mind your business: Build Your Dream Team
What would you give to have an organization filled with strong employees? That, of course, begs a definition of "strong." In this case, employees who are skilled and knowledgeable, willing to take on more responsibility than is required, work longer and harder than others, are great communicators, love a challenge, and are honest, loyal, respected and respectful. How do you think that would impact your business? The answer should be obvious. The next question, naturally, is how do you get those people and build a dream team that will drive the success of your organization?
Chances are good that you already have employees who display many of the characteristics I've listed above. Your task now is to develop them. To do so, take the following five steps into account:
1. Educate. My mantra over the years has been, "Train, train, train." You must spend the time and the money to educate your employees on your products and services, but you also must provide them the skills to become great communicators. Employees can know your products inside and out, but if they can't communicate with your customers and understand and meet those customers' needs, their knowledge is wasted.
2. Motivate. While money might be a short-term motivator, it will not produce the desired results over the long term. What will? Recognition. Make it your goal to catch your employees doing something right every day and then publicly praise those employees. When you recognize your people, you build their self-confidence and their self-esteem. In the process, you motivate them to perform at an even higher level.
3. Stimulate. Look around you. How many of your employees look bored? How many of them simply do enough to get by? The blame for that situation lies not just with them, but with you. If you are to build a dream team, it's critical that you challenge your employees. Shake things up a little. Move people around to give them a better sense of the operations of the entire organization, and encourage them to bring new ideas to each process involved. When you stimulate people, you energize them. And, when you energize them, you get improved performance.
4. Evaluate. On a quarterly basis, meet informally with employees to give them feedback on their performance during the past three months. On an annual basis, conduct an official performance review. The quarterly review gives employees an opportunity to improve; the annual review lets you know whether or not employees are willing to do what is necessary to remain with your organization.
5. Terminate. Low-performing employees are a drain. They collect their paychecks, but do little or nothing to contribute to your bottom line. They also drag others down with their lack of enthusiasm. If Employee A and Employee B are making the same salary, but Employee A is doing one-third the work Employee B is doing, it doesn't take a genius to predict that, in time, Employee B's drive to perform at the highest level will dissipate. Identify low-performing employees—and show them the door. You can't afford to have them on your payroll.
When you build a dream team, you will have employees who show up every day ready and eager to work. They will feel valued and, in turn, will value what they do and how they do it. They will give you the best they have to give. You couldn't ask for more.
By John Tschohl
John Tschohl, the internationally recognized service strategist, is founder and president of the Service Quality Institute in Minneapolis. Described by USA Today, Time and Entrepreneur as a "customer service guru," he has written several books on customer service and has developed more than 26 customer-service training programs that have been distributed throughout the world. Tschohl's strategic newsletter is available online. For more information, visit www.johntschohl.com.