One of the most valuable things we ever did at Casual was define our values. This helped us to understand exactly who to employ and promote, and who was not quite right and might do better elsewhere. It is amazing how many business problems stem from people problems. Get the values right and so many things take care of themselves - particularly for a services business.
How did we do that?
1. With management write down the attributes that make each of your 5-star/top performers great.
2. Which of these are shared?
3. Condense these to around 5 main ones which don't overlap too much.
4. Assess all staff against these values. Do they exhibit them: most of the time? Some of the time? None of the time?
5. Have a conversation with each staff member discussing the values and their grading. Be honest.
6. Help them to understand what they need to do to exhibit the values most of the time.
7. This gives you a clear framework to help challenging employees to succeed. Give them time to come back with examples.
8. If they can't get there, be prepared to say that this is not the right place for them - the ones who do fit will flourish.
9. Follow through. Recruit, incentivise and promote those who exhibit the values.
10. Over time this should build a strong and thriving culture.