What does it take to improve staff productivity?
Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of a current article from Retail Contrarian, the blog of the Sixth Star Consulting.
As a leader, it’s your responsibility to manage today’s business while at the same time creating tomorrow’s opportunities.
The more efficient and effective you are, the more productive you are. The more productive you are, the more productive your staff is.
Here are some tips for improving productivity in your business.
1. Focus on expected and immediate behaviors and actions. Most leaders talk about desired results but never drill down to what it takes to achieve them. If a goal is to increase the average sale by $3.50 this week, each associate should know what he/she needs to do that day to achieve that $3.50 higher average sale.
2. Partner up your employees. Many employees work better together and take more responsibility when others are dependent on them. Partnering can be helpful for training and development initiatives, shared tasks or contests.
3. Build accountability into the day. Accountability can be accomplished with a mechanism like a tracking sheet, an end-of-day debrief with a manager, or an action by the leader, such as staff observation and/or practice/role play. You rarely see breakthrough performance in an entire team without well-defined accountability.
4. Attack the gap. For stores that track individual staff results, it’s important to find gaps in associate performance, essentially identifying what the top performers are doing that the bottom aren’t. Managers can use metrics such as ADS (average dollar sales) or transactions per hour, etc. to guide the development of the underperformers and narrow the gap.
5. No more excuses. Store performance suffers when the leader makes excuses for accepting substandard performance. It’s okay if you choose to keep an employee that will almost always perform lower than others. Just don’t pretend you’re holding them to the same expectations as the others. You can explain why you have this person, but an excuse is just acceptance of substandard performance.
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What advice do you have for store managers to improve associate productivity at the store level? Which tips in the article do you find most valuable?