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Methods for improwing job performance

"The success of your organization doesn't depend on your understanding of economics,
or organizational development, or marketing. It depends, quite simply, on your
understanding of psychology: how each individual employee connects with your
company ; how each individual employee connects with your customers ."

their enthusiasm is catching. or marketing. Behavioral Assessment When Hiring: There is no magic to performing these three tasks successfully. employee turnover was reduced by as much as 50%. their performance suffers and too many of their company's customers end up going elsewhere. Instead. and attitudes/beliefs (personality). The evidence is overwhelming. when companies used job analysis and behavioral assessment surveys as part of their hiring practice."1 Based on this research. as follows: Engaging Your Employees: To put it another way. 60% of those 1 The Gallup Organization . for example. while about 80% of Fortune 500 companies do employee attitude or engagement surveys. which results in higher customer retention. how each individual employee connects with your customers . on your understanding of psychology: how each individual employee connects with your company . price and promotion. From 1995 to 2005. It depends. If employees are bored and just going through the motions. they are often worse off than if they did no survey at all. The best way to do this is through a two-step process in which the company surveys employees about how to improve their job performance at the workgroup level. quite simply. According to a benchmark study in the Harvard Business Review. the world-renowned Gallup Organization surveyed more than three million employees. and increased profitability. Interestingly. This is not supposition or theory. and then implements the most meaningful suggestions work group by work group. in which the prospects and employees are matched to the job at three levels: appearance/presence. the greatest single contributing factor to profitability is the 5 th P – the people that a company employes. However. Their results are summarized as follows: "The success of your organization doesn't depend on your understanding of economics. Gallup Organization gave some instutcion in order to improve job performance. or organizational development. more new customers. 61% of the employees become top performers within 14 months on the job versus just 7% of employees who were hired by companies who did not use such tools. unless companies survey properly and implement the results. According to The Gallup Organization. Furthermore. skills/experience. Employee Engagement: The final two tasks are associated with engaging existing employees. if employees are engaged in what they're doing. place. including job analysis and behavioral assessment surveys. in companies that used such assessment tools. that the best way to hire good employees or promote them into positions of competence is by using a systematic process.Introduction One of the unexpected facts about business performance is that profitability is no longer related directly to what is called the 4 Ps of business – product. most companies have become so advanced in their use of marketing and technology that the distinguishing factor in a company's performance today is how well employees are engaged by their jobs. 200000 managers and 10 milion customers in over 300000 business units worldwide.

Follow This Path. There is absolutely no doubt that productivity and profitability increase significantly when companies use job analysis and behavioral assessment their hiring practices. and how do you best implement the results 2. Gallup also found that this often results from the existing top performers improving more than the lower performers. . Gallup found that productivity improved in the range of 25% or more. Gallup says that the studies were not designed to find out "the real issues that employees were facing day in and day out at the local level. and then work on engaging their employees through workgroup-level surveying and bottoms-up implementation of suggested changes. Interestingly. 67 & 77." The results of improving employee engagement are absolutely staggering. pages. while the bottom performers remain unengaged. Putting It All Together: Accord's engagement surveys have yielded similar results to Gallup and the study in The Harvard Business Review. Nor did they include local accountability. When companies manage in a way that focuses on improving employee engagement. … so middle managers assumed that the issues would be resolved at the top. It's which tools should you use. 2 Coffman. 2002. Warner Books. The issue is not whether you should use professional surveying or assessment tools. primarily because the top performers increase their engagement level. Curt and Gabriel Gonzalez-Molina.companies reported being worse off after the surveys.

Solution: Score Annually.One to One: Interviewing. but also co-workers. Appraising. 360-degree feedback methods in which employees receive feedback from not only their bosses. and communicate decisions regarding salary increases. Despite innovations such as “360-degree” and “competency-based” evaluations. Then he just handed me the evaluation form and told me to sign it. team members and supervisors discuss the quality of recent performance and then set plans to develop the employee and improve his or her performance as an essential. page 89 . managers try to achieve both objectives in one meeting. are already being questioned because they overwhelm employees with scores. Goodale. New Jersey. and the solutions.D. Selecting. 3 James G. surveys continue to indicate that most employees and supervisors find that performance evaluation— more recently known as performance management—often does more harm than good.” “These 360-degree reports are useless—just a bunch of numbers in distributions of numbers! What do all the scores mean? Some of these competencies don’t even apply to my job. “Informal” performance management takes place during day-to-day feedback and discussion as supervisors and team members review work in progress. promotions and so on. 1992. . Who are these people who rated me? How familiar are they with my performance?” Difficulties in evaluating and discussing employee performance have become so common that many employees complain that feedback from supervisors is inadequate or misleading. but he did all the talking. Why? Because in spite of best intentions to discuss past performance and plan the future. customers and staff. managers find themselves delivering the annual report card and defending the scores that employees object to. When performance management is an annual event. but Discuss and Plan as Often as Necessary. But since the vast majority of organizations formally review employee performance once a year. What’s wrong? The answer. Performance management supports two objectives: 1) to evaluate the past—document the quality of employee performance and results. what is evaluated and discussed and how the process is carried out. Ph. WHY Too Much Scoring. Not Enough Discussing and Planning. and 2) to plan the future—discuss employee performance and results and set plans for improvement. require a close examination of why performance management is done.Improving Performance Management 3 “What a disappointment that was! I went into my supervisor’s office expecting to discuss my job performance and plans. Englewood Cliffs. natural part of their jobs. Furthermore. and Counseling Employees (Prentice Hall. Employees. it becomes an annual failure.

