It has always bothered me that companies feel as though the boss needs to go under cover to discover if their employees are delivering on the brand promise. This approach seems like the "boss" is operating from a point of distrust and he/she is already signaling to the employees that there is a gap in what should be happening versus what is actually happening within the operations.
On the flip side, it bothers me that employees generally feel inhibited and helpless that they can't be honest with the company and share where cracks are beginning in the brand image and ideas that might make the brand that much better.
Fast forward to reality.
I believe that there is a much simpler way to determine if your employees are doing what they should be doing. First off, do the hard homework by getting to know your employees. Yes, have conversations (as in plural) with your folks who are on the front lines representing your brand name.
It is important that your employees understand what exactly you expect of them. There should be no assumptions or guessing games, rather:
- Established guidelines and policies; so, employees understand the value and culture of your company; and, the standard for acceptable behavior
- Make sure there are ongoing training programs that are consistent to ensure that your employees are operating at your defined level of excellence.
- Set up performance evaluations that are equitable and help employees understand how their contributions are evaluated; and, more importantly how they can succeed.
And yes, if you spot high-performing employees who have potential, invest in them so they feel valued; get them engaged and together map out a career plan.
Both you and your employee need to invest in a reciprocal relationship. By getting to know your employees, what uniquely motivates them and what their life achievements/goals are it will enable you to help your employees deliver the best possible experience to your customers.
Operate from a point of trust and support. When you see a gap or a crack happening in delivering on your brand promise - intervene, evaluate, and help that employee. Sometimes you can't and I trust that you'll know when that relationship needs to be terminated. But for the most part, you're dealing with people that want to contribute and give you their best.
So, when you're wondering what's really going on or your gut is telling you there is something wrong here - resist the urge to find out by going undercover and face the issue openly and honestly - you'll be surprised what you'll discover.
Sonya Ruff Jarvis, is the Managing Member of Jarvis Consultants and Founder of the eRetailer Summit. Sonya has extensive experience in creating original innovative solutions to overcome major business challenges. Sonya has spent most of her career visiting headquarters across global industries and has built strong business relationships across diverse brands.
Sonya has a M.B.A. in Marketing. She is married and has a daughter and they live in Fairfield County Connecticut.