When two people look at the same photograph, rarely do they see the same details. One may notice the light bouncing off the turquoise ocean, while the other only sees the dilapidated beach hut. Differing viewpoints is part of human nature and makes life interesting, but in the workplace, perspectives that differ can have a major impact on business.
Some staff may feel they’re doing a great job, yet you view their work and attitude as less than stellar. Without clearly defined expectations, this difference of opinion will continue to the point where one, or both, of you reach crisis point. The best way to alleviate this problem is to create a performance measurement system that outlines expectations from both sides and includes a regular review process to keep everyone in check.
No doubt you constantly monitor your employee’s sales figures and skillset, but by doing so in a formal manner, everyone has an opportunity to discuss issues before they snowball into a larger problem. A regular review is also the perfect time to offer praise and encouragement that will give your staff a stronger sense of worth. After all, a happy employee is likely to stay with your agency and as a spin-off, will have a positive effect on morale and sales.
Chances are, your staff regularly work unpaid overtime when required, so by you giving them 30-45 minutes of one-on-one time every month, they’ll see you appreciate their efforts and value their place in the agency. During the performance review, highlight their achievements, offer
helpful suggestions for improvement, and finish the conversation with a clear goal in mind and a plan as to how they can reach that target.
Ask your staff if there are areas they feel management are doing well or may need to reassess. As your employees are on the front line dealing with all manner of clients, wholesalers, and airlines, their experience and feedback may help you develop new processes to make your agency more efficient and profitable. And if your employees feel their opinions are valued, they will be more vested in their role and business.
Staff should know ahead of time what will be discussed and how it will be recorded. This way, both parties can prepare and utilise the time efficiently, as well as enjoy a safe environment to discuss matters without any nasty surprises thrown in. If an employee is thrown off-guard by a subject they hadn’t expected, a barrier may shoot up between you both, and chances of the meeting ending successfully will diminish. Every ounce of feedback you receive, good and bad, gives you valuable insight as to how your business is viewed by one of your most important assets—your employees.
So in this busy world where every minute counts, how can you effectively use the time you spend during performance reviews? These meetings are an opportunity to reinforce the values and standards of your business; identify mentor or training needs; improve staff retention by discovering potential problems early; develop incentive programs; recognise and reward high achievers and offer support for those not reaching their objectives; and above all, gather a deeper understanding of your staff, their relationship to your business, and how you can use this knowledge to increase profits.
We all know how important communication is, and by offering the chance for your staff to discuss their needs, ideas, and issues on a regular basis, you’re well on the way to fostering a long, successful relationship with your employees. Just imagine the possibilities for growth if management and staff held open, honest discussions about your business.
Final thought: If you haven’t already, develop a schedule and form for performance reviews. Advise everyone ahead of time and no matter how busy the office gets, stick to the schedule. Once everyone is used to regular reviews, it will become a normal part of working life.