I do more shopping at this time of year than at any other time. And that means engaging with a lot of customer-facing employees. Most of them are knowledgeable and friendly, but I think we all have our share of holiday shopping horror stories.
Whenever I find myself across the counter from a less-than-helpful employee, I’m struck by just how much power customer-facing employees have to make or break a brand. A company can spend millions on marketing, but the brand’s fate ultimately rests with the boots on the ground.
Keeping employees motivated and happy should be a top priority for retailers. And with tax season coming up, it’s important for tax and accounting firms as well. With that in mind, I thought I’d share a few coaching tips that help us rally the troops here at Thomson Reuters.
- Provide Positive Feedback: Remember, coaching isn’t just about correcting problems. Reinforcing positives is just as important.
- Be Timely: Feedback given immediately is always better than delayed feedback. Don’t wait for an annual performance evaluation to unload a whole year’s worth of feedback.
- Be Specific: When you provide feedback, be specific about what you liked or what could be done better next time. Vague statements like “You didn’t handle that well” or “You did great job” aren’t all that useful.
- Don’t Judge: Focus on the issue or behavior, not the person.
- Praise Publicly, Critique in Private: The reasons are obvious.
- Be Clear about Expectations: Spell out the results you’re looking for and how success will be measured.
- Share the Big Picture: When possible, it’s a good idea to explain why you want things done a certain way. Knowing the big picture enables employees to adapt to meet goals, even when the unexpected happens.
- Make It Interactive: Try to make employee meetings more like discussions and less like lectures. Listen to what employees have to say. And watch your body language.
Whether you’re working in retail or tax and accounting, people are your most valuable assets. Investing in their success can have a powerful impact on your entire firm.