CSP Happenings

Topic: Customer Service Experience

Your Branch Strategy Should Guide Your Digital Presence

December 9, 2018

Most financial institutions put time, energy and money into their in-branch customer experience. They think about each need, each touchpoint, and how the experience can best serve those who support their business. And, likewise, most financial institutions (and businesses in general) think about their online presence. However, the physical storefront and the online presence don’t always align. This lack of fluency between the two channels can leave customers feeling confused or simply off-put due to inconsistent communication. As the world transitions to a increasingly digital state, financial institutions should apply their in-branch messaging, personality and services to their online presence.

Reflecting the Universal Banker

We’ve written numerous times about the importance of the universal banker — a single-source, jack-of-all-trades financial institution employee who can do anything from helping deposit a check to opening a new line of credit. The importance and benefit of this individual lies in customer satisfaction, specifically in terms of their appreciation of a single individual being able to guide their entire branch visit.

This same principle should carry over into a financial institution’s online presence. Customers should be able to do anything with ease of navigation, whether they’re reorganizing funds in an existing account, opening a new bank account, or pursuing a business loan. Complex tasks will likely always require interaction with a bank representative, but the ease to navigate and access everything in an intuitive matter is an expectation set by an increasingly tech-fluent consumer population. Beyond navigation, making sure online representatives available through chat windows are trained to the standard of the universal banker will help solidify your financial institutions reputation as a reliable, customer-centric brand where they can have their needs met with ease.

An Opportunity for Promotion

Promotion is everywhere. In the same way, a financial institution’s web copy should take full advantage of any opportunity to present customers with more value. Relevant ads are always appreciated, and any service that can help a customer make more of their money or have a more meaningful interaction with your brand should be included on landing pages, dashboards and informational web pages. This idea can be enhanced by customer analytics, particularly within their unique profile/dashboard/account. As an example, if a customer is saving a lot of money and tending to avoid touching it, which can be identified automatically using analytics, offers an a landing page or within an online dashboard for opening a checking deposit should be offered.


Imagine the following: A customer’s phone call is on hold and they’re waiting for a representative to answer. In the the background, they her pleasant music and a soft voice telling them, “Did you know, we offer ATM forgiveness on up to $20 in fees per month?” The setting is pleasant. Suddenly, the representative picks up and grunts, “Eight-digit account number, please.”

The difference in tone is jarring. Believe it or not, these types of intra-brand disconnects happen all the time. They promise friendly customer service, then allow representatives to become transactional. They ensure ease of use, then inundate customers with confusing facts. Another major possibility for this type of disconnect can occur between branch and online. What is the tone of your financial institution? What do you promise to your customers? How do you train your employees to interact with your customers. These ideas, and particularly the way you think your financial institution is different from others, should influence your online presence, down to the sentences and words on each online touchpoint. Meticulous attention to this detail can help your financial institution create a consistent, reliable brand that differentiates you from the rest of the pack.

The Omni-Channel Quick Guide

December 4, 2018

Omni-channel interaction is imperative to master for the modern financial institution. Rather than focusing on various channels’ individual performances, omni-channel marketing puts the customer at the center, and views the channels as a means to an end. Most importantly, the omni-channel-focused financial institution ensures that whether a customer interacts in a branch, on their phone or through a call center, each experience picks up where the previous one left off. Consider the following points for your omni-channel strategy:

Connected, One-Stop Shops

When we think of omni-channel, we think of multiple channels. However, most customers have a preferred way to interact with an institution. A Millennial may consistently choose to interact with a financial institution through a mobile app, while a more traditional customer who lives close to a branch may consistently choose in-person interactions. In this sense, customers have a preference, and while some may choose to flow freely across the different channels, each channel must stand on its own two feet. In other words, customers should be able to do everything necessary to their relationship with a financial institution through a single channel. Obviously, there are limits to this — a customer can’t deposit a check over the phone — but as much as possible, customers should be able to complete tasks with a financial institution on their own terms. Once a task is complete in a channel, any activity should be accounted for across all channels in preparation for the times when they choose a different channel of interaction.

Tone, Branding and Messaging

Most financial institutions have a certain attitude, tone of speech and message they’re trying to convey. Maybe they focus on being fun and unconventional with great interest rates, or maybe another financial institution focuses on unparalleled customer service and being extra protective of customer security. Whatever the message, this should be consistent across various channels. A bank’s landing page, or the login screen for their mobile app are common places where this message is clearly conveyed. However, the message and branding can become unclear as different touchpoints are considered. How does the tone change when a traditional banking customer applies for a loan? How do your financial institution’s outsourced call centers reflect your website branding? Is the in-branch experience reflective of the mobile app? All of these touchpoints and channels should be evaluated one by one to see what the interaction is like, and how they can all continue to support each other and truly make the customer feel like they’re interacting with a singular, cohesive entity.

