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Add Power to Employee Recognition to Guarantee a Repeat Performance

By: Debbie McGrath

Wednesday, July 1, 2015
 

Posted to HR.com by Eric Chester, author and speaker on workplace culture and employee engagement

Every manager has been told that it’s important to acknowledge, recognize and reward top-performing employees.

Unfortunately, most haven’t been coached on how to do this effectively. And if one of the goals is to get the performer to continue performing at a high level, the why has to be linked to the what.

“You’ve done a good job around here, Jevon. Congratulations on being our Employee of the Month.”

While Jevon may be happy that he’s being recognized, he (and his coworkers) probably don’t understand why. As a result, Jevon (and his coworkers) may not know what specific things he is doing well and what kind of performance it takes to continue to receive these ‘Attaboys.’

Rather than offering vague and nebulous employee recognition, it’s exponentially more powerful when a manager clearly spells out the specific attitudes, actions and behaviors behind the performance that have led to this acknowledgement. For example:

“Because you’ve made three additional presentations each day that enabled you to double your sales volume this month, Ashley, we’re going to send you and your husband out to your favorite restaurant and a night on the town!”

“You continually arrive here 15 minutes before your shift begins, Hector. That kind of reliability does not go unnoticed or unappreciated. Therefore, you have the first choice of vacation days you’d like to take off this summer.”

“Leah, when it comes to greeting our guests as they walk in, you are the bomb! Your smile is infectious and no matter what is going on in your personal life, you are always so warm and friendly, and you go out of your way to make our customers feel that they are special. That’s just as important to the success of our restaurant as the food we serve. I’d like for you to begin working with our other hosts to show them how to make our guests feel so welcome, and I’ll be giving you an additional $0.50 per hour for taking on this responsibility.”

I remember when my 7th grade art teacher sent me home with a Most Outstanding Art Student certificate. But when my dad asked me what I did in the class that stood out from the others, I couldn’t think of anything.

Yesterday, my seven-year-old granddaughter, Brooklyn, was recognized as her elementary school’s Student of the Month. Family members were invited to the school cafeteria before class to observe the short ceremony. Before handing her a certificate for this honor, her second-grade teacher explained to the crowd why she had been selected. In so doing, Brooky is now aware of the specific attitudes and behaviors that lead to this kind of acknowledgement, and so are her classmates.

Most managers have heard the cliché, “That which gets recognized gets repeated.” The key word in this edict is “That.” Recipients must clearly understand the “that” that is being recognized, or they won’t know what to repeat.

By the way, Brooky has her sights on winning the award again next month. And now she knows how to achieve that goal.

Keep Track of Organizational Goals with Performance Management

Posted to HR.com by Chris Arringdale, co-founder and president of Reviewsnap, an online performance-management system.

Some people make lists, others put sticky notes on their computer screen, and many simply fly by the seat of their pants. It’s not easy to keep track of work resolutions, especially when they are long-term, as resolutions tend to be. At work when deadlines begin to pile up and projects are coming out of your ears, finding time to work toward keeping your goals on track is near impossible. But don’t worry, your team doesn’t have to do it entirely alone.

Employees must understand their work capacity. The biggest issue with these newfound hopes of a brighter and more productive year is that all too often the goals are lofty. Take a look at the average workday breakdown:

  • 44.5 percent of the day spent on primary job duties;
  • 13.8 percent spent on reading and responding to e-mails;
  • 12 percent spent on administrative tasks;
  • 9.3 percent spent in useful meetings;
  • 7.7 percent dealing with interruptions;
  •  6.9 percent wasted in useless meetings.

That leaves a grand total of 5.7 percent of the day for special projects, working toward goals and everything else. Adding lofty aspirations to the list of daily activities leaves your team inundated with a workload they might not be able to handle. This is yet another reason why accurate performance appraisals are so crucial to business development and employee growth. Two-thirds of highly rated employees are not the top performers, so inaccurate appraisals could give them disproportionate time at work for more goals than they can reasonably achieve.

So what is the manager’s role?

Productivity and engagement start with the right attitude. While employees can be their own biggest critics, sometimes they need a little help getting motivated to accomplish their goals. Whether it’s faith in their own personal brand or how that aligns with the organization, a little “Nice work! This turned out great with the limited time you had,” or, “This is great, but it still needs some attention in these areas,” are examples of simple continuous feedback. However, there are other, more involved ways that managers can motivate the team before failing to meet a goal.

Clearly define expectations—It’s a natural propensity for people to mentally wander. However, if you give employees direction, their goals will align with your expectations for development. Understand how your employees work and what their limits are so that new goals don’t push them too far.

Believe in your team—Employees are more likely to perform well if they know that their supervisor has faith in their performance.

Praise and correct appropriately—Nothing is quite as demotivating as public criticism. More often than not, employees are unaware of shortcomings, and they certainly don’t need to be alerted to them in front of their team. On the same note, while private praise is appreciated, it’s not as effective as giving praise publicly.

No matter what your role in the company, it’s part of your job to help your employees and coworkers reach their work objectives. While it’s not your responsibility to micromanage their every task, you do have to help them understand how to manage their daily performance requirements and goal maintenance simultaneously. Performance appraisals, goal-tracking software and apps, and clear motivation from supervisors all play a role in helping your team reach their goals this year. MF

 

Related Enterprise Zones: Management


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