Merrick, NY--As the New Year rolls around, it's time for business-minded jewelers to evaluate 2014 and finish mapping out 2015. With that in mind, The Centurion consulted with a number of experts in various fields to ask each what is the one most critical thing a jeweler should do in that category to start the year off right. We'll be sharing their answers with you throughout January, offering you a roadmap on various topics affecting your business. In the first installment of our series, we hear from Jon Parker of Virginia-based DJP Executive Search, a recruitment and consulting company specializing in the fine jewelry industry. His topic is personnel.
The Centurion: What's ONE smart thing a prestige jeweler can/should do to start off the year right?
Jon Parker: Now is the time to assess the performance of your staff. While the activity, observations and results of the holiday season’s sales are fresh in your mind, now is the best time to review the performance of each staff member. Whether they are in sales, sales support, operations, merchandising, marketing, IT or finance, every one of your staff members were working in support of your firm having a successful year, hopefully.
If you take a little bit of time to reflect on each individual’s performance during the holidays, you can get a strong sense of the contributions they made (or unfortunately, didn’t make) to the outcome of your year. Doing it now will also help to trigger your recollections of their performance throughout the year.
Remember to write everything down (or at least, voice memo) your thoughts on each employee as you’re going through the process. This will be of great help to you when you have reviews with each of your staff members at a later date. This is not to say it’s time to perform reviews with each of your staff right now but, the sooner after the New Year you do meet with each staff member, the better. If members of your staff have earned recognition, the sooner you formally recognize their efforts, the more they will appreciate it. If there were challenges with any staff members, the same thing holds true even more so.
You'll want to work with each of them on the areas where they need improvement. This helps them get on the right track right away—or release them if they’re uncooperative and/or completely unwilling to embrace the improvements you ask them to make. It can be tough to have the conversation with an employee who isn’t performing well, but it is unacceptable to leave negative issues unaddressed. Burying them is tantamount to planting bad seeds that WILL crop up later—and worse, will have taken root and possibly spread around your company.