A Cohesive CRM

One of the keys of an omni-channel experience is a fluid experience across channels. If a customer conducts activity with a financial institution over the phone, that interaction should be recorded and carry through to their digital and mobile interactions. This fluidity of picking up where the last interaction left off is incredibly important to customer experience. A major pain point for customer experience with omni-channel interactions is the potential for redundancy of interactions — the customer having to explain the same issue or problem across multiple touchpoints, with each channel’s touchpoint being silo’d from the next. Finding a tool that records online interactions automatically and enables phone conversations or branch interactions to be documented in that same tool sets a financial institution’s customer experience and ability to communicate apart.

Consider Omni-Digital

Branch interactions are still a fundamental and important part of any financial institution, but younger consumers have shown a tendency to interact with brands exclusively through various digital methods. These types of consumers are on the rise, and financial institutions should work to understand the customer journey and how this evolution of digital-focused consumers will affect their brands perceptions. Managers and directors may need to focus more on their digital interactions as a means to drive business in the future.

The Agile Financial Institution

November 11, 2018

In 2018, the modern financial institution has to evolve, grow and innovate more than ever before. Consumers now demand faster, easier and more convenient customer service than ever before, and navigating a constantly changing world can be challenging for financial institutions, whose entire business practice revolves around regulation and security. Consider the following ideas when thinking about how to make your financial institution more agile.

Streamline Processes

The financial services sector faces a unique challenge to meet consumers wants and needs quickly while maintaining professional standards and protecting the security of customers’ information. Customers are used to interacting with other brands that have streamlined their processes to make sign ups, purchases and overall navigation as quick and painless as possible. To keep up with consumer demands, banks need to follow suit. Focusing on making online platforms easy to navigate, accessing customer information to speed up new account openings and making sure digital language is tailored in a way that is easy to understand for the average consumer are all important steps financial institutions should be taking.

Focus on Customer Interactions

According to The Financial Brand, most financial institutions focus too much on the internal benefits of customer experience (such as increased sales), and not enough on the direct customer benefits, such as ease of use. In-branch interactions need to focus on the latter. A major way to create a fluid customer experience is by focusing on training universal bankers. These jack-of-all-trades employees create an atmosphere where customers feel like their finances are being considered holistically, rather than siloed into different departments. Additionally, companies like Capitol One are focusing on unique ways to improve the in-branch experience, like Capitol One Cafes. In many ways, looking at the trends of in-store experiences in other industries can provide a template for where most brick-and-mortal financial institutions can improve their branding.

Develop a FinTech Partnership Strategy

FinTech and banks are continuing to create mutually beneficial partnerships. FinTech startups benefit from the security and regulatory offerings of a financial institution, along with its pre-existing customer base. Financial institutions can gain a lot with the right types of partnerships, especially in terms of customer satisfaction. FinTech startups are coming up with creative ways to serve customers, whether by helping them look at their finances succinctly, invest smarter or get unique benefits from their purchases. Financial institutions need to have a developed strategy for FinTech partnerships, where these partnerships can grow and evolve to better meet customer needs. Additionally, both the financial institution and the FinTech company should collaborate and think of unique ways they can share data and mutually help each other as their partnership evolves.

Begin to Plan for Blockchain

Blockchain technology is an exciting opportunity for financial institutions that will allow for different parties within a financial institution’s practice to interact, exchange and validate various activities in an open, online format that is self-securing. Particularly, it has huge potential for allowing financial institutions to streamline their processes and conduct secure business practices with less direct human oversight, particularly in terms of contracts, payments and customer information. Consequently, blockchain technology may free up staff resources to focus on other aspects of the business. Similarly, as the technology becomes more sophisticated, it can result in speedier, secure interactions with customers’ activities with a financial institution. This emerging technology is still unfamiliar to most, but will have a major impact, particularly on the financial services industry. Executives and directors should make an effort to learn and start planning for the future now.

