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How to Deliver Bad Employee Reviews … and More Manager Questions Answered

How to deliver bad employee reviews, opening a second store, and more.

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STAFF

What’s the best way to deliver a bad employee review?

David Bentley coined the term “naked leadership” to promote the idea of totally honest management and stripping away the emotional hang-ups of giving negative feedback. In terms of handing down a less-than-positive performance review that means:

Just do it. No sugar coating. No mixed messages. Make it clear you’re criticizing a result or action, not the person. Stay on target. You’re doing this to identify and fix a problem.

Keep it simple, objective and sincere. Insincere feedback is a waste of everyone’s time and it detracts from your credibility. This is about business and behaviors. It’s not about you and whether you’re a nice person, it’s about the team and improving the performance of your store. Keep that idea in your head and it will make the process much more useful for all.

EXPANSION

With rents low and good spots available, now seems like a good time to open a second store. What do you think?

One of the attractions of opening a second store is the perceived economies of scale — an entirely new customer base while offering the opportunity of negotiating better terms with suppliers and spreading out fixed costs such as marketing, advertising and administration. But for whatever reason, most jewelers tell us expanding actually makes you less efficient — you end up working twice as hard for a much smaller return on effort, at least initially. Before you push ahead with such a plan, ask yourself these questions:

  • Are you sufficiently capitalized? Will the original store be able to support both operations for six months or more?
  • Do you have someone you can really trust to manage it?
  • Is the clientele in the second market similar? (It rarely is, which means your merchandise mix, marketing and staffing will have to be different.)
  • Are the two locations far enough apart so that you won’t cannibalize sales (and don’t forget the further apart, the longer the commute).
  • Finally, what is it you enjoy about the business? Making jewelry or managing? If it’s the former, you’re going to be sacrificing what you love.

If there’s a chance to expand the original location, that’s often the best way to go.

E-MARKETING

I’m not having much luck getting people to sign up for my emails. What should I do?

You’re not alone. According to a survey by LoyaltyOne, 74 percent of American and Canadian consumers don’t see much benefit from sharing personal information with marketers. In addition, more than 40 percent said that in the previous year they had used cash instead of a card precisely to protect that private data. So what is it they want in exchange for their contact information?

  • Discounts
  • Offers tailored to what they want or need
  • Information on new products and services

But giving them what they want is also not enough. You have to win their trust, and that requires being transparent about what you’re offering, safeguarding their data and maintaining frequency at a welcome level.

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STAFF

An employee tells me she is frustrated with different aspects of her sales job. How do I respond?

Start with her. Ask what she thinks the answer is. If that doesn’t yield anything helpful or realistic, ask her to come up with three lists made up of:

  • The good stuff. The part of the job that makes her feel satisfied or accomplished.
  • The everyday parts of the job — things that don’t suck and are part of pulling a wage.
  • The “Ugh, I hate this!” stuff that is frustrating her.

Put these into three buckets and then find ways, together, to spend 10 percent less time on the “ugh” stuff in Bucket C and increase by 10 percent time spent on the engaging activities in Bucket A. Of course, sometimes she’s just going to have to suck it up and do the ugh jobs but at least you’ve gone the extra yard. The point of this isn’t to pander to your staff. People do better jobs when they do what energizes them, which can be surprising: some people get a kick out of spreadsheets. Others enjoy the thrill of a cold call.

What’s the Brain Squad?

If you’re the owner or top manager of a U.S. jewelry store, you’re invited to join the INSTORE Brain Squad. By taking one five-minute quiz a month, you can get a free t-shirt, be featured prominently in this magazine, and make your voice heard on key issues affecting the jewelry industry. Good deal, right? Sign up here.

Over the years, INSTORE has won 80 international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact INSTORE's editors at [email protected].

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