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Do you wish your employees were more productive? My free webinar will provide practical and pragmatic advice that will help increase employee productivity.
Good morning everyone. Hello. Welcome to my webinar today. It's the 18th of December, and today we're talking about how to boost underperforming employees. My name is Amanda Chadrick, and I am the senior speaker at Business Services Limited.
So just a summary on managing performance and measuring performance, because we are going today talk about KPIs, appraisals. We're going to talk about things to motivate your staff and the reasons why people are demotivated, so managing and measuring performance can be vital to larger companies where day-to-day control and supervision of employees may have to be done at arm's length. Setting targets and key performance indicators may be a good way of seeing at a glance whether employees are performing well. While targets are generally implemented to keep productivity high, you need to make sure that these targets set reasonably and are reasonably achievable; otherwise, they may turn out to have the opposite results of what was intended.
Firstly, you need to measure the correct things. Your key performance indicators are the quantifiable factors in your company upon which your success depends; i.e., the number of sales made, the number of items packed. Considering factual performance by your staff is vital in order to be able to set targets that are reasonable but that will stretch them. There is no point in setting targets, for example, packing 350 items in one day if that amount has never been reached before even by your most productive staff.
By implementing realistic and achievable targets, you should not encounter opposition from your staff. The members of your staff that do show resistance are likely to be the ones who currently don't reach the targets that you've proposed and are worried that you are trying to manage them out of the company. But in reality, if you do set reasonable targets, and there are consistent under performers, these are the ones that you need to address. They may be holding your company back. They may be rightfully placed on an improvement process and actually they may have to go down the capability process anyway.
Offering incentives for the employees who hit the highest productivity over target and even small ones may cushion the blow and motivate staff to try a little bit harder. Targets should be kept under constant review as working practices may change, and you should be prepared to reduce them if they do turn out to be unrealistic. Alternatively, you can push them higher if staff reach them too easily and do not represent an aspiration goal. Feedback should also factor in any target scheme, because employees should regularly be kept informed of how they are doing. So remember when we give the summary on targets and motivating staff, we're going to cover a lot of this through this webinar. This is actually a jammed pack webinar. We're going to talk about KPI appraisals, and this is one of my most popular webinars that people want to listen to, because a lot of people do have underperformance staff.
Going back to your policies and procedures here, things that will help you in your handbook would be capability policies and procedures, grievance procedures, disciplinary procedures, but when you work out what the KPI is, and you're trying to figure out what target to set. Let me give you an example, if I had a sewing company and a knitting company what I would do is, if I had 10 staff and each of them were making garments, what I would to work out what the average is, is add up all of the work that they do in a day and divide that by 10 to get an average. And that is what the target everybody should be working to, and then I might raise that target a little higher. Everybody then that is underperforming, I can see the underperformance then, because there is the average that everybody should be working to. So that's how you would work out a target.
Targets aren't just for sales. They might be for a particular target. They might be for a particular job role, and also the time of year as well. I work with KPI's, incentives for over 20 years really. KPIs first came into place when I worked with them back in 1990, so I know that they do work. Listen to me. They do work.
So what is a KPI? A KPI is a Key Performance Indicator. And what it does is it manages business productivity. Most businesses use them. You hear people talk them. They are usual set by the higher managers, and managers get together to work out what key performance indicators are. They do manage your business productivity, and it's a unit that is used to measure performance. Well, I started to see them, as I said, used widely in the late 80s. They are usually generic, and you tailor them to your own business objectives which you should have talked about in the course of the meetings of the higher management.
If you are going to introduce key performance indicators, you've got to be realistic and fair. They've got to be target driven, and you've got to know what the communication is from the top level of the company objectives, so buy it in. For anybody who is in a managerial position, you've got to find out from the proprietor, the owner, the directors, the chair people, the trustees, the high top-end people, what their objectives are for the year to work your KPIs in line with what their objectives are. And then introducing KPIs will increase your productivity and use them for development purposes and benchmarking them, and you'll spot your underperformers and also your high performers as well, and be able to work with both those types of people. They are used in appraisals. They're used in pay raises. They're also used for disciplinary evidence as well.