Communication for Financial Institutions: 5 Tips

November 7, 2018

Financial Institutions need to communicate effectively to be competitive in today’s landscape. Particularly in terms of the dynamic between decreasing branch visits and a high importance on emotional connection as an important element of loyalty for financial institutions, omni-channel communication is more important than ever. Banks and credit unions must analyze their customer journey with intimate detail to make each and every interaction meaningful, helpful and a driver of customer loyalty through strong communication. Here are some key ways financial institutions should think about improving their customer experience through strong communication:

Solicit Feedback in a Call Center Environment

IVR systems are hugely popular and an expectation for their efficiency and cost-cutting benefits. However, these systems create a closed environment. In other words, they’re designed with the intention that they’re accounting for every single customer need. When these needs are met, they work well and save resources. However, when a problem exists that can’t be solved by an IVR, frustration can occur, especially when the representative can’t find an easy solution. To prevent this frustration, financial institutions should document these problems on the live representative’s end and see what issues are repeatedly occurring. These repeat, not-easily-fixable problems might be a major source of customer dissatisfaction, and rectifying that particular issue within the company journey can save headaches and stress for both staff and customers.

Actively Obtain Customer Information

One of the most common frustrations for customers in out-of-date information related to their account. Address changes, preferences and account information are often customer responsibilities, but they don’t always follow through and keep their information up-to-date. Instead, financial institutions should focus on proactively seeking out and obtaining this information. A major way to do this is by utilizing a customer interaction to find out more information about them, while they’re already present and engaged. This opportunity shows care on behalf of the financial institution, is convenient for the customer and helps avoid headaches in the future.

Omni-Channel Documentation

Omni-channel documentation is incredibly important, and is shifting in a number of ways. Consumers are focusing more on digital interactions than ever before, and any financial institutions digital platform must feel cohesive to the customer. Additionally, despite fewer in-person interactions with the financial institution, those interactions are more important than ever before as a way to differentiate the financial institution’s brand. Beyond conflict resolution, the in-person interaction needs to carry through to the other digital channels, and receiving a follow-up via email and documenting that interaction can give customers confidence in the care and attention put into the in-person interaction.

Universal Bankers

We’ve written about the importance of the universal banker in the past, but their presence in the modern financial services setting is a key part of satisfactory customer communication. Customers think of their financial portfolio in a comprehensive way, with checking accounts, student loans and mortgages all parts of their comprehensive financial picture. When they interact with a financial institution and that institution’s staff, they want the representative to see their whole financial picture and be able to address their issues accordingly. Making a commitment to the format of a universal banker will help financial institutions keep pace with the ease of interaction the modern consumer demands.

Continuous Interface Improvement

Due to the increasing influence of digital interactions, financial services should constantly query, identify problem areas, and troubleshoot their digital channels. Directors and executives should focus on developing a continuous process of improvement within their organizations, making sure that customer service representatives, software engineers and analysts are all communicating in a way to constantly rethink and improve the financial institutions digital interface.

Mobile Payments Are Coming

November 4, 2018

Despite a somewhat slow uptake in mobile payments over the years, the revolution is now quickly approaching, especially due to key enhancements and adoption by both consumers and vendors. Business Insider predicts mobile payments to increase to over $500 billion by 2020, illustrating the need for financial institutions to be on board for the coming wave. Consumers and business will both find new benefits as technology continues to improve, and this improvement and increased adoption will have an exponential effect, with one enhancing the other.

Consumer Benefits

One of the biggest consumer benefits of mobile payments is the potential for faster checkout. Once contactless payments systems are set up, a relatively simple process pioneered by systems such as Apple Pay, consumers can enjoy a quick checkout process, which is driving adoption.

Perhaps more importantly, special offers are becoming an increasingly influential component of mobile payment adoption. This element was originally missing from the equation, leading to a plateau in adoption, with consumers left with minimal benefits in comparison to more traditional methods of payment, like credit/debit cards. Now, with the combination of consumer purchase history and in-store data, special, real-time offers near the point of purchase offer a major competitive advantage to encourage consumers to synchronize their smartphone activities, like shopping for deals, with their purchase method. Loyalty programs, personalized shopping experiences, and informational material linked to a mobile payment all offer huge potential moving forward.

Additionally, an increasingly tech-familiar consumer base, with Millennials becoming the increasingly dominant consumer group and the introduction of Gen Z as consumers, will continue to drive mobile payment adoption.

Small Business Benefits

Similarly to consumers, a fast checkout is an important aspect for businesses. One of the most powerful ways mobile payments enable this is through online purchases, allowing consumers to automatically load their information, and helping businesses overcome any online purchase barriers related to information errors or hesitation during the checkout process.

