Many of us have experienced the frustration of not knowing how to get some of our employees to perform according to our expectations. In our hustle and bustle day-to-day bump and grind we may even miss the obvious signs.
Here are 3 fundamental reasons why employees do not perform:
- They do NOT KNOW what/how to do certain things yet they care about doing things right.
- They KNOW but do not care.
- They do not know and do not care.
From these 3 reasons you can derive a few important strategies to help your business. The obvious one being: making sure you hire people who care about their performance. But if you inherit employees and had no say in the hiring matter, your avenues remaining will rely heavily on your leadership skills in order to get your employees to “care”. Generally the good ones care when YOU care about them. It is no longer a good leadership approach (not sure it ever was one) to rely on “fear” to motivate people to do a better job just because so many people are standing outside looking for a job. We must be so much better at leading people.
When you lead people with clear expectations along with treating them with respect and ensuring you act fairly at all times, generally you will see employees turn around and begin to care about their performance. (You’ve got to ask yourself how did they get to this point anyway?)
Empowering your employees by catching them doing something right and praising the work will go even further. Make it your business to learn what motivates each person individually – make it personal. Not everyone thrives on the same kind of rewards or recognition – just because you like to be praised in front of other people does not mean they do.
Once you have employees who care about their work, you must ensure you supply them with the knowledge they need to do their jobs. The place we always look first for this is the new hire training and usually we are pretty darn good at that. But that is just the tip of the iceberg. Too many companies rely mainly on their initial training and struggle unknowingly.
Once employees have completed the initial training, remember how much a human brain can retain after so much new information has been force fed in a short amount of time. You need to make sure you have some form of follow-up program to fill the gaps that may exist the first day on the job. This can be in the form of having the new employees sit together and assign a trainer or supervisor or senior employee to answer questions while they are doing their duties. And you could have weekly questionnaires(quiz) to help them remember important things. Keep their minds always learning and reviewing their training.
With existing employees who have already been through the training, track their current standings, i.e. find out how much they know and what they don’t know. You need to know what they do not know in order to create the right follow-up training for your senior people. Re-test everyone regularly, and customize their coaching plans according to each of their own weaknesses and strengths.
Throughout the coaching/follow-up programs regularly check the “care” barometer of your employees including your management teams.
Tweak your programs and leadership skills as you move along; sometimes you may need to modify your training program or your follow-up programs or simply adjust your leadership approach or maybe all of the above. Sometimes you may even have to make the tough call and terminate someone’s employment – there are bad apples sometimes.
Never lose sight of the fact that once your employees care about their work they will be ready to move mountains for you – just be sure they KNOW how to do it.