learning environment: how did this happen?
- Evaluate comments and then feedback from recovery actions: can we prevent this in the future? Are there process improvements?
Create a best practices log for successful approaches and success strategies: how do we resolve certain issues?
- Add to your employee on‐boarding training program/manual.
- Communicate back to employees how issues are resolved.
- Celebrate specific employee mentions (good) and coach on others (bad).
- When celebrating positive mentions, ask the employee who was mentioned to describe what he thinks he did that drove the score or mention.
Conversely, and privately, when coaching on a negative mention, ask the employee what happened and how it could have been handled differently.
- Recognize and reward those who deliver breakthrough efforts and successes.
- Encourage employees to work together toward achieving a larger group/department goal.
- Celebrate team/department successes.
Keep in mind that you need to constantly train, teach, coach your employees – this culture is an iterative process. As you adopt new processes or new ways of thinking – as you push this culture forward – you need to keep your employees in the loop. Training your employees not only includes training for their specific roles but also for soft skills, e.g., customer service, communication, etc.