So as long as you don't have any targets or other methods of measuring performance, that are written into your employee's contracts of employment, you are actually free to implement KPIs as a way of inserting the performance of your staff. Your key performance indicators are the quantifiable factors in your company upon which your success depends. So as I said, the number of sales made, the number of items packed. If staff has not been measured in this way before, there may be some resistance to the introduction of targets. This may be more pronounced given that their financial progression in your company will be based on whether they meet the new KPIs or not. However, if you use them in the right way, you are more like to achieve buy- in from your staff.
You should talk to your staff and tell them what you are planning to do. You could make this initial contact with your staff in writing, by letter, or email. However, it is sometimes more advisable to add the personal touch to communications like this and then choose the new targets verbally. And when I'm talking to you at any of these webinars, you know your staff better than I do. So I just think sometimes it's just much better to tell your staff straight away we need to be target driven now. We need improve met targets so that we can know where we are and also increase the productivity.
As targets are generally implemented to keep productivity high, you need to make sure that the target is set reasonably and are reasonably achievable; otherwise, they may turn out to have the opposite result to what was intended, so like demotivation. This is a very significant part in achieving acceptance of the KPI, because you must be able to show that you have thought the process through and reached a logical and obtainable target. So saying, this is what we've worked out. This is how we worked the average. This is how we come up with our calculation.
Consulting with staff thoroughly means allowing them to have their say on the new methods. Don't make the process a one-way street. Some employees might have some valid points to make about the method chosen that you have not considered. So you need to have a two-way conversation to take place. If they have good ideas, take them into consideration and follow them through.
Some employees might have some valid points to make about the method chosen that you haven't considered. So explain how you will use the targets. Explain that you will keep them under constant review. Reinsure your staff. Don't just implement monitor to make sure that they are having them the right effect, to make they are realistic, in what can be a constantly changing work environment. So keep on top of it is the key here.
So if you are identifying that you've got people that are underperforming, what you should be doing is introducing KPI so that you know what is underperforming, what is the actual average, and what is over performance. So remember that they've got to be specific. They have to be measurable. They have to be attainable, realistic, and time bound, so we've got time scales as well. They play a huge part on the KPIs. So, getting the basics right, it's perfectly acceptable - remember this - for you to implement KPIs, implement and link them to yourcontractual terms and capability policies in your handbook, because if somebody isn't performing, there has to be root that you have got to go through to speak to them about their performance to use the KPIs, to show that you've got benchmarks, and the capability policy and procedure is the way that you would do this. So make sure that you've got a capability policy in your handbook. It makes your life a lot easier by the way by having it.
Make your expectations clear so that there are no surprises. Keep up to date as business can change as can departments, and then use KPI for individual teams, projects, jobs, and also the job role. Ensure communication with the KPI is frequent, and make sure you get feedback from the people as well. Are the targets to high? Is there a better way of assessing it? Is there a quick and better way of assessing people? And produce reports, monthly, weekly, daily, or hourly, depending on how you use KPIs. It has to be linked in to your company's strategy, else it's not going to work, is it? And targets, as KPIs are generic or tailor make, and be fair and consistent, and make sure you do communicate.
So what are the reasons for poor performance anyway? Well, I can tell you a quite few of these, we take about 60,000 calls a week on our advice line, so I can actually tell you reasons for poor performance, because I've worked with tens of thousands of companies. And now I can actually say to you what they are.
Micromanagement of employees and projects, you might not realize you're doing it. You might just be interested, but you might be a little too interested, and you're micromanaging your employees and projects. There is no trust within a company. There might be too many disciplinaries happening, too many people leaving, and there is a blame culture.
Inaccessible managers and team leaders. They might have given you ideas in the past, and nothing has been carried out. You don't feel like they listen to you when you say things. They're not targets. They're no goals or objectives, so there is no vision for your employees. There's no future. They don't know where to go within your company. You don't listen to them. You don't sit with them. You don't speak to them. You've got managers. They tell their manager an idea and then the manager make out like it's their own, and they forget where the initial idea came from, and so plagiarizing. Do you actually listen to your staff and a closed door policy as well? And are employees frightened to suggest things in case they are made to look stupid, or if they do actual say that something is not right, they're in fear of losing their job. Do you instill a fear within your employees, because if they do, these are reasons for poor performance.
