Does Asking the Impossible Improve Employee Performance?

June 16, 2012 by  Filed under: Management 

A small company had a staff team that was dedicated to their work, but challenged by their manager/business owner. His expectations were high but his ability to communicate effectively about expectations low. Instead of clearly communicating what tasks needed to be completed in advance he would outline tasks at the last minute without enough time left to complete the job in a quality way. The staff felt that they had to get the job done, that there wasn’t any option. They bent over backwards, worked extra hours, came in on days off to complete the work. And, despite new tasks being thrown in along the way they completed the work. And as quickly as it was done the next unreasonable task was on the table. There was no acknowledgment that they had gotten an impossible job done, just the high expectation for the next.

What happens to your workforce when you fail to acknowledge or thank them? Work forces decrease performance. Research on worker performance has consistently indicated year after year that money is not the number one motivator for staff, but rather social praise, success, acknowledgment rate higher. When business owners and leaders demand, demand, demand and never acknowledge that the staff met deadlines went above and beyond is demoralizing to staff. Staff become frustrated that no matter how hard they work it is never acknowledged. Frustration leads to anger and they wonder why they continue to work so hard.

Simple steps can be taken by managers and owners:

  1. Set reasonable goals
  2. Agree with staff what is doable
  3. Empower staff
  4. Acknowledge staff through thank you’s and recognition

Using these simple steps managers can improve the workplace environment and overall work performance. Having a positive, engaged workforce improves the bottom line.

Using an effective employee performance improvement system is another strategy for developing a fully engaged worksforce. Staffs that meet with their manager in a positive improvement system are responsive to manager coaching and feedback. When coming out of an environment that has not been positive or acknowledging managers will need to build trust and rapport.

The employee performance improvement system works with employees to develop a goal plan to improve performance and focus on top goals for the company. Managers shift their management approach to one of coaching staff. This shift begins a full company culture shift. A positive engaged employee work culture improves overall business results. The benefits to the organization are tremendous.

The employee performance improvement system involves:

  1. Performance improvement planning workshop
  2. Manager training in coaching skills
  3. Plan review with manager
  4. Online tracking of goals and goal progress
  5. Monthly coaching with manager, scoring of goals and review of goals.

This results in increased performance productivity and results. It also results in decreased stress around performance appraisals through the monthly coaching process.

Monthly coaching gives managers an opportunity to provide regular feedback, appreciation and acknowledgment. Teams become highly productive and responsive.

Learn more about the Employee Performance Improvement System: Donna Price is the President of Compass Rose Consulting, and Co-Founder of the Real World Leadership Institute, works with leaders and their teams to work in more effective ways. She provides training, facilitation and coaching to business owners, work teams and managers. Donna has worked in Adventure Education and Facilitation for 10+ years and offers teams opportunities to learn holistically through adventure programs combined with other team building or strategic planning programs.

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