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Lisa Winnard: Four steps towards outstanding client service

Clear direction will help your staff towards clients service wins

Lisa Winnard

As we move rapidly towards the mid-year point, many organisations will be looking at how they are progressing against their annual objectives. For many, this will involve an assessment of individual people performance, which raises the question: do businesses manage people in the right way to deliver results?

When I speak to business owners, I often encounter the same push- backs: “It is easier to do it myself” or “I’ve asked them to do it but they didn’t do it how I wanted.” Do these sound familiar?

We all want profitable businesses, with high performing and engaged staff who provide an outstanding service to customers. So where does it all begin? Here are four simple steps:

1. Set clear direction and expectations for your team

What is the big picture and where is your company heading? What are your goals for this year and next? Answer these questions and share them so that all of your people are committed to the same vision and know what is expected of them.

A clear vision defines the direction in which your business is heading and illustrates what it stands for. A vision has the potential to help improve your probability of success.

Once you have achieved this, you can then filter the company objectives down to individual key performance indicators and Smart objectives. You can also determine what support and development your people need to achieve both their own and the company’s objectives.

2. Have courageous conversations to help move your business forward

It is important to have open and honest conversations with your staff, exploring issues, thoughts and feelings. This helps you deal with any conflict before it escalates.

Very often, people are anxious about having these conversations, so tackle any tricky issues by preparing thoroughly in order to confront with safety. Provide examples and manage reactions, then plan, monitor and review.

Continual feedback throughout a review period is a must; it should not be saved up for an annual appraisal.

3. Embed a robust performance management process

Managing performance means giving employees day-to-day support in order to enable them to carry out their roles effectively. A consistent performance management process across the business is essential. This will provide standards and tools to manage high and low performance. It is also important to provide your people with evaluations and a rating linked to performance, and include evidence of achievement.

It will also help you manage any “can’t or won’t” issues and enable you to identify a route to tackle performance versus capability problems.

4. Invest in management training

It is unrealistic to expect a manager to be effective at keeping tabs on performance, providing feedback, setting direction and engaging a team to deliver without the necessary support.

Training and development in this area will provide the confidence to have courageous conversations, tackle tricky situations and get the best out of people. It will also provide a structure to help drive high performance and achievement of the company’s goals.

Lisa Winnard is HR and business services director at Sesame Bankhall Group

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