And then also, it doesn't always have to be work, it could be home life as well. There's a massive surge of problems at home, and especially at this time of year as well, with people, with money problems, buying gifts, people with relationship difficulties, they sometime come to a bubble, and pop around about this seasonal time. So home life, this could be a reason for poor performance and you might see this in this sickness. Health as well, somebody has got continual health problems, and they might be having their issues at home, whether it's debt, whether it family issues or relationship issues, or even children issues. They might be having issues, and they might be too ill to come to work, but they might actually be coming to work ill, because they can't afford to be off. We've got a lot of those people where there is a lack of dexterity. This is why it is so important to have the capability policy and procedure so it helps you.
Okay, so relationship issues, family issues, there's debt issues, there's training. They may be unhappy with the job. They might not have had the right training, and also, they could just be stuck in a rut.
So creating the right atmosphere. Well, I just think and I've worked in centers and motivations for many, many years. Some people tick by reward and with money. And I'm one of those people that I actually tick by recognition, and I actually like to be recognized for the work that I've do, and it's the same for a lot of your staff, so a little bit of respect for your staff. But also as well, a little recognition doesn't go amiss. So idea and invention clubs, problem solving clubs, department swaps. These are just ideas for creating the right atmosphere in the first place. So create in this retrospect, this recognition, this reward.
The idea of an invention club and problem solving club, and then we've got department swaps. How about odd days create some motivation, getting together with different department, and how about a drink and pizza Friday idea club? You know when people get together, I don't know Domino's, I'm not advertising here. I don't get paid to advertise, but Domino's, buy one get one free, Friday lunchtime, get four pizzas in. What does it costs you? 25 quid. You've got four pizzas, everybody sat there, a few cans of Coke, lemonade, or whatever, water, and then get together. We have an idea club. Let's go through the problems that people have, and what problems you've got in your department. Why do people have problems with their staff? What can we do? How can we help you? You know what? With a fresh approach sometimes, it does work. So ideas and invention club with a pizza on a Friday, it could actually solve your problem. Some people have a fresh approach, don't they?
Department swaps. New employees do have new ideas. Don't think they are a trouble maker or a do-gooder, they do have good ideas. They can see your company afresh. Have an open door policy. Have open learned. You've got an IT Department, you've got an Accounts Department, you've got Excel, people that have never learned Excel. Get them to multi-train the staff. Have like an hour of multi-training. And you only find out about people skills, language skills or actually other skills they've had in other jobs if you actually speak to them when you have an appraisal or KPI. And that in itself creates recognition and reward. What about making sure that if somebody does give you an idea, that you do follow them through?
And how about creating, I don't know, maybe this one will work or maybe it won't. I know we emailed it so people don't send emails. You've actually got to walk up to somebody and speak to them, and answer every email that an employee sends to you, personalize it with your name at the end and their name at the beginning. What about those emails that just say, they don't even start with a name or they just go hi. Personalize them so you know that you're actually speaking to that person.
As I always say to you they're your staff. You're paying the wages. I don't think some employers realize how important they are to that family at home. So especially, you know, when everybody is depending on that wage coming in, etc., I do think a little bit of recognition for those employees, and letting them know you do know who they are, and you can do this by having one to ones one, by having appraisals, and then using the KPIs and the appraisals on one-to-ones.
And then if you're doing one-to-ones, and you're finding out about the person that works for you, and their skills, it's just different things that they might do in their spare time that might help you in your business. Other languages, other skills they've got, and when we talk about redundancy or layoffs, or shortage of work, or sickness, you may, by doing regular one-to-one appraisals, find out about all of the skills that all of your staff has got, and you might be able to utilize them and move people over on secondment if there is a sickness issue, if somebody has gone off to have a baby. And if you are multi-training your staff, you can utilize different people. I just think that we don't absolutely exhaust every avenue possible in the workplace. We sometimes get too busy, and we don't find out about our staff, and that in its way, can create underperformance and lack of recognition.
So, some inexpensive incentive ideas, understanding your type of people. There's no point in bringing an incentive in for the wrong people, is there? Listen, if I'm incentivizing field sales staff, I write a field sales program, that would incentivize not only the field sales person, but their partner as well, because the field sales staff is likely to be of a certain age and also, we're in a relationship. I know this because I've done a lot of work on feasibility studies for incentives, motivations, things that make him tick. And that's a part of my job role is to study society legislation technology.
