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How To Win And Influence Employees

When I was starting out, Companies, to my mind, were these giant edifices of stone and steel with high ceilings and vast cold interiors, with crisp air of detachment and clipped, formal conversations. I felt that I and several other people who went to work were governed by the invisible yet potent forces that swept through the monstrous Goliath we worked for, guiding us tiny Davids by their deft hand of skilful puppeteering.

Soon enough, it dawned on me that there was no such unseen-yet-tangible power that held sway over us and that ‘we’ were the Company. As tiny or big, but significant, cogs we kept the organizational machinery well oiled and moving.

Over the years I have come to know that employees are the life force of any organization; cold stony interiors, imposingly gleaming exteriors and thick tomes of company bibles and manuals notwithstanding.

I have seen the wrong set of employees break the best of places and happy, positive, motivated teams take even small establishments to great heights of fame and fortune.

When one is younger and perched on the first few rungs, one is brash enough to think that things will not function smoothly if it were not for their brilliance. As you move up and along, you realize that there are several people and things that contribute to your growth process and keep you in the reckoning. It is the other employees, your company colleagues and inter / intra departmental teams that help pave the path for your company’s and your advancement.

While a lot of us, including the Top Dog, make the mistake of thinking that we are irreplaceably important; we come to realize soon enough that our positions are strengthened and our roles made more meaningful by the efficacy, knowledge, cooperation and deliverability of the significant others.

If one must grow, then one must delegate well and help one’s team to grow. If the Company as a whole has to do well, then it can only do so if all the little and big parts work in tandem and with a focus towards the common goal.

Companies would just be buildings and ill-kept ones at that, in the absence of a good workforce.

So how do you win employees and influence them positively for the greater good of the Company and the people that make it what it is!

Here are ten simple tricks that pack quite the punch.

