Our prior article What Drives Engagement? listed the top 10 engagement drivers.
Two areas impact employee perceptions of what the organization values (category 2):
#1. “(My boss) sets high personal standards”
- Share what excellence and success looks like in their job (do you have any key performance indicators to discuss/ share/ track?)
- Hold everyone accountable to do their job to expectations (including yourself- walk the walk)
#2. “Organization encourages innovative thinking”
- Listen to new ideas and process suggestions, thoughtfully consider and discuss the viability of the idea
Three steps you can take NOW to improve employee perceptions of work standards and innovation:
- Regularly discuss work load and priorities, find out if team members have the tools and information to complete their tasks, and invite updates to re-direct if things aren’t on track
- Manage by results, not micromanage the process—this allows your team member to come up with a different (and often better) way to achieve the same outcome, then occasionally have staff share their methods with others doing the same task
- Ask your team- “What is one thing that could be improved for better customer service or to reduce a big hassle?” Then outline an action plan, assign tasks with deadlines, and revisit at your weekly meeting to implement this innovative improvement
Two articles for more reading:
It’s a fine line between setting high standards and being demanding. Read what NOT to do on Forbes: 10 tips on for dealing with an overly demanding boss
For tips on getting more practice at innovative thinking and turning into a habit, read “Innovation Is Everyone’s Job” on Harvard Business Review
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Our recent blog post showed that employees desire more appreciation and recognition, so here is a quick template for you to develop your own semi-formal recognition program.
(If you involve your team members in the development process, we will give you bonus points).
•List 3 ABC’s (ABC- attitudes, behaviors and contributions) that would improve your internal team work
•List 3 ABC’s that would improve your customer care
•List 3 ABC’s that support your organization’s core values
•Communicate list of 9 ABC’s to your employees (team meeting? poster on the wall?) and what you plan to do with it
•Make a list of when you can recognize at least one employee publicly for demonstrating one of these ABC’s
•Invite team members to recognize each other when they witness an ABC
•Take one minute to recognize an employee privately if you witness a great ABC
•Schedule and recognize based on your plan
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Most small business/ small organization managers interact regularly with their staff members—assigning and coordinating work, answering questions and approving decisions, coaching on skills or techniques, “putting out fires,” and inquiring about progress and status of tasks you assigned.
This is an effective management technique, once dubbed “Management by Wandering Around” by Tom Peters and even given its own acronym MBWA.
Employees appreciate the wandering manager for her accessibility and just in time responses, and managers keep busy and deploy people and resources quickly.
How to improve:
However, MBWA tends to focus a manager’s time and staff’s attention on the daily tasks that consume the day—reacting and getting the job done. This often prevents managers from “getting to my list of projects”—our wish list of projects to improve our operations, customer care, revenue, and costs.
In addition to ongoing feedback and coordination, also take time to debrief last year and plan for this one with each employee. Reviewing successes and planning for the coming year involves employees involves employees in creating a challenging and rewarding work plan that will increase their commitment and engagement.
There are several benefits of an annual review meeting with employees:
- Employees expect some type of “formal” review (in a sit down meeting, with written document to review)
- Builds trust and rapport with employees
- Allows employees an outlet to discuss accomplishments and concerns (last year) and job/ career goals (this year)
- Provides opportunity to recognize (and therefore reward with praise) an employee’s accomplishments
- Allows manager to find out what additional responsibilities and work would be challenging and interesting for an employee
- Discuss future department goals and how an employee’s job fits in
- Identify individual action plan items — items from manager’s project list that can be delegated and mutually decide a timeline and plan to accomplish
What should you discuss at this meeting? — here is a short list:
- What are the important achievements of the past year?
- What can be improved in your job to help you be more effective?
- How can I as your supervisor assist you?
- What skills or knowledge do you want to develop in the next year? How can this be accomplished?
So go ahead and schedule a sit down with everyone this month—
it can be lunch in your office, or off site for coffee, or what works with your style.
Your employees will appreciate your time and attention.
As an added benefit- you can delegate some of your “to do’s” to finally get to that wish list this year.
If you finished half your wish list — what could you celebrate at next year’s meeting?
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95 days until Christmas…
If you are like most small business owners and managers, you started out 2012 with awesome plans:
We want to grow our business, install that new computer program that will save us time, survey our customers and improve the service they get, (insert your goals here)!
How did these work out? Did your company move those “rocks” to improve your revenue, profits, customer satisfaction? Or did you and your staff get bogged down in the day to day of the business?
First, don’t despair—you still have a bit more than 90 DAYS left this year to work on one TOP ROCK before the holidays.
Secondly, don’t blame yourself, blame your People systems. (Most) employees do not miraculously take your good idea, find a solution to best achieve the goal, and the run with the ball until the touchdown is scored. (If you have someone that does this, congratulations!)
Change your Culture to one where your People focus on doing more than just their daily “job”:
You need more than a one day strategic planning retreat or manager training, you need to implement the People systems that:
- focus the entire organization on priority goals
- identify the ROCKS it will take to achieve those goals (one per quarter)
- assign specific action steps to individual employees (delegate!)
- coordinate and monitor everyone’s efforts and deliverables to achieve those important ROCKS
- hold people accountable to complete their assigned responsibilities
- learn and improve the process
Most employees (and managers and owners) find themselves on the hamster wheel each day, taking care of customers and having meetings and putting out fires. Then each quarter passes while we wistfully think about all those projects on our “wish list.”
You have to expect every employee to contribute to implementing projects and solutions for process improvement. You need a management process and rhythm to let people know “what else” they can do and get them doing it.
How do you start?
Step One- Define your Strategy and Goals- Mastering the Rockefeller Habits is a good resource to identify your 5 year strategy and one year goals.
Step Two- Design, Define and Implement the 6 steps above that will change your organization’s habits to align everyone with achieving your goals
If you are in the Buffalo area, we are offering a three night workshop (Oct 3, Oct 17, Nov 14) to develop your People Plan™ that will put People systems in place to achieve your ROCKS.
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