Service Managers, Service Directors and Fixed Operations supervisors everywhere look for the best practices to employ in running a smooth and profitable business. Obtaining and retaining qualified staff is a pain I know everyone feels to varying degrees and for certain skill sets.
Training and learning in methodologies, techniques and skills necessary to become the best, most efficient and client-accommodating department is essential, and you may even have super-qualified people amongst your ranks of Service personnel. We all know the best processes you can ever endeavor to create, even with the explicit input from those going to be executing, are doomed to fail without one key ingredient… accountability.
Accountability seems to be a buzz word these days. How do we practically employ it to our advantage and indeed have answerability within the ranks of our associates? How can we have our processes work for the business and for the customers? How do I get my people accountable for their results? Here are a few key things to consider when managing.
- Competence. This is absolutely the first qualifier. STOP: Don’t overlook this or everything else is futile! What skills does the employee need to meet the expectations? What resources will they need? If the person does not have what’s necessary, can they attain what’s missing? If so, what’s the strategy? If you don’t have a plan for progression to achieve competence you have the wrong person…START OVER!
- Expectations. Be abundantly clear about what your expectations are. This means being clear about the outcome you’re looking for, how you’ll measure achievement, and how to go about accomplishing the goals. Get your people engaged to give their strategies and ideas. Writing out a summary of expectations is great and very important, but doesn’t replace face-to-face interaction. You have to do both.
- Metrics. During the expectations conversation, you should agree on daily, weekly and monthly milestones with clear, measurable, objective targets. Each person should intimately know what their goals are and where they stand. As an employee I should know “Am I in the GREEN, YELLOW or RED?” If any of these targets slip-up, pay attention to it right away! Share ideas and come up with a practical solution that gets the person back on track. Don’t overcomplicate just pick three main MEASUREABLE things that need to be done consistently and focus on them in earnest.
- Feedback. Have daily or at least weekly feedback sessions with your team members, (Some call these service meetings!) If you have clear expectations, competence, and metrics, the feedback can be fact-based and easy to deliver. Is the person delivering on her commitments? Is she working well with the other techs and advisors? Does she need to increase her capability? Is she on track? The feedback can also go both ways — is there something you can be doing to be more accommodating?
- Risk/Reward If the person succeeds, you should reward them appropriately (acknowledgement, advancement, and the like). If they have not proven answerable and you are rationally deciding that you followed the steps above, and repeated your efforts when prudent, then they are not a suitable fit. As a result, you should consider changing roles to perhaps even termination.
These are the construction materials for the principle of accountability. The way it comes to life is to work together as a system. Failure any one, accountability will tumble through that breach. Remember the question we began with “How do I get my people to be accountable for results?” Honestly, it all depends. Which of the five areas can you work on to ensure you are giving people the best chance for success?