Most employee performance reviews are after the fact,
too late to benefit the worker.
And there are many times when evaluations can actually have a negative
impact on the employee, sometimes permanently, because the employer is
inconsistent and vague in his expectations.
When I asked a friend recently why she disliked her
manager she replied, “He would say to me, ‘I want you to more of this and more of
that,’ and then when I went out and did what he asked he’d say, ‘well, why aren’t you
doing more of that and more of this?’
It got to be very frustrating.”
It’s not a surprise that my friend started her new
job this week. With a different employer.
In inside sales, quarterly reviews and even weekly
reviews might not be enough to educate employees and steer them in the
right direction while keeping morale high. Remember, employee feedback is often one-sided: the employee listens while the manager
points out strengths and weaknesses, and usually not in that order.
Well, why not videotape your employees while they’re
on the job? Videotape is a little
more cumbersome than audio, but it provides an added benefit: the employee can see his own performance. How’s his body language? Is he standing and projecting while he pitches or is he
crumpled up in his cube, head down? Video will show all this and more.
Having a videographer in residence can certainly
benefit a sales team with no extra effort on the part of the manager. The videographer, or sales manager,
videotapes the employee and plays back the footage. Instantaneously.
Just like they do in Hollywood.
Bingo! Instant employee review—right there!—on the spot. And it’s much more effective because
video doesn’t lie, and the employee now has fresh eyes and an open mind and knows exactly what he’s doing right and what he needs to work on.
This exercise will also keep your team on their
toes. Nobody wants to look foolish
but everybody wants to be shot from their best side. A quiet, covert approach works best. You do not want to run onto the sales
floor and yell, “Action!” If you announce yourself you’ll usually
get very good performances, but not entirely true performances. After all, everyone can put their best foot forward for five minutes but can they
do it for six to eight hours?
Unplanned videotapings—that will keep you sales team on their toes.
Of course, it’s important to have fun with this
exercise. It’s not NYU Film
School, it’s still sales. Keep it light with the
focus on educating your employees.
And keep the footage. In fact, hand it over to your AV or tech department and have
them edit it and produce short (no longer than three minutes) pieces that might find
their way onto a DVD. Sure, it’s not the
best employee Christmas gift, but the viewing will add an extra kick to those often boring year-end parties.
Make sure to feature a blooper reel as well.