This is the final article in our 2012 RSR series. We have presented articles that highlight recommended practices on how to identify the best RSR to hire, the ideal first week for a new RSR, onboarding for RSRs: Weeks Two- 10 that culminates with RSR certification and the end of day process for an RSR. In conclusion, we will discuss when it is time to let an RSR or route service representative go.
The goal should be to retain every productive, customer-centered employee possible. This should be measured by the company’s well-defined customer service standards. When those standards are not maintained, determine if the reason is the result of inadequate skills or a lack of will. If a lack of skill is the issue, double down on your commitment to coach, train and develop that employee. If this is a lack of personal commitment to the team, customer service standards and/or performance results, it is time separate.
In order to decide if there is a lack of training or a lack of desire to meet customer service guidelines an evaluation must occur. A large part of this performance evaluation is identifying performance standards that your company expects all employees to meet.
In one of our most viewed articles, we discussed an evaluation technique called 4-Blocking. This is a way to provide perspective on where managers should reinvest in employee training in order to improve teamwork and productivity. After identifying what “block” employees fall into, a manager can begin to understand what development opportunities employees have and how to determine where investments should be made. Conversely, it is also important to evaluate and understand which employees no longer require your company’s support.
Other invaluable evaluation tools are performance reviews, daily check-ins and weekly one-on-ones. These tools enable a manager to consistently evaluate and train a RSR’s performance. The ideal is to closely evaluate not only the choices an RSR makes but also what led them to make these choices. Investments made in employee training ensure a productive long-term employee. The investment to train an employee requires both time and a financial commitment. The result of shortcutting this investment will almost certainly cost an employer unneeded turnover or worst, poor employee performance. The ultimate goal is to mitigate those burdens as much as possible with a well-trained and seasoned staff.
Performance is the best the indicator of when to hire and fire. For an adequate evaluation we recommend performance reviews to be no less than once a year for every employee – regardless of their performance. Managers should take as much time as needed to prepare for employee reviews. This is a time to reflect not only on the performance, behavior and succession planning of the RSR, but on the manager’s coaching techniques as well. Adequate performance reviews can be nebulous so the first step is to define a consistent measure of what performance and high performance means at your company. Remember, results are a part of performance. Please see our recent RSR End of Day Process article for recommended metrics to consider for performance reviews.
After a specific benchmark has been established for your company, the next step is to adhere to those benchmarks. Often, managers in our industry make the mistake of thinking that if an employee is not causing them a headache then the employee must be competent. In actuality, the employees that are flying under the radar could be causing your company the most damage.
When you find that RSR’s are not meeting the agreed upon benchmarks, consider the reason. Just because a route rep is not currently demonstrating the skill doesn’t mean he doesn’t have the will to grow if additional training is provided. RSR’s with a strong will can be retrained and could bring a tremendous level of value to the team.
When is it Time to Let Go?
If all the above measures have been exhausted and the RSR still has no desire to reinvigorate and results are not being delivered, it is time to make the obvious choice to let that RSR go.
The decision in a small business to let an employee go can rattle the rest of team. It is important to clearly convey that the service to customers trumps any employee. The uneasiness of making hard decisions should not dictate the level of service customers receive. When a company demonstrates its commitment to upholding its declared customer service standards, benchmarks, processes and systems, other employees will realize how important it is to not only to achieve results, but also to achieve them through the proper process. Your business will be better for it in the long run.
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