News from Pursuit

How to build a frontline staff A-team

One of the benefits of the SmartMPOS system is that it allows front-line staff to enjoy positive interactions with customers. By having a customer’s details at their fingertips, staff are able to engage with the customer on a much more personal level. Staff can be of genuine assistance to the customer, because they have knowledge of their prior shopping habits, and they can quickly answer any questions on available stock or items that might complement a prior purchase made by the customer.

In other words, staff are helped to be competent and efficient at their job, which is a huge plus when it comes to creating and maintaining a motivated workforce.

The ability to connect their action to a customer outcome is just one major factor in motivating staff. The Harvard Business Review has identified some other factors that will come into play as you build an A-team for your business.

According to the Harvard Business Review, ‘why’ people work will determine how ‘well’ they work and that is a piece of knowledge that is fundamental to getting the most from your staff.

The why factors could include:

  • Excitement about the work, a sense of novelty or experimentation. This staff member will generally be very positive about company initiatives or the introduction of new systems of working.
  • A sense of purpose, the work matters. This is the staff member who takes pride in a job well done and will respond very positively to projects that have a finish point.
  • Potential, i.e. they can see an improvement in their overall skills provided by the working environment. This is the staff member who relishes training days or learning new sales techniques.

From this simple assessment of staff’s needs, it is clear that a good manager will create an environment where staff can optimise excitement, purpose and potential among the staff but reduce the more negative factors such as emotional and economic pressure. Phrases such as “you need to get your team to work harder”, or “other stores are doing better”, are loaded with negativity and almost guaranteed to lower a staff member’s drive and motivation.

In this same vein, high pressure motivation tactics, including sales-based commissions and sales-based promotions are both highly pressured ways of attempting to motivate people and the evidence offered in the Harvard Business Review suggests they do not work.

The bottom line is: great leadership isn’t about pressuring people to do their work, it is about inspiring people to want to do their work well.

Here are a few simple ideas you can implement to encourage and motivate your staff.

  1. Create an ideas board that tracks the primary challenges the business has to solve. Encourage colleagues to add any ideas they had to meet the challenges.
  2. Hold team meetings at regular intervals where staff are asked to review the ideas. Make sure it is an environment where staff can freely have a say without feeling judged. The idea is to create a spirit of generating ideas.
  3. Identity some ‘super skills’ that some members of staff have. For example there might be a member of staff who is excellent at building relationships with prospective customers. Someone else might be very skilled at generating ideas through sales data. Share these ‘super skills’ with all staff so if an employee feels he or she needs help in a certain skills area, there is a ‘superpower’ who can give some on-the-job training.
  4. Identify 20 key front-line skills and ask staff to choose the skills they believe would most improve their performance if they learned them. Encourage staff to either attend external training courses or learn the skill by linking with a superpower [see point above].

By adopting this approach, if a staff member is struggling to perform, the solution becomes about learning and developing skills rather than looking to apportion blame. At the same time, staff feel motivated because their skills are highlighted and visibly appreciated.

Implementing a front-line staff management approach that focuses on driving performance through recognising each member of staff as an individual with different strengths, will allow you to build team motivation and ultimately enhance the team’s performance.