Manage Your People To Manage Your Brand.
In past articles, I have talked about giving meaning to your Brand through customer services, hiring the right people and using quality as the base. Perhaps the biggest step after this is to manage your greatest resource – your people. Remember a Brand isn’t just a logo. It is in fact how you enact that Brand, which gives it meaning and sustainability in the eyes of the potential client.
It doesn’t matter how many staff you have – one or 20. They need to be managed. You only need one ‘problem employee’ to destroy your Brand. If you only have one staff member, you’re on the back foot.
A problem employee can take up a lot of your time and cost you money. It is like absenteeism. Research has shown you suffer a larger proportion of absenteeism from people at work than those who have not arrived. Have you ever thought about how productive each staff member is?
Here is an example to work through for yourself. Just jot down a few figures.
- When is the official start time for your staff?
- Now when do they actually start being productive in the morning?
- How long is the official refreshment break?
- How long do they actually take and how long before they are back in productive work?
- How long is the lunch break?
- Again how long do they actually take and how long before they are back in productive work?
- When is the official finishing time for the staff member?
- When do they actually finish?
I haven’t even asked about toilet breaks, wandering around, smoke breaks, personal telephone calls, just standing around waiting for a customer etc.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a slave driver! However, it is interesting how you view the world when you are self-employed like me. I can only invoice for the actual work I do. No work, no invoice.
Having conducted this exercise many times over the years, I would suggest (very non-scientific I might add) the actual productive or ‘billable’ time per staff member is not what you think. Here are the typical results I have found.
- Starting work – 15 to 25 minutes after official start time
- Refreshment breaks – 25 to 40 minutes
- Lunch – 20 – 30 minutes over allowable time
- Finishing time – 15 – 20 minutes before actual time
- The other incidental times – 1 to 1.5 hours
If you add this up, you will come to around 3.5 hours of non-productive time per staff member.
Not at my place I hear the cry!! Perhaps you are right. The only organisations, which do not seem to suffer from this, are the manufacturers with machines that do not stop.
So in essence, you have employed a person for 8 hours of billable time per day, and in fact, they have made their own personal arrangements to give you 5.5 billable hours.
Try and change this in a hurry and they will all scream “I need more money because you are expecting me to work harder!”
What a way to try to convince managers they need to manage – I use it because we all are conscious of the bottom line.
If we are allowing our staff to ‘get away with this’, what else are we letting them own. Your Brand?
In fact, they do own the Brand so to speak, or at least they should. Staff should be living the Brand at all times. However, it is your job to manage the positive aspects of the Brand ‘behaviour’ you wish to see.
Don’t let your staff fall into ‘Brand Absenteeism’. Let them know what you expect, give them the opportunities to succeed, monitor their progress and reward their efforts.
In other words: Put the ‘Management’, back into Brand Management.