Mobile payment technology has been improving over time, particularly in terms of its ability to aggregate payments from diverse sources, like online and in-person, and is working to provide business owners with useful data and statistics about sales. Mobile payment providers are hoping sophisticated analytics, along with future opportunities like increased capacity for cashier-less checkouts, will continue to drive mobile payment adoption by businesses.

Implications for Financial Institutions

Mobile payments are officially set to take off, and financial institutions may be wise to encourage early adoption of their own mobile payments systems. Keeping up with mobile payment trends and giving consumers an enticing option to keep their mobile payment platform with their financial institution will give these financial institution early learnings and the opportunity to improve their platforms as mobile payments move into the mainstream. Most importantly, financial institutions who plan now can stay ahead of the curve with the inevitable future of mobile payments, expanding their business into this new technology and increasing knowledge of their customers through the use of built-in analytics related to their mobile platform. The future of mobile payments is coming quickly, and now is the time to learn, improve and plant seeds of adoption.

Sustained Customer Experience Improvement: Incentives that Matter

October 16, 2018

One of the most effective ways managers can encourage good, long-term employee behavior is through the use of incentives. Giving employees a tangible reason to improve, whether that reason be monetary or otherwise, serves as the lasting fuel for customer experience improvement, helping to drive innovation around improving customer experience and helping to sustain momentum over time. However, incentives need to feel relevant and important to employees. Hearing them express these thoughts and giving them a clear roadmap to win their incentives are important pieces of the puzzle. Similarly, these incentives need to align with the goals of the company as a whole and create a sense of camaraderie among employees.


Before mangers start prescribing rewards for good behavior, they should listen and try to understand their staff’s motivations for work on an individual level. Different employees likely want different things, whether it be promotions, greater shared responsibility, a sense of control over their day-to-day at work, or even simple recognition of the work they do. A great place to start when considering incentivizing employees is to hear them out and truly listen to what they want, and let their feedback be a guiding force.

Bring Clarity Around Desired Performance

Employees should know exactly what they need to do to get incentives. Too often, financial incentives or other opportunities are vague ideas without a specific cause and effect laid out for employees. Generally, this is still somewhat motivating: Employees tend to work hard even if they don’t know exactly how it will be reciprocated. However, when they have a clearly defined set of goals, whether they be performance-based around revenue or financially based, the motivation factor goes through the roof and they have something tangible to chase.

Align Financial Rewards with Financial Goals

An easy trap for managers to fall into is providing financial incentives for work that, even if positive, doesn’t align closely with the finances of the company. Ultimately, financial incentives should be a small portion of the dollar value they’re incentivizing. In other words, an incentive should be a reward for a specific, sustained activity, which already made the company more money than the incentive itself. Otherwise, managers run the risk of focusing too much on positive (but non-essential) behavior and stretching their company’s finances despite monetary growth.

Create Shared Goals

Individual incentives, especially of the monetary variety, are highly motivating. However, one of the joys of focusing on shared goals in a company is the electric enthusiasm it can create within an office environment. When co-workers have shared goals and shared incentives, their collaboration and collective hustle often has an infectious effect, spreading from one motivated individual to another and creating a sense of shared destiny. Fortunately, monetary incentives, even when distributed on a individual level, can still be transparent (based on salary) and formatted in a way to create this shared-goal experience within an office.

Look for Non-Traditional Incentives

While monetary incentives are the first that often come to mind, managers shouldn’t underrate the value of other types of incentives. As an example, good employee behaviors can often reduce stress in the workplace by resolving problems before they even begin. This may seem like a soft incentive, but for employees under stress, motivators like that can be hugely impactful. Managers should always think outside the box and make the effort to learn more about how they can make their employees’ lives better through rewarding good behavior.

Data: A Foundation for Customer Trust

October 9, 2018

When we hear about customer data, especially as financial institutions, we often think about customer security. What could happen to our customers’ data? How do we keep it safe, and out of the wrong hands? While security is paramount to financial institutions, executives should challenge themselves to think of customer data as an opportunity. Data can be leveraged in ways that build trust by creating more natural customer communications, showing active listening on behalf of the financial institution, and opening new doors for a competitive edge by utilizing customer data.

Targeted promotions

The most obvious case for utilizing customer data is to create targeted and relevant offers based on their information. Contrary to the idea that targeted promotions might come off as big-brother-like, the modern consumer is more cognizant of the fact that their data is being utilized, and are especially comfortable with this idea if it’s coming from an organization they already do business with and openly provide their information to. Creating relevant promotional material based on their financial circumstances, rather than generic pushes, demonstrates a level of care from their financial institution and a vested interest in them as a customer. They’ll be more willing to trust an organization that is actively trying to give them relevant ads or opportunities than one that doesn’t appear to care.

