The Secret to Coaching Employees When the Clock Is Ticking

Retailers and restaurants move fast. Long before open and well after close, the clock is always ticking and every second represents revenue lost or gained. How efficiently and quickly an operation can prepare itself to serve customers on an hour-by-hour basis defines its sales — and, ultimately, its success.

In these service industry organizations, speed equals revenue. But it creates a costly management problem: There’s little time to conduct the kind of coaching conversations that engage and develop team members. Employee engagement and development correlate with profitability, productivity and retention — but they take time.

This time crunch focuses managers on the very immediate, and it’s usually what a team member did wrong: how they screwed up an order, forgot to upsell the customer on the warranty, mishandled food or made an angry customer angrier. It’s an understandable managerial reaction, but it’s also punitive and negative. Eventually, that kind of management can lead to an unwelcoming customer experience — and Gallup research shows that it can create a disengaging employee experience too.

Disengaged team members either stay and do a bad job, which increases costs and decreases customer engagement, or they quit and require replacing. So managers get stuck running an operation with either too many rookies or too many toxic employees, losing money in the process and with little time for the coaching that employees need to learn and grow — and to produce the kind of customer experience that generates profit and earns loyalty.

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