So I know if I am going to offer a holiday to the sales staff. I know that holiday that I offer to field sales staff would be one that encompasses their partner. And then throughout the year, to make that incentive gather the momentum of that, I would send a postcard from the place where the holiday is to the partner stuck at home. So they are then driving that employee from home as well. Now if it was telesales, there is a certain age again with telesales as well. And with telesales, because it's monotonous and they are stuck in an office, the incentive I would give them would be a weekly incentive or a monthly incentive. And then if it was a holiday incentive, it wouldn't necessary be to reward their partner. It might just be them.
So again, it's understanding the type of staff you've got and no point of bringing an incentive in for the wrong people and it doesn't work. And then what about we've got the legal implications or the contractual implications when you've ordered somebody a gift, have you got a legal team writing up, you know, if you have a disciplinary, you don't qualify for this incentive, so you've got to think about the contract implications here.
Also, some of the quizzes I've done, I've done lots of incentives, loads of incentive programs. I did one, I think you might have heard me mention this before, I had, many, many years ago, I sat with the chair people. I knew what their objective was for the year. It was my job to go away and then work on those objectives and make people hit the target by introducing KPIs, targets, and motivation incentive schemes, and the legal side of it as well. So what I would then do is go sit with my imaginative hat on, and then I would think about incentives.
One of them was the blue light and it was especially driven for telesales. I had to motivate 800 sales staff, some were field sales, and some were telesales. So what I did is I had a piece of equipment designed by the BBC, and this is really many, many years ago, back in 1997, and it cost absolutely a fortune, an arm and a leg, and what it did was it blew up. It was like a fiber polythene bubble. And what I would do is if people achieved over their target which was set by the key performance indicator, they would get an extra 70 seconds in this bubble, and air would be pumped into it, tickets would be flying around, and for all of the seconds that they were in there, they grabbed as many tickets as possible, and there were a lot of tickets. For each ticket, they would win a prize. And I would actually go out and purchase all of these prizes so that they'd be there for them to see.
Now the first month, because people hadn't seen the incentive they didn't realize the impact of it. So the first month, e saw a little bit of improvement, but not great. But after I've taken the bubble all over the country, all over the UK, and took it to various places, simply our target should shot through the roof. People were hitting their target because they could see the previous month that somebody was in there for 60 seconds and came out with 25 prizes and had them that day. So the impact was incredible. The next month everyone was going, oh, I've got to hit my target, because I want to go in there at the end of the month and they guarantee 25 prizes by grabbing tickets. It was an amazing incentive. It worked.
The other one was a car. The big drive away. You had so many tickets into a draw and at the end of the year, the massive conference, they then pick out a ticket, and it could be your name, and you could walk away with a new car. Holidays, as I said, but my experience with quizzes and implementing a quiz, everybody loves a quiz, but you know when you get that team, oh it's a right laugh, and they're not bothered with it, and they just go, what was the question again, and they cheat and everything, they think they never win. And then there is the team that's taking it semi-seriously, and then there's the team that will really serious, and they kill it, because they are so serious. And they know all of the answers to the questions, and you feel like you don't want to answer it anyway.
Well, anyway, in this quiz, what I did find out was that the questions that I would ask them, you would get somebody from that team I was on about, they are a bit ambiguous, these questions. You feel like pouring water all over them, but at the end of the day, my experience with quizzes is that they are always a bit ambiguous. So I would steer well away from them, but other incentives are great.
If you are struggling for prizes or money to motivate your staff and to make them perform better, look at who you do business with. Now remember the bribery act here, and remember in your handbook you should have a bribery policy anyway about gifts, etc., but the odd gift is okay as long as you log it. If you would have heard my bribery act webinar the other day, it might be a good idea at this point to listen to it, but you log the gift. As long as it's not because they're saying, we'll give you this if you go with us, that's fine, but have a look at what you already do. Look at where you buy your coffee, your tea, your sugar from. Do you use Tescos? Do you use a reward card system? Do you buy toiletries from Boots? Build up the points at the end of the year, buy loads of stuff with the points or cash them in for vouchers for food.
And look at your clients, what do they give you? Put them to one side. Why not use those prizes to reward people. If you use a lot of hotels, have a look to see if there is a rewards system with the hotel. Will they give you a free weekend away? Who do you know? I know loads of people, but I also know few people who are famous as well. And how about getting them down as a motivational speaker? Somebody who's got a life experience that might motivate your staff. It's amazing. I do a lot of mentoring work in the city schools to motivate them. And it's amazing, the simplest story can make a difference to somebody's life and the avenue that they go and that's the same within work as well.
