Professional Jeweler Archive: Wrapping Up the Holidays

January 2005

The Store / Managing: Your Staff

Wrapping Up the Holidays

It's time for employee evaluations

by Jon Parker & Debbie Dern

Come January you’re just beginning to recover from the holiday rush. Your natural tendency is to wind down from the retail madness that surrounds the final weeks of the year. However, this is the best time to take the extra step of evaluating your store’s performance during the holidays. That assessment should include an employee review.

On average, the holiday season accounts for two-thirds of a jeweler’s annual sales volume. Because it’s the most critical time for your store, it’s also the moment of truth for your staff members. Did they reach or exceed their sales goals? Did they go the extra mile?

With November and December still fresh in your mind (and your employees’ minds), this is the most teachable moment for all of you. If you wait for a few months, you miss an opportunity to implement improvements at the beginning of the year. You also risk the loss of key information over time.

Some companies conduct quarterly or semiannual employee evaluations. Incorporating more regular and formal assessments of your employees will give you a documented record of their performance throughout the year and will help your yearly salary review comes up.

How to Begin

Prepare your staff. Inform them (in a group setting) that you will begin a post-holiday performance review. Discuss the format you will use and the factors you will consider. If you’ve used an employee review form in the past, give them a copy and allow time to complete it before the review.

In the review, evaluate several key factors. How did the person achieve individual benchmarks, for example, and who worked their client books? Look beyond performance in terms of numbers – employees can add value in less tangible ways that improve your bottom line and the customers’ shopping experience. Some other questions to ask them:

  • Did you generate positive feedback from customers?
  • Were you willing to go the extra mile by supporting another person’s sales efforts or making special deliveries?
  • Were you attentive to the needs of the store?

Does your employee review form include a section for them to assess you and the business? The ideal employee review is an opportunity to receive valuable feedback from your employees. Throughout the process, listen for common themes. Ask them to evaluate factors such as store procedures, additional training needs and general work environment. Encourage your staff to communicate new ideas and concerns.

The goal is to arm you and your staff with the knowledge and tools to improve their performance and customer service and to increase sales. Use the lessons of holiday season 2004 to make 2005 a banner year.

Jon Parker and Debbie Dern of DJP Executive Search, Virginia Beach, VA, have more than 40 years of experience in executive search for the fine jewelry industry. They offer personalized service on each staffing assignment from tradesperson to executive. Contact them at (757) 430-9500.

Copyright © 2005 by Bond Communications