Come join us in our adventures! Enter your email address for the latest customer service training trends and tips.

Enter your email here to follow our adventures.

Friday, January 23, 2015

It's a New Year! 92% is an Epic Fail of Performance Plans

Statistics say people who make New Year resolutions fail 88% to 92% of the time.  It is disheartening to intellectually know our well intentioned momentum for change will take most of us back to our old habits.

Many times the Performance Development Plan (PDP) season, or annual performance appraisal, is a task that no one wants to do.   Leaders find the documents and processes tedious; employees find them disengaging.  At the end of the document, a sort of resolutions for the employee are captured for the new year.

And just like our personal resolutions, PDPs fail most of the time. Intentions are good, but usually the goals are too overreaching and rarely connect to an employee's every day reality.

But there is hope.  I have kept two resolutions, and what worked for me will work in the workplace too.  First, they were minor changes, but they made a healthy impact on my life.  Secondly, I had to concentrate on them everyday.

So pick something small, and something the employee can apply often.  For example, an employee needs to develop leadership skills (a classic).  Start with having her lead meetings.   Give the employee constructive feedback, and after mastering meeting management, move on to a more complex skill like coaching.

Small and consistent action change who we are.  When the document asks, "How will the employee gain this skill?"  Think through the next question too, "What can the employee do almost everyday to help him gain this needed skill?"

Make the Performance Development Plan the effective and engaging process it can be.  It is a blueprint to success.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

We're Off to See the Wizard - The End of Onboarding

The other day, I was talking to a friend of mine who is an operations leader at a contact center. The discussion focused on the challenges of new agents.  New agents are wonderful, enthusiastic, usually eager to please, but sometimes they lack confidence.  Our talk lead me to think of a simple evaluation method for new employees.

Think of the end of new hire training as reaching the Great Wizard of Oz.  Remember from the story: the Scarecow was looking for a heart, the Tin Man a brain, and the Lion lacked courage.  Each of these elements are necessary to work in the service industry.

Take a look at your new team.  If they can evaluate the emotional tension of a customer, they have a good heart.  If they know the policies of the organization, they have the right knowledge.  If they need less reassurance, they have courage to make decisions and trust they learned what they need to know in training.

If one area is deficient, focus coaching conversations to develop it.  If two are missing, that could be poor training or a poor hire.  We won't even go there if three are missing.

Like in Oz, the Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Lion were shown they already possessed what they believed the lacked.   Perhaps your new hires do too, and it is your job to get them on the yellow brick road of success.