A travel company that operates tours throughout North America relied on their guides to complete reports following each tour. Tour reporting was an essential element of quality standardization throughout their many cities, however low report submission prevented the collection of valuable data needed to assess quality. Those reports that were submitted were turned in past the deadline, incomplete, and often contain untrustworthy information.
How many times would they have to tell their guides to submit their reports?! What is it these guides weren't getting?! When the environment isn't set optimally performance suffers--but usually lack of knowledge gets the blame. This company needed a holistic performance solution.
After completing a root cause analysis I designed multiple interventions to increase the report submission rate while making a positive impact on company culture.
Comprehensive analysis of key performance gaps
At face value, it seemed as though the entirety of the blame for absent, incomplete, or inaccurate reports should fall on guides. However with more investigation into the root cause of the performance gaps, it was clear that more credit should have be given to environmental factors. Specifically, the tour report itself seemed to be an imperfect tool. In addition, ambiguity surrounding the purpose of the reports—and why they should matter to the guides—was also a contributing to poor submission rates.
Responsive evaluation plans
Each intervention was accompanied by an evaluation plan to measure the impact of each solution on sustained operational growth. Insights provided by the evaluation were either able to be implemented immediately or incorporated into a longer-term revision plan. In this case, the inclusion of responsive and transparent evaluations was critical to achieving buy-in from tour guides and fostering mutual trust.
The interventions I proposed for this case encompassed the practical (e.g., development of a new job aid), emotional (e.g., retooling the incentive structure) and environmental (developing a seamless, web-based reporting mechanism). While each intervention was designed to target a single issue, they all work together to achieve an overarching goal: increase the submission and quality of tour reports.
Are you finding yourself face-palming on a regular basis saying, "They should know this by now!"? If so, you may be dealing with an environmental issue rather than a knowledge one. Try using a performance tool like a checklist, job aid or reference library. If you already have one of those take a close look at why they aren't being used. Is it an access issue? Motivation? Use what I call the "Toddler Method." That is, keep asking "why?" until you can't anymore.