One key to effective performance management is to discuss information that employees understand and can use to develop themselves and improve their performance. they become too formal and ineffective. personality.” Second. team members and supervisors should participate in creating the evaluation form (see my paper “Seven Ways to Improve Performance Appraisals. 77). therefore. Most supervisors and team members also observe how employees perform specific job responsibilities that enable them to achieve results. and clearly job related. Useful feedback is behavioral (not personal traits). But when these discussions take place with rating forms. First. such as maturity. evaluations of employees in vague.” or “you have poor interpersonal skills. p. specific (not general competencies) directly observable. During feedback and planning discussions. Third. Employees. Therefore. One secret to effective performance management. team members and supervisors can discuss specific results achieved and set targets for the future. or on competencies like interpersonal skill. job knowledge and organizational skill. employees often disagree with the supervisor’s ratings because the characteristic being evaluated wasn’t directly observed. Problems arise when evaluation forms ask supervisors to rate employees on personal traits. In addition. For example.Performance management can also be done in “semi-formal” reviews conducted every few months or at the end of a project. employees may manage time poorly. WHAT Evaluation Forms Don’t Apply to the Employee’s Job. employees often become defensive when they receive general personal comments like. 1993. HR Magazine. object to changes in procedures and argue with team members. Solution: Give Feedback about Job-related Results and Performance. attitude. dependability. is to conduct informal and semi-informal discussions as often as necessary—no forms and no scores (more about how to do this later). For example. “you rate only 3 on a 5-point scale of maturity. exceeding or failing to meet sales quotas. supervisors often have difficulty applying them to their employees. the appropriate parties can discuss how well the employee performed these responsibilities and make plans to improve performance in each of them. annual salary review interviews are necessary to sum up the year’s performance and discuss administrative decisions based on employee performance. Supervisors and employees are aware of the results employees achieve. subjective terms like personal traits and competencies may lead to charges of discrimination. results and performance. Because performance evaluation forms are typically created by human resources departments or consultants. . meet these standards. Two topics. May. or producing or failing to achieve quality assurance standards. initiative. employees. communicate well.

Solution: Listen and Probe First.” follow up with a more focused question. It is possible to reinforce positive performance.” or “Pretty good. Unfortunately. “What in particular comes to mind?” or “What have you been particularly pleased with?” Your objective is to discuss a positive topic raised by the other person. Unfortunately. An Exercise in Upward Communication 4 “Constructive criticism” is a phrase commonly associated with performance management. The secret is to draw out the employee’s views of his or her performance and plans for improvement by asking questions. Begin with a general question about his or her performance. Initiate: “How would you rate your performance during the last six months?” or “How do you feel about your performance during the last quarter?” If you get a general response like. Talk and Prescribe Later An obvious way to avoid this top-down style is to encourage employees to talk about their own performance before the supervisor or team members give feedback. This is not a performance review. and many supervisors struggle to find a way to tell employees that they are performing a job responsibility poorly and need a different approach. and set performance goals without scoring employees. many employees feel personally criticized and become defensive. are entirely top-down. Try the following exercise with one of your employees or co-workers. As stated earlier. Let’s talk further about that aspect of your job. annual review meetings force them into this role as they walk in with completed evaluation forms and begin the discussion. This can be done during day-to-day discussions and in “semi-formal” reviews conducted every few months or at the end of a project. “Fine. these periodic reviews can be done very effectively without evaluation forms and ratings. Focus: “You mentioned that you were particularly satisfied with…. Furthermore. 360-degree feedback reports delivered in hard copy or electronically. page 46) . a training course or something else. Supervisors and team members can always add points later in the discussion if the employee doesn’t raise them first.” or “8 on a 10-point scale. 2001.HOW Too Much Top-Down Communication. Many supervisors dislike performance management because they feel like a punitive parent sitting in judgment.” How Probe: “How did you approach…?” or “What method did you use?” 4 Anne Bruce – How to Motivate Every Employee (McGraw-Hill. it’s just a job-related discussion. The Initiate-Listen-Focus-Probe-Plan technique below provides a powerful tool to avoid such defensiveness. identify areas of improvements.

about 80% of the people questioned in this way have made specific suggestions to improve their performance in a part of their job that they feel they have done well. after the training. Even more encouraging. they also set specific plans. . supervisors and team members report more relaxed and positive two-way communication in both “semi-formal” and formal performance discussions.Why Probe: “How did you happen to choose that approach?” or “What was your rationale for that method?” Results Probe: “How has it worked out for you?” or “What results have you achieved?” Plan: “Knowing what you know now. Furthermore. what would you have done differently?” or “What changes would you make if you worked on this again?” In hundreds of training courses. when asked about aspects of job performance to improve.

Warner Books.One to One: Interviewing. Appraising. Ph. Follow This Path. 2001. Curt and Gabriel Gonzalez-Molina. Goodale. and Counseling Employees (Prentice Hall. Englewood Cliffs. New Jersey) Anne Bruce – How to Motivate Every Employee ( page 46) Coffman.References: www. 2002 .com James G. . Selecting.