Above and Beyond, Part 2: Making it Happen!

In our last installment, we discussed the idea of going above and beyond in the workplace—why some folks do, why most folks don’t, and the benefits for all parties involved when it takes place.

But how do we create a culture around that behavior where,  by definition, people do more than what is required? After all, we can’t make “Exceed Requirements” a job requirement, because then “exceeding requirements” would be “meeting requirements,” and “meeting requirements” would require “exceeding” them, and…well, you get the idea.

No, managers have to create an environment in which there is motivation (and permission) to do that little bit extra—those additional little things that turn satisfied customers into astonished and delighted ones.

It starts, as so many things do, with your company’s mission and vision. It’s pretty basic—to know when you’ve exceeded expectations, you need to know what those expectations are.  Then you can start identifying opportunities to go above and beyond, and recognize them when they happen.

Once that’s done, you need to empower your team.  As we noted in our last discussion, not all employees are comfortable working outside their specified “zone.”  Good communication is key here, both one-on-one and through company channels, to not only serve notice that this type of behavior is desired, but to hold up examples and praise them loud and long when they occur.

If you are in a position to formalize a program of some sort designed to recognize and reward such behavior—do it!  It gives your team a focal point and some guidelines, as well as a structured way to reward and acknowledge the top performers. Plus, it can be a great morale booster and opportunity for workplace fun.

Rewards should be tangible whenever possible, but never underestimate the power of a sincere (and public) pat on the back. You don’t have to give away TV’s or refrigerators, though—quite often, it really IS the thought that counts, and even a $10 coffee card can reinforce top-flight performance.

Finally, don’t forget to document and track your results. Like anything else, measuring ROI on a performance recognition program is very important.  Keep tabs on the amount of time and resources spent running the program, and on a regular schedule, do your best to measure the value of the program against what you’ve spent to make it happen.

But how do you measure that value? It’s a combination of a lot of little things—customer feedback, employee response, public exposure, and how it plays with your CEO and board.  There’s no guaranteed formula, but, brick by brick, employees who go the extra mile are guaranteed to build up your brand and public image, one good deed at a time.

And those satisfied customers who become astonished and delighted?

They also become permanent.

Grow Big or Go Home!