Giving employees a voice

Even with a slew of daily
tasks, Ed Pozzuoli still
takes time to listen to his employees. Keeping his ears
open allows the president of
Tripp Scott PA — a law firm
that posted 2007 revenue of
$20 million — to learn what’s
going on with his 100 employees and to better understand
what matters to them.

“It is important if we understand … if an assistant has an
elderly parent at home or
young kids or a particular
stress with respect to finances
or otherwise, at least have an
understanding of where they
are in their personal lives,
because everyone has a little
bit of difference,” he says.

Smart Business spoke with
Pozzuoli about how to listen
to your employees and clients
to create trusting relationships
with them.

Q. How do you develop
trusting relationships with
employees?

Being consistent and having
an open ear as to what’s important to them. When I mean consistent, that the decision-making
process — whether it affects
them directly or indirectly — is
based upon a consistent set of
principles, that it’s based upon
the driving issues … that you’re
always looking out for the best
interest of the firm … and, in
turn, having them understand
that the best interest of the firm
is consistent with theirs.

The second thing is understanding what’s important to
employees, and that main issue
is listening. People have a great
capacity to understand if you
take the time and explain to
them. People will understand if
you provide enough information
for them to participate in and
have some input and an understanding of what’s important.

It starts with having a truly
open door. You have to be
secure enough to be open to
other’s opinions. It’s understanding and getting to know family
and personal goals and impacts
on their personal life.

Q. How do you get to know
your employees’ needs?

When you work together as a
team, there’s a personal
trust that is developed,
and you get to understand
and know about their
spouses, their kids, what’s
going on at some level …
and they get to know you.

You’ve got to first make
the conscious effort to
care about what’s going
on, and that takes some
time. There has to be a
mindset that this is our
team, what affects them at
least indirectly affects you.
Look for opportunities to
talk them through it and
what they think of situations dealing with clients
and how they act and how
they interact with clients.

People have all kinds of
issues, ranging from personal to
professional. It’s important to
understand their needs while
keeping it professional.

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