Ruby® Founder and CEO Jill Nelson recently wrote a piece for the Small Giants Community blog sharing how Ruby has built a culture of service over the years. The key to doing the same in your business? Your leadership style.
Incent, Inspire, and Empower® is Ruby Receptionists’ management philosophy. It’s how we create true commitment and ensure each employee is poised to succeed by delivering on our mission to preserve and perpetuate real, meaningful connections in our increasingly technology-focused virtual world.
This philosophy ensures that our employees own their personal service delivery and are encouraged to think outside the box. There’s no idea too big, no risk too daring. Sounds great in theory. What about in practice? Ruby’s employee engagement score from spring of 2017 shows the proof is in the pudding. The results indicated that over 90% of Ruby’s employees were highly engaged and engaged.
So, how do you encourage your leaders to inspire with this mindset?
The Most Crucial Employee Touchpoint
A Gallup study from a few years ago notes that “managers account for at least 70% of the variance in employee engagement scores across business units.” If you’re unfamiliar with Gallup, they are a research-based consulting company whose bread and butter is measuring trends in employee behavior and attitudes. They also publish the State of the American Workplace report. This crucial manager-employee relationship is the driving force behind Incent, Inspire, Empower.
“To me, it means encouraging our leaders to go above and beyond regularly for their receptionists because they want to, not because they have to,” says Ruby Cultivator Coach, Desi Vigil. (Cultivator is the title for our receptionist team managers.) “We’ve created a culture here at Ruby where every individual is caring, supportive, and willing to push themselves to think outside the box when it comes to going above and beyond for their team.”
Incenting Around the Stuff that Matters
It all starts with providing your managers a solid foundation to support their own service delivery when it comes to their teams. In the case of incenting employees, Ruby makes sure to incent around the things that really matter to us.
A great example is Ruby’s Core Value in Action Awards. These awards celebrate those Rubys who are living our core values in exceptional ways. Why is this important? Our core values make us who we are. They are what drive us. That’s why we incent our employees with company-wide recognition for truly remarkable examples of our core values in action.
Following this example, our leadership team is empowered to incent their employees, both as a team and on an individual basis. Desi recalls a particular situation where a Cultivator came to her for advice on ways to incent a team member for going the extra mile to work on accuracy goals.
“My Cultivator had great ideas, but they were all around food, treats, gift cards, etc. Those things are great (and necessary at times), but I encouraged them to think of other ways they could incent this individual.”
To Desi’s point, it’s tempting to assume that incentives always include food, money, or other tangible rewards. Yet, some of the most impactful incentives have nothing to do with “stuff.”
Your Turn: What matters most to your company? Provide your leaders with the tools to incent their employees on the things that lead back to your mission, your vision, and your values.
We’ve learned (and the research shows) that employees want to feel a sense of purpose and understand the difference they make. Sharing stories of our success and demonstrating Ruby’s sweeping impact are how we aim to inspire.
On a foundational level, Ruby has several storytelling platforms that we support internally to inspire our employees. From a dedicated email inbox for compliments to an internal blog featuring stories of employee success, storytelling is a huge part of Ruby’s culture.
For Desi, an inspired employee “shares their stories of triumph with their peers and congratulates others on their successes.” This creates a culture where employees build each other up and become their own biggest champions.
Your Turn: Are your leaders modeling the behavior you hope to see in your employees? Encourage your team to lead by example and find ways to share the stories of employees who are getting it right.
Empowered to Forge Your Own Path
Empowering your employees is all about getting out of the way and letting them work their magic. At Ruby, we use well-made processes to create reliability, efficiency, consistency, scalability, and accountability. These foundations are the nuts and bolts that keep the company running smoothly.
But Ruby wouldn’t be Ruby without our amazing people! Empowering our people to break the rules and use their unique personalities and talents to deliver on our mission is what sets us apart.
Desi’s job is to empower our leaders to empower their team members, encouraging them to find unique ways to deliver on our mission. At the end of the day, it’s all about trust. Empowered employees feel trusted to make decisions and are given the tools and resources to execute. These tools include everything from the technology they use to our feedback processes.
A little trust goes a long way! The last thing you want to do is constrict your staff with policies, procedures, and scripts they must follow. Take a step back, empower your employees to succeed, and encourage them to make their own mark on your company’s culture.
Your Turn: At Ruby, we use systems and standards to create a foundation that incents, inspires, and empowers Ruby employees to use their own personalities to live out our mission. What will you do next to improve your own management style?
This post appears as part of our Incent, Inspire, Empower series, where we share personal stories from Ruby’s leaders.