I am a relatively new manager and I have to visit one of my under performing store locations. Due to a lack of consistent leadership the staff at this location is not meeting the standards of my company and I need to evaluate which staff are "A" vs. "B" players. We are already cutting hours for the clear bottom performers but I want to meet the staff myself and make sure that who the manager says is their "top performers " or "a players" meet my standards. Any suggestions for how to best accomplish this? It's a young group and I don't want it to be obvious that I'm there to observe and evaluate. Should I meet one on one with each employee and ask them some formal or informal questions? Should I stand back and observe them as they complete their tasks etc? Any advice is welcome for on site visits!

katehorstman's picture
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Hi! The best way to start is probably by being clear about what the standards are and how they are met. Usually, that means you need a metric. Does your company have clear metrics around performance? And are those metrics things that can be focused on daily? Think of it this way- what are the numbers that make up an A versus B team member? Is it the time it takes to ring up a sale or the number of sales per day? What measurement can you take to improve the issues you're struggling with? I would encourage you to share that with the manager on site. Ask them to show you the data that supports their A versus B players. If you want to do that on site with them, that would be fine. If the reason you want to visit is to see things for yourself, is that due to a lack of trust with that manager? Or is there confusion about why things aren’t going well? I would ask them to prepare the numbers in advance if they can and talk to them on site about what they come up with. 

If you have clear metrics, teams are capable of measuring their performance and you can make accurate assessments as well. I have put the link to our cast on new managers and metrics below, as well as our cast on how to increase and measure team input. I would encourage you to think about metrics and proxies for the results you want. Then, when you are on site, you could measure those things visually by observing. I don’t think that you have to pretend about why you are there. They probably already know why. You could certainly meet with each of them if you have time. However, those meetings might devolve into discussions on how things are going badly without any real input about how to fix things. 


I hope this helps,