JCK Las Vegas: Measure Your Employees’ Productivity

To be successful in business today, you need a way to measure
your employees’ performance, Kate Peterson of Performance Concepts said in a
session on “Achieving Excellence: Standards and Benchmarks for Sales
Professionals” June 2 at the JCK Las Vegas show.

“When we expect performance from professionals, how often do
we tell them what we want?” she asked. “Do we give them goals? How often do you
do employee performance reviews? If it’s only once a year, that is not enough.”

For instance, retailers need a way to measure their
salespeople’s productivity beyond total sales.

“Productivity is not just about measuring total sales,” she
said. “Productivity is what you get in response to what you spend, not what you
get. You have to look at how total sales relate to income, and how that relates
to the total picture of the store. Most of us as business owners get so tickled
by someone who can write big business, we don’t look at what kind of standards
we are holding them to.”

She advised that retailers devise “a performance measurement
system where you look at whether each salesperson is worth what you’re paying them.”

She noted that bosses don’t motivate employees, “employees
motivate themselves.”

“Find out what your employees’ motivation is, and find out
how to tap into it,” she said. “You have to find out what means something to
the people who work for you. Discover their personal motivation; give them a
stake in what they are doing. The reason people become million-dollar
salespeople is because they have a passion for what they do.”

She added that most people are “more committed to an
objective that they help define.”

“The more you work with your employees to define your goals,
the more motivated they are to succeed,” she said. “Your job is to provide that
kind of supportive autonomy. Let people make those decisions, and help them get
there.”

Peterson advised retailers to connect individual goals to
larger company goals.

“If you and I agree on what our goals are, then I have to be
accountable to you on achieving those goals,” she said. “Employees need to fit
into the big picture. Make sure people understand where they fit.”

Those goals need to be challenging but achievable, she said.

“Overly challenging goals breed resentment,” she said. “But
at the same time, overly cautious goals just lead to mediocrity. “

The best goals emerge from negotiation between employer and
employee.

“It has to be a
cooperative effort,” she said. “Employees should create a first draft, and then
stretch goals can emerge through give and take.”

The goals should also be built on “solid information,” such
as market size and demographics.

“When we tell really good salespeople how big their market
is, and how much they are getting and how much their competitor is getting,
usually they get annoyed,” she said. “But that is the kind of annoyance you can
use.”

She said good managers let employees take personal
responsibility for their goals. 

“When people come to you a problem, do you solve it for
them?” she said. “Or do you get them to solve it? When there’s a problem, don’t
fix it. Help to create solutions.”

Finally, to find good people, don’t look in all the
conventional places. Ask your current employees, and place ads in placement
offices in community colleges and look for people who have studied the
humanities.

“You don’t want the accounting manager, the financing major,”
she said. “You want people who can talk to people.”

Some other jewelers have had success putting a sign looking
for people in the store.