To evaluate performance accurately, you must know your business inside out. And yet there is always room for improvement, no matter how long you have been doing it! Would you agree? Just the way human beings occasionally need to stop and ponder whether they are on track to achieve their goals, so must companies and organizations work to assess and evaluate performance of their agency.
In the early stages of your business, it is easy to focus on the day-to-day operations. However, once your business takes off, it is essential to think about long-term and strategic planning. Gradually, you will hire more staff, create departments within the agency, and appoint managers and directors.
Consistent evaluation of your agency’s performance is the only way to learn from the past and plan the future. Moreover, this evaluation must consider various angles, leaving no stones unturned. Some of you may be doing so already while others may be new to this process.
Regardless of where you stand, here are six major tips you can use in a questionnaire format, to evaluate performance and improve your agency productivity:
Clarify the purpose of evaluation
The process of evaluation is like self-reflection. You need to take out some quality time for it and get the entire company involved. Whether you are an education or migration agency, it is important for your staff to know why this evaluation is necessary and how they can help make it successful.
A lack of clarity about the purpose of an evaluation program can become a bigger issue than you imagine. It can create a sense of disenchantment among administrators, evaluators, and staff, making them reluctant to participate. Alternatively, clarifying the purpose of these reviews will give value to all stakeholders, and enhance the agency’s best practice evaluation.
Measure your core activities
A good starting point for your review is to evaluate what you actually do. Make a checklist of the services you provide to accurately evaluate performance. Then analyze each service to see how you can improve it or whether you need to launch newer services or reduce the existing ones.
Apart from the clients, make sure those who are responsible to lead these services are part of this process too. Look at details like:
- Whether your services match client needs.
- Which services are performing better?
- Which services are underperforming?
- Consider areas such as pricing, marketing, sales and after-sales service.
- Consider ways in which you can negotiate better deals with your clients.
Gauge your business efficiency
Internal factors like in-house facilities, the location of the business, people and their skills, among others, are a crucial indicator of your agency’s performance. At this stage, consider these aspects of your agency business and try answering these questions as much as you can:
- What are your long-term commitments to the property, rental or owned?
- What are the advantages and disadvantages of your current location?
- Do you have room to grow or the flexibility to cut back if necessary?
- If you move premises, what will be the cost? Will it result in long-term cost savings and improvements in efficiency?
People and skills
- Do you have the right people and agency culture to achieve your objectives?
- Are they clear about their roles and responsibilities?
- Do you pay as well as the competition?
- Are the employees motivated and satisfied?
- Do you have a good management team?
- Do you have skills in areas of human resources, sales and IT?
- Have you implemented training and development programs for the employees?
Review your financial position
Most businesses fail due to poor financial management. When it comes to your agency’s success, developing and implementing a sound financial management system is vital. While doing so, consider the following:
- Cash Flow: This is the balance of all of the money flowing in and out of your business. Make sure this is up to date.
- Working Capital: Have your financial requirements changed? If so, explain the reasons for it. If necessary, take steps to source additional capital.
- Cost Base: Keep your agency costs under constant review. Make sure the price of your services covers the costs.
- Borrowing: What is your agency’s current position on any lines of credit or business loans? If so, are there other, cheaper forms of finance you could use?
Conduct competitor analysis
To evaluate performance of your agency, the criteria should not be limited to internal assessments only. Comparing your services, pricing, and other details with those of your competitors are equally important too. Gathering this information may cost some time and effort, but it is well worth it. You must find out the following:
- Who are your competitors?
- Which services do they offer?
- How much do they charge for their services?
- What are their client profiles and numbers, compared to yours?
- How is their relationship with clients, compared with yours?
- What are their competitive advantages and disadvantages, compared with yours?
You can find out more about your competitors in two ways:
- What do they say about themselves in sales literature, advertisements, press releases, exhibitions, and websites or social media?
- What do other people say about them – your salespeople, clients, local directories, the Internet, and analysts’ reports?
Evaluate performance and use the results to redefine your business goals
At the end of each review process, it is vital that you prepare work plans to put the new ideas in place. Today’s business environment is exceptionally dynamic. It is likely that you will need regular reviews, updates, and revisions, to achieve or maintain your business success. Post-evaluation, you should do the following:
Maintain a database
For the sake of current and future use, you will need to maintain a database of your findings. Develop a timetable for your next agency performance evaluation. However, do not do conduct evaluations too frequently and maintain a sufficient interval. You can also use an agency management platform for easy analytics and business reports.
After the agency evaluation is complete, it is time to take action on your findings. Letting the findings go stale by not acting on it will dampen your agency’s smart goals planning and deplete staff motivation.
To evaluate performance accurately is to measure the business from various angles. Your business is made of so many different components, internal and external, and ignoring any of them will lead to an incomplete assessment. So, make sure you leave no stone unturned!