Archives for the month of: May, 2017

Handshake

Working at HON has taught me the importance of corporate responsibility and giving back to your community – not to mention just how easy it can be. For example, HON headquarters hosts member Jeans Days on Fridays to give employees the opportunity to donate to a cause in exchange for a more casual dress code. Throughout the year, members vote on the charities that mean the most to them so that everyone feels a close connection to the mission. In 2016 alone, member Jeans Days at HON headquarters raised over $12,000.  This amount was then matched by the HNI Charitable Foundation, a group dedicated to fulfilling the HNI vision to “Be a Responsible Corporate Citizen”, for a grand total of almost $25,000.

HNI, The HON Company and Allsteel have joined together for many years to support City of Hope – an independent research and medical institution recognized as a leader in the fight against cancer, diabetes and HIV/AIDS – raising a record $635,000 in 2016.

This simple act of donating to many amazing organizations as a company inspired a personal challenge that I took on this year to donate to a new charity every week throughout 2017. I have picked local charities that serve my immediate community, as well as national and international causes by which my life has been personally affected.

HON’s dedication to its community has shown me that small acts can make a huge impact, both in our local neighborhoods and around the world. And it’s not always just about financial donations. In addition to gifts of money, it can be just as meaningful to write handwritten letters or personally thank your coworkers, customers and community members. I recently sent a thank you basket of treats to my local doctor’s office to recognize what they do for our community and thank the receptionist who impressed me with her professionalism at my last visit. It was an inexpensive way to show appreciation for a strong, local business and to make others feel valued.

What can you do to help out your fellow coworker, your customer, or your local community? If you don’t have the money to give, try simple things like writing a personal thank you to the teammate who helped you on an important project. Thank the person that held the door open for you as you walked back in from your lunch break.  Wave the guy through in the intersection on your commute to work. Even the simple act of paying for someone’s coffee can cause a huge ripple effect that puts a smile on everyone’s face. With the help of HON and HNI, I have been exposed to and learned a lot about the wonderful causes that our members find important and can’t wait to find new opportunities to give back.

How does your office give back to its community? What causes are important to you?

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Businesswoman pulling suitcase

By definition, communication is the exchange of information. Countless books and articles have been written addressing how to better understand and communicate with your customers, but these same tips are just as helpful when it comes to internal communication with your coworkers. Here are a few tips and tricks to transform your interactions, both inside and outside the office, and separate yourself from the competition.

Make your presence meaningful:
Add value to every interaction. Make sure you are making the most of your team member’s or your customer’s time and be mindful of how you can help them work better. Do you have success stories to share? Is there an upcoming training or webinar you could attend or promote to your stakeholders? Thoughtful, detailed, and honorable service is something that cannot be bought.

Be an active listener:
When your teammate or customer is speaking — are you listening or piecing together your response? Stop, digest the information, and ask questions. Especially when it comes to working with customers, their success is your success, so expressing a sincere interest will go a long way to strengthening important sales relationships.

Think before you speak:
Once you have digested the speaker’s needs, be sure to think before you respond. It’s okay not to have all of the answers, but it’s not okay to tell people only what they want to hear. Good service is exponentially more valuable than fast service.

“Remember not only to say the right thing in the right place, but far more difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.” Benjamin Franklin

Be mindful of email etiquette:
Email etiquette is simple. Whenever possible, address people by name (spelled correctly, of course!). Respond promptly, even when you can’t provide a detailed response – it’s okay to say so and seek out a subject matter expert who can assist.

Deliver more than expected:
Following these prompts should create a deeper connection with both your teammates and your customers – go the extra mile to make it personal. Give more than expected by tailoring the sales experience, being mindful of how you can help those you work with, and always following up after a project has closed. Customers and coworkers want to be understood – be the person that gets them!

How do you bring the ‘wow factor’ in your office?

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