Customer Service Assessment

5 Ways to Spring Clean Your Business

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Spring is here and many of us are taking the time to organize, freshen, and slough off the old winter heaviness and create a light, clean approach to life. Spring is not only a great opportunity to clean the space within your home. But it's also an opportunity to clean up your systems and organization at work. Today we will share five approaches that top executives use to to spring cleaning each year.

UNSUBSCRIBE

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SAY GOODBYE

When cleaning out your closet, organizers recommend that if you haven't worn it in the last year, it needs to go. The same rule can be applied to certain areas of your business. Some areas get neglected due to a lack of resources, so it’s the time to look specifically at those, see how they might be better incorporated, or just get rid of them if they have gone this long without any notice or results.

GO DIGITAL

Continually look for ways to get rid of paper processes. In the digital age files, photos, and scans help an office run more efficiently. Evaluate your business to determine if there is an area that is slower due to manual, paper processes.

QUESTION EVERYTHING

Gather the team to brainstorm every area of your department or company. Ask the question, "Is this the best way to handle this area?" "Is there a more efficient system that we could implement?"

REVIEW STAFFING

This doesn't mean that it's time to begin downsizing. But take a moment to review the staff, their strengths, job descriptions, and the duties they actually carry out on a month-to-month basis. Is downsizing an option? Would cross-training be better? Take some time to evaluate.

 

 

Creating Emotionally Intelligent Leaders with Multi Rater Feedback

Multi rater feedback, simply put, is the process of having multiple people who interact with a worker -- managers, coworkers, subordinates, and even customers -- provide paper feedback regarding that worker's performance. It's often called 360 degree feedback due to the multilateral of the incoming evaluations. Multi rater feedback is exceptionally useful in helping managers guide employee development, continuously realigning the employee's personalized goals with the company's overall vision. Employees want to know how well they're doing, and 360 degree feedback is an excellent tool to enhance their self awareness by highlighting what their supervisors, subordinates, peers, and outsiders see as their personal strengths and weaknesses. By comparing and contrasting those strengths and weaknesses to the corporation's goals and vision, a manager can create a detailed plan for what precise areas must be addressed in order for the worker to stand up to the corporation's expectations.

Multi rater feedback creates accountability on a massive scale -- sociologists call it 'peer pressure'. Not only is a worker accountable for meeting his manager's goals for him (which can often fail due to a personality conflict between the two), but he is also accountable to every individual he works with on a daily basis -- and let's be honest, if he has a problem with even most of them, he should probably be replaced immediately anyway.

Because 360 degree evaluations give an individual many different perspectives on his or her performance, they create a powerful sense of contrast between how an individual sees themselves and how everyone else sees them. It's easy to say that one person who disagrees with your self-opinion is merely wrong, but when a dozen people all independently disagree, it encourages a powerful self-reflection that is an amazing tool to provoke personal change.

This is excellent for a frontline worker, but the effect is even more powerful in the company's leaders. The most often-expressed complaint about managers can be summarized as a lack of emotional intelligence -- an inability to empathize with their subordinates, and more importantly to understand that they can't. With multi rater feedback, that predicament will never remain for long.

The Ideal Employee Performance Appraisal Part 2: The Employee Performance Review

In Part I, we talked a bit about how to prepare for a rock-solid employee performance review; in summary, the key is to establish firm expectations early and then observe progress carefully over the appraisal period. This puts both the worker and the manager in a position to enter the actual employee performance assessment with an understanding of what is about to happen and why. Here's what should happen during the ideal appraisal itself: Manager's Assessment As the time of the appraisal meeting approaches, the manager should set time aside to reflect on the worker's performance, assemble the requisite paperwork, and fill it out with specific reference to the goals that were explicitly laid out for the worker at the beginning of the appraisal cycle. At this point, the manager should also consider the specific bonuses, pay scale changes, or other special changes in compensation that the worker has earned for his performance -- positive or negative.

Ideally, the manager's boss will review the completed paperwork before the appraisal meeting happens. The boss should be made aware of the specific goals that were set, but the manager should avoid stating everything in numerical terms -- it's equally important if not more so that the boss get a feeling of the manager's opinion in qualitative terms as well. That gives the boss not only a feeling for the employee, but for the manager's performance management abilities as well.

The Meeting The manager and the worker meet at the end of the appraisal period. The previously-reviewed paperwork is gone over again between the manager and the worker, along with an employee self-review that the worker filled out on their own. An honest discussion follows about the worker's performance: strengths, weaknesses, successes and failures, and any compensation changes that follow as a result of the above.

At the end of the appraisal, assuming that the worker stays with the company, the process immediately starts over at Step 1, with the worker and the manager going over the next set of goals going forward. The worker leaves the meeting understanding not only the impact of his previous work, but how he needs to modify his behavior in the future.

The Ideal Employee Performance Appraisal Part 1: Defining Expectations

Performing an employee performance appraisal correctly can mean the difference between firing a solid worker -- or worse, keeping on a money sink that drives your customers away -- and not. No other process performed by middle management has as much influence not only on the individual workers but on the performance of the business as a whole. Used properly, employee assessments are the most powerful arrow in your business' quiver in terms of mobilizing the energy and strengths of every employee toward accomplishing your strategic goals. By addressing not only every employee's abilities and talents, but aligning their attention to the company's values and vision, you can get each of them to answer two important questions: "What does my company expect of me?" and "How can I better meet those expectations?".

Fortunately, there is an ideal method for performing an employee performance appraisal. It involves four basic phases of action, two of which we'll cover in this post: defining expectations for the worker, and observing the worker over the course of the appraisal period.

Defining Expectations At the beginning of the appraisal period, a worker's manager sits down with them and discusses exactly what that worker is expected to do over the next period. That includes what the worker's specific responsibilities will be, the general behaviors and competencies the worker will be expected to display, and the potential paths of development the worker might take along the way. This discussion empowers the worker, who learns what they must do to earn whatever benefits or bonuses await them -- and it empowers the manager, who has now earned the right to hold the worker accountable for all of those expectations.

Observation The manager's role over the course of the appraisal period is to continually observe the worker's performance in respect to the previously discussed goals, and address any areas in which the worker is falling behind -- or greatly exceeding -- those goals. Furthermore, the manager is responsible for encouraging the worker to seek out coaching and feedback relative to their goals.

In Part II, we'll take a look at the crucial element of the appraisal process: the review itself.