By Dean Savoca, M.Ed., BCC, CSP
In this current business client, layoffs seem to be a regular element of professional life. Now more than ever, it is important to get the best – and most – out of employees. Many leaders desire to increase staff performance, but few have a system to achieve their desired results.
Here are five components to results management to get you thinking about creating the system you need to maximize your team’s efforts.
Set clear written expectations for employees’ job responsibilities. Review expectations with them and encourage questions to reinforce understanding. Seek mutual agreement on what is expected. This clarity assures there will be no surprises when feedback is given. If the employee is not achieving the desired results, the focus can quickly shift to strategies to overcome barriers to their performance.
When hiring, use an assessment tool or interview questions to identify the strengths and skillsets of the potential employee to ensure alignment with the position responsibilities. Employees will perform at their best when their job responsibilities are aligned with their strengths. Give them the resources they need to be successful. Resources may include training, supplies, support staff and budget. Ask: “What do you need from me to be successful?” Providing resources demonstrates you are invested in their success. Create a positive experience for employees and they will provide a positive experience for customers.
Connect to Significance
Everyone wants to feel significant. Employees need to know their contributions make a difference. Share how their job results are important to the success of the company and their co-workers. Nurture a team spirit. Demonstrate what you expect. As one of the 15 new employees completing training for a St. Louis-based performance improvement company, I was impressed when the CEO greeted us each by name and knew personal information about each of us. He demonstrated how he wanted us to relate with our clients. He told us what he expected and how important we were as the frontline employees. People feel significant when a manager gets to know them personally and understands what motivates them to perform at their best. This will differ depending on the individual and may include money, opportunity to learn and grow, flexible schedule, promotion or recognition. Spending time to learn about employees also earns employee respect and trust which is directly tied to performance results.
Build Respect and Trust
Respect is a two-way street that has trust as the on and off ramps. Earn respect by promising and producing. Research in the June 2009 Harvard Business Review article “How to be a Good Boss in a Bad Economy” explains the loss of time and energy when people do not trust their boss. As a result, performance suffers. One way to demonstrate respect is to include staff in the decision-making process to get their feedback on things that will affect them. Inclusion gains buy-in. When facilitating focus groups in the hospitality industry in Denver to prepare for the 2008 Democratic National Convention, I repeatedly heard the front-line staff say that the best way to motivate them was to demonstrate respect. It cost little time, no money, and paid an excellent return. Once expectations are clear, people want to be trusted and have freedom to do their job. Patricia Aburdene, author of Megatrends 2010 said, “Transcendent values like trust and integrity literally translate into revenue, profits and prosperity.” Respect and trust leads to ownership and ultimately accountability.
Provide Feedback and Accountability
Measuring and improving performance is an ongoing process that cannot be handled in an annual performance review. Feedback sessions includes celebrating successes, measuring progress towards agreed upon expectations, giving incentives and recognition, re-clarifying expectations and determining what else is needed for success plus reconnecting employees to their motivators and the importance of their job. Many companies have feedback cards or online surveys for customers to complete, and staff meetings to obtain feedback to improve service — it works the same with individual employees. Ongoing performance feedback drives performance results. The majority of the time when employees are not performing, it is due to a lack of agreed-upon expectations, not having a big enough purpose to be successful, or lack of ongoing support and feedback about their performance. Avoid these performance blocks.
Be a leader by applying these five components of results management and watch your employees’ performance soar.
This article was originally posted at savocaperformancegroup.com
Dean Savoca, M.Ed., BCC, CSP is a faculty member of LEADERSHIP USA.