Creating perspective and context around the individual customer

Most organizations strive to know their customers on an individual level, often through the use of data. However, this is easier said than done. Analytics teams and front-of-house teams at financial institutions need to work together to translate raw data into a valuable customer experience. An in-house analytics team needs to find a way to synthesize customer data from disparate sources, aggregate it, and create a cohesive view of individual customers. Furthermore, they need to come up with a system to continually do this, and deliver that information in a way that is digestible to the customer-facing teams. The customer-facing individuals need to communicate their needs, learn how to utilize that data in a way that is valuable, and help guide the data collection.

Omni-channel communication

Communicating fluently across channels is an expectation for customer experience in 2018. Consumers want to feel appreciated, have their information recorded in a way that is easily accessible in the future, and generally feel like the businesses they interact with are consistently listening to their needs. This is absolutely true for financial institutions, and true both across mobile and online, and also in-person departments. Responding to information customers have provided and giving consistent messaging across various platforms and circumstances makes them gain trust with the organization they’re interacting with and more likely to take notice when that organization makes a recommendation to them based on their data.

Creating a culture of innovation

Most banks and credit unions aren’t particularly innovative in terms of new product offerings — an aspect of a financial institution that is understandable. Traditionally, banks have gained their value from being things other than innovative, such as trustworthy, reliable and good at building long-lasting relationships. However, financial institutions that can use customer data and information in unique ways can create more trust by developing deeper relationships with customers. Financial services executives should be aware of this shifting landscape, looking for FinTech partnerships and other ways to make the most of their data in order to create a customer experience that puts them ahead of the pack.

Training Employee Excellence: Creating a Culture of Innovation

September 26, 2018

For any successful business in 2018, innovation drives growth. Refining processes, improving customer experience, expanding services and becoming more cost effective all require new ideas. Beyond the ideas themselves, implementing and changing requires a lot of work – and discipline. Without a structure in place to foster innovation, companies are left with a lot of untapped potential. How can directors and executives foster a culture where innovation is constant? Consider the following:

Create a Positive Culture and Embrace New Ideas

It’s also important for executives and directors to understand the importance of new ideas coming from staff members. Top-down leadership is useful in some manners, but business leaders simply don’t have the same, intimate perspective of certain processes that their staff does. Sometimes innovation can be specific – a form that gets filled out and can be streamlined, or a manual process that can be automated. These improvements have to come from the employees who work with those processes most often, and business leaders should give their staff the opportunity to vocalize those opportunities.

Encourage Teamwork

Great ideas can come from an individual, but successful execution of that idea requires a team. Individuals in an organization should be encouraged to reach out to managers and co-workers with ideas, and once managers are aware of an idea, they should help the individual put structure to the idea. Giving them resources, putting them in contact with other team members who can help, and encouraging exploration of the idea will help facilitate the transformation from idea to actually being put into practice.

Set Target Dates

Generating new ideas isn’t a typical tasks staff members build time for in their days. They likely have day-to-day work to address. Unless told otherwise, this “core” work will usually take priority over the implementation of new ideas. Managers need to work with staff to overcome these priority barriers. One of the best ways to do so is by creating a target date. Establishing deadlines (usually iterative deadlines to complete different phases of idea development) help to put a context and priority to idea development. Managers must also check in with staff to understand how well they’re navigating the balance of their core work and a new idea, providing support along the way.


The power of positive reinforcement is real. Celebrating successful implementation of an idea shows appreciation for above-and-beyond work, illustrates a positive impact on the business, and encourages others not involved in the project to share their bright ideas and try to put them into practice. Furthermore, celebrating these innovations on a company-wide level reinforces the idea to staff that they work for a company where new ideas are a part of the fabric, and where change is constant. This type of positive reinforcement has a snowball effect, creating a true company culture of innovation.

Training Employee Excellence: Managing Change

September 14, 2018

For most businesses and organizations, change is the only constant. Companies are constantly trying to improve, which usually means refining their processes in order to be more cost efficient, drive revenue and increase customer satisfaction. Additionally, regulatory changes in the financial services industry cause financial institutions to have to regularly adjust.