  1. Call them by their name
With this practice I have seen strangers step easily into my circle of acquaintance. They feel that they have an equation with me. Leave alone educated, well-bred folk, even the construction workers I have been dealing with, for the better part of the year, feel identified and accepted. Imagine what this simple habit can do with people who are well-exposed to education and advanced by experience.
The moment you address someone by name, they feel recognized. It is an affirmation of their vital presence. It signifies that they are important enough for people to recall their name. It is a vocal acknowledgement of all the things – background, experience, responsibility – the name brings with it.
Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts have made quite the art of this Corporate philosophy. Many Four Seasoners have told me that it is imperative for all senior executives to memorize the names of all employees and their spouses. Think about how much positivity, a sense of bonhomie and professional bonding, mutual respect and just the right dose of familiarity this injects into the organizational climate, decidedly making it a better place to work in.
When you call somebody by their name you establish a direct line of contact with them and make them more accountable to what your need or expectation is of them.
Calling somebody by their name is the easiest way to show respect and the quickest strategy to convey inclusion.
  1. Pay respect to their designation
Whether it is a bell boy or a valet or the visiting sommelier from that la-di-dah Wine Academy – pay weightage to that brass plate pinned with pride on their jacket.
At my first job with India’s premier company in the Social Expressions Industry, I cannot tell you how proud and appreciated I felt each time the Company owner introduced me to his business associates thus – “Meet Aruna, our Creative Writer.” I felt such a big surge of joy and self-confidence course through my veins making me want to deliver my best.
I often remember two different bosses I reported to at different times when I worked at the Australian Mission in India. Both had distinct leadership and management styles – one was a stellar example of the global best practices and the other falling somewhere at the bottom of the heap with his terrible ways. Yet, they both have left indelibly valuable lessons. While one would brush us aside in meetings or go on to say, “This is Aruna from my Department,” the other would make it a point to give the following introduction – “Here’s Aruna Dhir, the Media Relations Officer.” She struck a perfect Ten, first with the full name and then the designation, every time, regardless of who she introduced us to – an upcoming artist from Sydney or Minister Downer, the then Foreign Minister.
Each time I have introduced my staff appropriately – whether it has been our Residence Manager, the able Secretary or the efficient Assistant Manager – I have noticed their body language change. The eyes shine, the shoulders square up, the gait gets more professional and the entire deportment reeks of confidence in oneself, self-assuredness and loyalty for the Company they represent.
A designation is descriptive of a person’s role and responsibility and surmises in its few letters the remarkable experience the person brings with him and the journey he has been on so far.
  1. Display importance in the role & responsibility they bring to the table
Behind that brass plate is years of qualifications, experience and wisdom which enables your company to run smoothly. Show importance, be sincere and mean it.
No person is an island unto himself and no team can work in isolation. It is such an obvious fact that we all would be completely rudderless, disoriented and non-performing if the interconnected webs in the organizational matrix did not bring all the value that they individually do into the big pool of resources which then gives direction, movement and headway to a company’s onward path.
Every role – big or small, front of the house or back of the house, black suited, blue collared or white aproned – brings with it multi-dimensional value and such amazingly wide range of experience that must always be optimally harvested.
To cite a little personal example – No matter how self-reliant, independent and charge-taking I may be, purely on account of practical reasons and the quantum of work I may be needed to handle, I would find it extremely difficult to concentrate and deliver well if the Housekeeper had not run her magic hands through my office, my Assistant had not helped me pick up some of the balls that I must throw simultaneously up in the air, my Printer had not cooperated in helping me meet the deadline, my colleagues from other departments had not shared information and handled their end of the deal adequately, the General Manager had not given his timely approvals and so on.
With hotels, every minor cog or a big component is essential to the smooth running of the hotel machinery. From Chauffeur to Chef, Doorman to Director – Food & Beverage, Engineering hand to Executive Director, Laundry Valet to Liaison and Finance Controller, Sales Executive to Spa Expert, Concierge to Communications Chief, Housekeeping Head to Horticulture Manager – each individual is integral to the flawless functioning of the hotel. Each must be valued for the nous they bring with them. You ignore any part and you end up losing both guests and reputation.
  1. Get to know them
In the service industry at large and in hotels in particular, we end up doing long hours and work on shifts that never seem to end.
When an organisation is so much about people – on either side of the table – it makes a whole lot of sense to invest in this software and make genuine efforts to know the team members.
That is why there are employee meets, Annual Sports Days, birthdays that are celebrated collectively, Employee-of-the Month Recognition, Staff parties, Team events, Departmental outings. Also the formal appraisals and reverse appraisals. Make use of these tailor-made occasions; or else create special opportunities to really get to know your people.
Learn about their ambitions, aspirations, drives; encash it where necessary, employ the talents where they fit in and carve a path of succession for them.
Your people pool is one hell of a goldmine of talent and experience that can help you reap rich business benefits. In turn, you give fillip to the vertical and horizontal growth trajectory for the people who bring power to the organization.
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L. Aruna Dhir
L. Aruna Dhirhttp://www.larunadhir.blogspot.com
L. Aruna Dhir is a Hospitality & Feature Writer and Columnist for some of the world’s highest-ranked Hospitality publications. Her industry writings are syndicated to the finest global hospitality bodies and used as references in case studies and hotel schools. Aruna runs an exclusive channel on the award-winning media digest, BizCatalyst 360° called “Hospitality Matters” based on her hospitality industry insight and commentary. Aruna is a recognized and national-poll winning Corporate Communications Specialist, PR Strategist, and Writer. A seasoned hotelier, Aruna loves to present hospitality industry watch, insights, case studies, and analysis to her ever-increasing base of global readership. Aruna has over two decades of experience in Hospitality Communications and Brand Management and has worked with some of the best global hotel companies. In her last corporate role, Aruna was the Director – Public Relations at The Imperial New Delhi, where she was part of the core group and was responsible for re-launching The Imperial as one of the finest hotels in India and Asia. Aruna’s hotel experience includes leading the Marketing Communications and Public Relations portfolio for flagship properties at The Oberoi Group and Hyatt International. She also helped launch the Vilases as the uber-luxury experiences from the Oberoi stable. As an industry expert, Aruna has launched brands, developed training modules, created standardization dockets on business communication, written manuals, conducted Image Study & Positioning Analysis, and led media campaigns of Australian Ministers in India. Aruna Dhir’s successful work tenure with Australia’s Diplomatic Mission in India in the capacity of Media Relations Officer, saw her working on a host of never-done-before exciting projects including the hugely rewarding organisation of Australia-India New Horizons – Australia’s largest ever Country Promotion. Aruna Dhir is the first-ever Creative Writer for the Indian greeting cards giant – ARCHIES Greetings and Gifts Ltd. The milestone puts her in the league of Helen Steiner Rice and Amanda Bradley. While with the company she came out with several series of cards sold under her byline – an unprecedented feat that has not been repeated since. L. Aruna Dhir also dabbles in poetry and has to her credit two titles of Anthologies published and marketed by Archies G&G Ltd. Aruna serves on the Board of Association of Emerging Leaders Dialogues (AELD), a front-running Commonwealth Body that works towards developing leaders and influencers of tomorrow, with Princess Anne as its international President. Aruna has been engaged in freelance work for Doordarshan – the Indian National Television, All India Radio, and Times FM. Academically, L. Aruna Dhir topped at the All-India level in her PG Diploma in Public Relations and Advertising. Aruna has been a Ph.D. scholar at Jawaharlal Nehru University, akin to an Ivy League in India. She has earned a Senior Management Course Certification from the Oberoi Centre for Learning & Development in partnership with the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow; V Dimension Management Company, London & Asian Institute of Management, Manila, Philippines. Aruna Dhir has represented India to a select group of opinion-makers in the United States, as a Cultural Ambassador under the GSE Program of Rotary International. She has also participated in the IXth Commonwealth Study Conference held in Australia and chaired by Princess Anne. Aruna is a Life Member of the Public Relations Society of India A Freelance Writer since 1987, with articles that have appeared in India’s topmost newspapers and magazines, Aruna is also a blogger, a memoirist with works published on platforms like Medium and a Book reviewer on Goodreads. In her official and personal capacity L. Aruna Dhir has and continues to work on several social awareness projects – People for Animals, Earthquake Relief, National Blind Association, PETA, WSPA, Change.org, Friendicoes to name a few. Born at Allahabad (now Prayagraj), one of the world’s oldest known cities, L. Aruna Dhir grew up and did her schooling in Dehradun, regarded as a prominent seat of academia and literature. After being brought up in the sylvan surroundings of the verdant Doon valley, Aruna chose to make the Capital City of Delhi her second home.

2 COMMENTS

  1. There was a Dilbert TV show a few years ago. Dilbert was an engineer that would always walk past the same security guard for years — and Dilbert never knew his name. One day Dilbert and the security guard had an argument about the difficulty of each others jobs. It was clear neither had respect for the others occupation. So they swapped jobs. Being the sitcom it was, they almost destroyed the company.

    When I think of those that disrespect and not even bother to learn people’s name, I think of this cartoon and chuckle. I’ve seen so much disruption from a clogged toilet, hurricanes, or hackers. It takes a specific set of skills to solve a specific set of problems. The best way to demonstrate respect is by taking time to remembering the person’s name.

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