With some positive signs in the economy, it's time to think about revving up the engines and getting back into growth mode. An effective way to grow your business-—and stand out from your competition--is to deliver exceptional customer service. Small community banks, for example, have been emphasizing personalized service and customer relationships to effectively compete against their larger counterparts.

Employees are on the front lines of customer service and are our ambassadors to the outside world. Attracting, retaining, and training the best and the brightest is more important than ever. One of the best ways to do that is by creating an exceptional workplace--an atmosphere where employees feel respected, valued, and have opportunities for professional growth.

Here are some of the ways that we have promoted a winning team at Insight and at our clients' workplaces:

  • Be available. The management team should be visible and accessible--walking around the office, meeting with employees, soliciting their input and truly listening. It's also up to top executives to communicate the vision and culture of your business through their own example as well as through formal communications.

  • Involve employees in creating the culture. Engage employees at all levels in helping to create a workplace of choice. Solicit their input through opinion surveys, discussion groups, and one-on-one meetings. Incorporate their ideas to continually improve the work environment.

  • Develop managers who can bring out the best in employees. According to research, an employee's relationship with his or her manager is a key factor in job satisfaction. Develop managers into leaders who can motivate teams, and create a stimulating work environment where employees can learn, develop new skills, and work together on group goals.

  • Build on employee strengths. Employees are more likely to stay motivated and do a better job if their job responsibilities revolve around their natural strengths. You can use assessment tools to gain greater insight into employees' work styles, strengths, and interests.

  • Develop recognition and reward programs. Recognizing achievement is one of the strongest ways to increase employee performance. Make sure you are recognizing the hard work of all of your employees, particularly the top performers. It's often surprising how effective simple acts of acknowledgment can be.


Now's the time to get everyone on board to take advantage of market opportunities. Remember, happy, engaged employees will pass it down and help create happy customers.