With all this change, how do companies adapt? Executive teams need a regular process for adapting to change, which usually means training employees. Consider these four factors to build your change management strategy around:

Creating a clear road map

The best start to any change initiative is to establish why it’s important. Linking change to the bottom line and identifying an end goal sets the stage to motivate employees. After gaining buy-in, creating as much clarity as possible through instructions, examples and a timeline for change creates the greatest opportunity for success.

For multi-faceted process changes, this road map is most successful when broken into steps, including a calendar of training sessions and goal dates for mastery.

Giving the appropriate resources

An incredibly important element of change management is resource allocation. Where are employees’ reference points as they continue to learn? Who should they reach out to? These resources the be clearly identified in their roadmap, and proactively communicated to employees.

It’s worth noting that resource allocation isn’t static. Naturally, questions managers hadn’t anticipated will arise. When one employee can’t find an answer to a question, it’s likely there are a handful of other employees having the same issue. Managers should keep an ear out, solicit these hang-up points from employees, and use individual struggles to help supplement roadmap resources for others.

Close Monitoring

Change is a time of risk for most organizations, where employees will naturally be error-prone as they feel their way through a new process. Managers need to watch closely to help mitigate this risk, especially in terms of anticipating issues. What errors are likely to be made? How can customers be protected from these risks? Addressing these questions, along with protecting the organization’s bottom line, will help make the process smooth and navigable.

An issue some managers take for granted is the resistance they might face while transitioning to a new process. The discomfort employees feel with change and the errors they might make cause some to become resistant to change, and without oversight, they even have the potential to revert back to an old behavior. Managers need to continue to motivate employees through this resistance phase until new behaviors are solidified.

Regular review and re-education is necessary to firmly establish new processes. Sometimes, multiple meetings over the same topic are necessary for complex process changes to reinforce learning. Looking into strong elements of the change and identifying places where multiple employees are struggling can help managers better coach and recognize stumbling blocks they need to overcome.

Perhaps most importantly, managers should celebrate success! Change isn’t easy, and encouraging adoption to new processes will make employees more willing to take on the challenge of the next process change. Rewarding good behavior, recognizing efforts and thanking employees reinforces buy-in and creates a more responsive, adaptable company culture.

Training Employee Excellence: Stages of Training

September 13, 2018

Employers constantly focus on developing and improving their employees to drive their company forward. Employees often fall along a range of skills, from novice to innovator, and employers have to meet them where they are in order to identify what skills or behaviors they should aim for. Once those skills are identified, managers can begin the process of training, explaining why a new skill or behavior is valuable, and guiding the employee through an iterative training process requiring less and less manager/director intervention, with the end goal of independent proficiency.

Establishing Goals

Successful employee training should begin with stating a cause: What is the goal of their training? What does their desired performance do for the customer? How does that behavior impact the company as a whole? Creating a clear case for their performance will encourage employees and set the stage.


Rather than jumping immediately into training, employees should observe the ideal behavior. This sets the standard for them, so rather than them having to guess at what an idealized behavior looks like, they have a clear example. Clarity from an example gives them something to strive for while also grounding the goal; in other words, seeing someone else perform makes it seem achievable.

Performing Tasks

For complex or multifaceted employee training goals, giving employees small and achievable tasks can create momentum. Consider the example of learning about a new software dashboard. Asking the employee to attempt to navigate the entire platform right away is guaranteed to overwhelm and discourage. However, giving small tasks, like creating a new customer’s basic information in a CRM tool, can help give them confidence by establishing a small, early “win.” This small win will give them opportunities to string together other small tasks. These unique pieces create momentum, and once enough are strung together, employees are able to connect them and begin to achieve the greater goal at hand.


Working on a behavior or task with an experienced partner expected to perform the same task is a good way to “soft launch” an employee in an active situation. A partnership instills confidence the first time an employee is trying to do something on their own. Furthermore, a partnership gives them a reference point in a “live” scenario to ask questions that naturally won’t arise until they’re under pressure and performing a tasks or skill in an active environment.

Performing under observation

In most workplaces, observation will be continuous, even once employees are proficient in a task or behavior. However, close observation once an employee is flying solo on a skill or behavior will give experienced managers and directors an opportunity to help the employee fine-tune his or her skill.

Full performance

Semi-regular observation, continuous improvement, and fine tuning characterize the full performance of a skill or behavior. In particular, regular reviews can allow managers and directors to continue to help the employee improve. Importantly, looking at metrics helps employees understand the efficacy of their skill performance, and how well it measures against their goals. Meeting or exceeding metrics tells them all they need to know, and falling short cues managers and directors to help the employee through more observation and feedback.