And then bonus scheme. If you have a bonus scheme, see if it's a contractual bonus scheme. Remember about part time workers, but also as well, just to give you a little story about bonus schemes, in the northwest, there was a company that was taken over by a foreign company, and the bonus scheme was taken away, and then they went to take away the Christmas hamper that was given out every year and they all kicked off, and they said they were going to strike. And the reason there was such an amazing response to the Christmas hamper was because you just weren't rewarding their employee at work, you were rewarding the person at home who was going to get the hamper as well. So it was a personal thing. So sometimes when you are implementing incentives, money in the bank doesn't work, visual response, a bottle of wine with a ribbon around it, a small hamper, a 30 quid hamper can make a huge difference to somebody, and it can have more of an impact. They won't ever forget. They'll forget the money, but they won't ever forget the gift. So have a think about your business and how to motivate your staff, okay?
So scratch cards may be an idea, but not lottery ones, and then another inexpensive idea is to keep your staff motivated, job title change. It might be the time now really, if you think of rewarding your staff and keeping them performing, and if you can't afford the pay rise, just recognition with a job title doesn't cost you anything. And then if they do training, how about half day off than the pay, and then make sure if you're not giving pay raises at the minute, that they are all at the minimum wage, and how about leaving early on a Friday, once a month for people. You know, the way I've always worked when people worked for me is I've always said, if we get the work done, and we're hitting what we should be doing, and we're all performing then as far as I'm concerned, the last Friday at the end of the month, we can all leave early, okay? As long as the work is done, I'm really happy for that, or on a weekly basis, take it in turns. As long as the work it done, take it in turns. Every week, a name out of the hat, who goes early.
So somebody might well, actually say on a Friday on this week, I'm going out. The other person might say, my children are going to the cinema on Friday, I'd like to go early. Take it in turns. So that's a real incentive. And then we've got the graduate day, and the project lead today. We've got nights out. Be careful of victimization and discrimination here. Remember non-drinkers, remember religion, remember the people with children, the people with families don't feel that you're pushing them. Remember not to exclude people of a certain age at well or a certain religion just because you don't think that they would drink, because that in itself can be discrimination.
So praise, recognition, understand inhthe need of further development, and pension. Take time to pick a good provider. I mentioned in every webinar now the pension act. It's big news. People aren't taking it seriously, and yet, people still don't know that they have to update the employee handbook. They don't know that they have to update the statement of main terms. They don't realize that they have to check the workforce status. If you have to put a pension provider in place, just make sure that you pick a good one.
Other inexpensive incentive ideas, fish and chip Friday, Friday breakfast club, finishing early on Friday. I don't know what it is about me and Friday, or the end of the month on payday, social events with drinks. Remember religion and discrimination. Pizza lunch, buffet, birthdays, recognize it. These are just things I'm throwing at you here for ideas. Leaving early, on time bonus, discount food, introduce the food trolley back, get help with the local businesses here, a little family shop around that you like, everybody goes to, tell them to put a food trolley on and bring it around the business, and you are helping the local businesses.
And what about bringing back the tea trolley? It creates the respite rather than the machine at the end of the room that's probably filled with bacteria, and people stand their and make a drink, why don't you get the tea trolley? A big urn, a woman or man pushing it around making brews for everybody. Bring back the blooming tea trolley.
The night out, I mentioned that one. Public praise, recognition, gym classes. You know, I can go on and on here. I've spoken about hotel providers with free weekend. New project or tasks, name recognition, paid day off, surprises and gifts, point reward schemes, cinema vouchers, food hampers, food vouchers, these are just some of the things.
We're going on to appraisals now. This is where you actually sit and speak to a member of staff. This is where you recognize them. The regular appraisals help identify performance issues at an early stage. With early intervention, you get an easier solution. It's an essential tool for monitoring. It's an essential tool for communication. It's getting to know employees and skills, creating a development pattern and goals. It also increases productivity as well. Appraisals with robust and regular appraisal systems, allows you to provide feedback. You measure against set objectives that you set, and you give feedback of somebody's performance. What you're having is mutually agreed targets with forward goals. It allows you remedies to a poor performance, and it allows you to reward for outstanding work and performance as well.
