Do you have a system for recognizing when an employee is struggling? Have you set up a mentorship program that pairs workers with colleagues for performance improvement?
In terms of managing a salesperson who seems to be in a slump, Inc. magazine contributor Tim Donnelly recommends putting him or her on a "sales diet." The move may give them a chance to refocus their efforts, to step back from the bigger tasks and focus on some more manageable duties. Additionally, walk them through sales calls. This will allow both the manager and the employee to determine what needs attention and what their strengths are.
"Setting individual benchmarks can help put people on the right track to success, especially if you are forced to put sales staff on probation until performance improves," Donnelly writes. "But it's important to keep a balance between realistic goals and creating too much performance anxiety."
Of course, the management and mentoring process can be much simpler if you have talented, top-quality employees to start with. As we teach through The Covenant Group's financial advisor training, hiring the right person with the skills and characteristics necessary for fulfilling a specific role is essential to building your business and expanding your company's service capabilities.
Norm Trainor explains four lessons about human resource management in The Entrepreneurial Journey. First, building a successful team requires a multi-faceted approach, relying not only on proactive management but also employing smart, skilled people. Ensure you are hiring for the position you need, not the position you think you can afford.
As Norm notes, "many advisors make the mistake of hiring a low-stratum marketing assistant when what they really expect and need is someone capable of managing and executing a complex marketing strategy."
Employees at different skill levels will serve at various strata - a higher-stratum role is more mentally demanding, while those lower down the chain are less strenuous - and it's essential to make sure their capabilities and responsibilities match, otherwise you and the person's colleagues could be left with the extra work. Admittedly, you may have to offer a higher salary to get someone who is able to perform the role's tasks and functions, but the time you will save and the greater flexibility you will have will likely deliver a full return on your investment.
Matthew Asser has spent the last few decades gaining expertise in how financial services firms can optimize their operations, marketing, new products, business development and client relationship management practices. He's well-versed in the challenges that an entrepreneur may struggle with, and as a Senior Coach and Facilitator, helps clients achieve business change through The Covenant Group's extensive financial advisor training programs.