Why are most employees not setting their jobs on fire every day?
Some employees are so internally motivated that they will always perform at their best (yes, we want only these people).
For the rest of employees, there are a few key reasons that they are not performing above expectation — some that an employer can influence, some that they cannot.
1. Some employees just do not have the work ethic or attitude to do a great job.
Solution: Good luck getting this type of worker to be “motivated” by anything you do. You know what to do.
2. The employee does not know what is expected or what is considered excellent (they think they are doing just fine).
Solution: Share clear expectations and give relevant and timely feedback (for good and poor performance).
3. Employees that have a good attitude and work ethic could have been de-motivated by something at your organization.
This could result from a myriad of issues such as not feeling respected, poor supervisor relationships, or anger over a change in pay or policies.
Solution: Open discussions about performance and a good working relationship might uncover the issue, so you can address it.
4. Some employees are motivated by external rewards- they ask WIIFM or “what’s in it for me?”
This worker will do an acceptable job but if you give them a method to earn a reward that is valuable to them (for example, money, respect, recognition, flexibility) they will improve performance.
Solution: Create incentive plans as well as other “total rewards” that will appeal to your employees. Recognition is an inexpensive but powerful motivator.
To read about 13 rewards to attract and retain top performers, download our E-book 9 Steps to Solve People Pains in Your Business
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Are you spending your time on the Right Things? What could you accomplish for your organization if you “had more time”?
I know many business owners that regularly work 70-80 hours a week. We all know that owning your own business can be hard work, and require extraordinary effort in the startup years. If your business is at least 3 years old and has 3 or more employees, you really should be able to work less than 6 days a week for 10 hours a day.
And I am not casting dispersions, I have been known to do work that I could/ should have someone else do and focus on what I am best suited to do. Some excuses we make NOT to delegate: I am the only person who can do this, I can’t trust that she will do it right (or she is not trained to do it), last time he didn’t do it right, she is too busy, I don’t have time to train someone.
You can read about delegating to manage your own performance in the February People Planning newsletter. (Click link to view).
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I just read a great opinion piece from Dan Oswald, President of M Lee Smith Publishers.
He relates the story of Charlie Plumb, a World War 2 Navy Pilot who was shot down, parachuted to “safety” and survived 6 years as a POW. One day he was approached by a man who told him that he packed Charlie’s parachute– they one that saved his life. This encounter made a distinct impression on Charlie, that we take for granted the people who help us in our work and personal lives.
To quote from the article “Every job in your organization is important. If it weren’t, you wouldn’t have someone spending their day doing it. So, don’t forget to recognize those people doing all the little things that are critical to your success. Go visit them where they work. Ask them about their job and the things they’re doing that day. Take an interest in what they do. Let them tell you about it. Then thank them for their efforts, acknowledging their contributions to the company. They deserve that.”
Read the full article
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Do we have job descriptions? Sure we have some we wrote 5 years ago in a file somewhere….
I agree, job descriptions are not the most exciting part of human resources. Although job descriptions are not legally required, they can become the foundation of your employee selection and performance management process.
If you are looking to hire a new employee, the recruiting advertisement is most effective when it describes the position and the competencies you require for an Ideal Candidate. To be most efficient, you want a few fully qualified candidates to apply, not hundreds of unqualified ones to sort through. To do this, you want to describe your job in words that make an Ideal Candidate say “Wow- I can’t wait to get this job!” (and the unqualified ones to say, “oh, I am not what they are looking for” and then do not apply). Want sales people who can close 50% of their proposals? —put it in the ad—those sales people with confidence in their closing ability will apply, and “C Players” will keep looking.
For current employees, an enhanced job description can provide the clear expectations for what is required to be considered a good performer in this position. This is where competencies and performance metrics should be added to the job description to create a full Job Competency Profile. For example, an interior designer needs to “coordinate with sales team to provide up to two space design options within 5 days of initial client meeting” and “provide 100% accurate final product layout to purchasing within 3 days of client approval”.
If you do not have performance metrics written down, these are often informally understood (or employees have their own standards). Formalizing these can greatly improve team work—for example, the interior designer might consider her work is “fast” when she gives a draft to sales in 7 days. Sales “expects” that she “should” do this is 2 days.
You get the picture! Instead of letting everyone make up their own performance rules and guess as to if they are “Doing the Right Things”—spend some time developing clear performance expectations and then sharing them with each person.
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