But remember the aim of the stack appraisals is to assess. It's allowing you to spend time with somebody so don't rush it. So the assessment should be about the performance, the quality of the work, and the volume. And then you're going to give them feedback on it. You're going to talk about their future, their goal, their aspirations, the tasks ahead, giving your staff direction and making them perform. You're going to talk about any future learning or development or training that you may think about or they might want. And you're going to get an agreement with them on it. And then you're going to get aspirations, potentials and life plan. And because of that, you're going to give them happiness, and then you're going to have a point system as well with the appraisal system.
Stack appraisals, what you must have is job descriptions in place anyway, which writes down what somebody's job is, because how can you know if they are underperforming if you haven't got a job description. So have a job description in place, which agrees the objectives to the job, and then have the KPI and use it as back up. Make clear the purpose of the meeting when you're having a stack appraisal, and the objective and the discussion, what has the employee done, what they have done well, and also, how would they like to develop.
Listen, other issues may arise which is home and work, highlight the positive and the negative, agree the skills and knowledge, and how you can help them. And the appraisal system will help them perform better. It will make the happier. And remember when you are doing the appraisal; all facts are different for each appraisal. You might sit with someone who doesn't say anything, who's really happy with their job, and you haven't got an issue with them. You might have one who is there hours with you moaning about everything, but that is what an appraisal is for.
So with regular appraisals, you can identify the performance level at an early stage. This can make life easier for the manager, and the employer. Poor performance that work an issue of considerable concern to manager or employer. It not only reduces productivity but has a negative impact on employees who work alongside the poorly performing employee. They can bring down your employee's work with the poorly performing employee. If appraisals are completed regularly, with set targets and goals, it's easy to work with the employee to get to the bottom of the issue.
So policies, procedures, and documents are usable for managing poor performance. The employee assistance program
. We aren't the only ones recommended by the Stress Management Society. We monitor it, and it's used by employees to get them back into work. To talk about debt, counseling, health issues, home issues. Capability policies and procedures I spoke about earlier on, making sure your staff are getting the right training when you do train them. Getting them to sign to say I've read and understood the training and I know the training that I've had. Key performance indicators to highlight what is the average performance within your company, and what somebody should be working to or above. One-to-one appraisal to speak to your staff, do these regularly having disciplinary rules and procedures, grievance procedures, and sickness absence polices and procedures as well.
And remember, with the appraisals and poor performance of new recruits, it may be that they're just not up to the job. They might need additional training. You might have to work with them a bit. I would use the capability route at the beginning, at the probationary. What I would do within my probationary period with a new starter is include a suitability clause which allows me the right to say to somebody, you're just not suitable, please leave. And I would make sure that in my probationary period, I would say that once you are with me in the probationary period, I reserve the right not to go through a capability route with you or a disciplinary procedure. Remember I'm giving you an overview on law today, and what I'm giving you though is some great tips to make your job and life a little bit easier. So make sure in the probationary period there is mention of not going through the capability route or disciplinary procedures with somebody who is a new starter.
So if problems arise during the meeting, try and solve the issue then. And if you are having stack appraisal, and you're unable to resolve there and then, rearrange a new meeting as soon as possible. Agree to development needs with target dates, and agree actions concerning their objectives. Agree new objectives and set out dates for the next 12 months. Encourage the employee to write comments on the form as you go along. And you, the person who is the appraiser, fill in the appraisel form and action plans as you go along. It's difficult to remember later on, and you could be swept away with other tasks. After the appraisal, the completed form should be signed and dated by employee, manager, and senior manager, and copies to the employee, appraiser, and one on file.
So if you do get disagreements during appraisals, listen to what is said. Ask for evidence and specific examples, and if you're given evidence, and if you're using specific examples, use FPIs, not just general observations, and then feedback to higher management. Remember appraisers are there to allow discussion and challenges, that's what they are there for, and point people in the direction of the grievance procedure.
I hope today has been an interesting webinar for you. I hope you've found it interesting. I've got a special hello here today for Gordon, who came to an event I held a couple of days ago on pensions. He said he'd be listening today. So hello Gordon. Happy Christmas and thanks for coming to my event the other day. For everybody else here, Happy Christmas, if you are not listening to my webinar tomorrow.