7 Steps To Improve the Profitability of Your Frontline Staff – Part 1

Why It Starts With You

Some owners or managers get majestically miffed when I suggest that at least 70% of their business problems are caused by them. Especially when they’ve just spent 5 minutes talking about their hopeless staff. Well, who hired them?

Step 1 – Hire the Best People

So, select extraordinary staff and managers. If you want a super business, only hire super people that you know you can let loose on your best customers. For staff with direct customer contact, hire people who can connect with your customers, and make them feel special from the moment they come in. Sweet, shy frontline staff don’t cut it.


You need a person who really looks forward to helping your customers buy/rent what they need to get their jobs done. Someone who is able to put a customer at ease and then ask gentle probing questions that pull out those needs; someone who’s able to empathise with their pain points. Someone who asks smart questions that move the sales process along, rather than stupid questions that stall it.


As part of your selection process, give them an opportunity to role play with one of your staff first, and then with you.
The other normal selection criteria—education, language excellence, computing—can all be taught, but personality and emotional intelligence are developed from life experience.


Step 2 – Walk the Talk of Your Business Culture

When you hire someone, let them know up front how your business works. Don’t give your new starts unpleasant surprises by being all sweet and light during the interview and then resorting to bad behaviour once they are on board.


What mixed message are you sending when you advise them that stealing brings instant dismissal, only to see you or a manager take cash from the till to go to lunch?


Management Bad Behaviour is a Cultural Defect

Only one or two management detractors can totally undermine a work team. Could you ask your staff if any of these six detractors apply to you or your managers?


1. Lose temper under pressure.

2. Make some people look good at others’ expense.

3. Discourage the bringing up of problems.

4. Favour an in-group of subordinates.

5. Wait until a problem escalates before acting.

6. Make someone feel stupid when they disagree with you or a manager.


Step 3 – Fire Early

Can do, will do, will fit. It takes a little time to see how someone fits into their work group. It’s not always someone’s fault if they don’t fit in, just different personalities. Occasionally a bully comes to the surface, or a drama queen, or someone with a victim mentality.


Remember, work group respect is the single most important driver of team results. If they are not fitting in or not performing in their productivity, get rid of them before their toxic behaviour infects others.

Step 4 – Set the Tone from Day One

On the first day your staff person fronts up, they are excited and nervous and eager to impress. They have made a special effort with their appearance; they are smiling and ready to go. But that all wears off very quickly if your behaviour and organisation don’t match their expectations.


Prepare: Before that first day, prepare any documents that need to be completed. Let staff know a new wonderful person is coming to join the team. In fact, why not throw a mini party and wow them in?

Make sure you personally have allocated time to that person. Assign a mentor for that first day.

There are three more steps getting even better results from your staff in part 2 of this blog. Until I give them to you, try the four above and measure your improvement so long.


If you like what we’ve got to say then check out part 2 of this blog here.


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