Luxury goods manufacturers usually put a lot of time and effort into thinking up and putting together effective merchandising displays for their products. In a market where shoppers are looking for products which reflect their personalities and lifestyles, a sloppy display simply doesn’t cut it. Why then, do so many managers accept word-of-mouth or a quick picture as evidence of proper display construction from their employees? While most field teams are focused on performing at the highest level possible, there are always outliers who tend to do as little work as possible while maintaining their good standing. Accepting whatever an employee tells you or shows you as hard-evidence is a mistake that plenty of field team managers have made before, but it need not happen again going forward.
The better way of maintaining a high-level of quality in your merchandising displays is geo-tagged photos. These photos allow managers to track employee position in the field, ensuring that they are always at the proper location. They allow employees to attach notes which can give managers valuable information on what problems are plaguing their employees in the field and what problems different retail locations may have.
Keep Eyes and Ears Open
Employees understand the need for monitoring of performance, but most still want to retain a degree of autonomy in their work. Regularly check in with employees with the primary intention of offering them help—not monitoring them. Employees working in the field will see through a thinly veiled attempt to monitor their every action, and team morale will drop overall. Keeping in mind that your employees are individuals who are part of a larger system can be difficult, but is vital to maintaining the integrity of the team. With the right kind of support, you can empower employees to perform beyond what they thought they could within an organizational system.
Offer Structure to Employees
In general, employees want to see exactly what rules and expectations are involved with their duties. Beyond this, however, are opportunities to educate employees on how the core of their team operates, clearly explaining the structure of the team and the principles upon which it operates. Giving information to employees is a fantastic way to empower those who want to achieve more than what is expected and leads to a stronger sense of belonging among all team members.
How Can I Implement These Ideas?
Implementation of new practices should be carefully thought through with consideration given to the size of the company and the personalities of employees. Leveraging new technologies and encouraging stronger systems of communication help struggling field teams become good teams, and helps good teams become great ones. While it may not be the solution to every single problem, building team morale, communication, and coming to expect a certain degree of accountability from your team will help improve nearly every aspect of an organization.
Mat Brogie is part of the founding team, and CEO of Repsly, the world's leading solution for high performance retail execution teams. Mat has spent the past 15 years of his career focused on bringing technology enabled business solutions to the consumer goods industry, having implemented solutions for tens of thousands of field reps at companies such as Coca-Cola, Procter & Gamble, Pepperidge Farm and hundreds of others.