This is frightening! This is scary! Is it Halloween?
No! IT’S MANAGING PERFORMANCE AND PROVIDING FEEDBACK!
I recently had the opportunity to interact with retailers, wholesalers, and growers in the floral industry. Many of them talked about the “drama” they endure with some of their employees. I know Halloween is right around the corner; this is not a horror film, simply a drama, and sometimes a comedy… of errors.
When I asked what the business leaders meant by “drama,” they offered these employee examples:
“They do their job well when they ‘feel’ like it, but they are inconsistent.”
“They don’t always get along well with others and create havoc within the team.”
“Sometimes they make up their own rules.”
I commented, “It doesn’t sound very positive! How do you know they are doing their job well?”
“What is ‘well’?,” I asked. The leader laughed and said, “Great question, I don’t know.”
I laughed and said, “Is it possible if you do not know what is ‘well,’ the employee may also be in the dark?” Good point!
Managing performance requires setting clear expectations and outcomes to ensure desired results are achieved. Realistic metrics that detail timeframes or number targets provide clarity and boundaries for your employees. The metrics should also be included in job descriptions, interview questions, directives, and assignments. To further highlight the importance of the desired results, the descriptions with clear outcomes can be shared in interviews, onboarding, training, and ongoing feedback.
Imagine if the leader had communicated the following:
• It takes 20 minutes to create a bouquet and 45 minutes to create a funeral display. In a typical workday, I expect you to create at least xx arrangements.
• All customer orders must be picked, processed, and delivered by xx am with 100 percent accuracy.
• You must respond to telephone inquiries within 24 hours or next business day (if received on a Friday).
These measurement-related expectations are clear, detailed, and professional. When discussing performance with an employee, you now have an objective method to gauge performance and determine if the employee is “doing well.”
If the employee is achieving the performance expectations, celebrate the success and provide positive feedback. If the employee is picking orders from the warehouse with repeated errors, they are not meeting company expectations. The leader can now address the performance gap in a manner that is direct, respectful, and timely.
If the employee responds with “yes, but” statements, such as...
• “Yes, but I could not find the hydrangeas.”
• “Yes, but this arrangement was more difficult than standard orders.”
• “Yes, but I got sidetracked with customers and did not get to the telephone order.’
... the leader can discuss the importance of proactive communication to gain alignment about an unintended outcome.
The employee may have handled the situation as you would have desired, but proactive communication reinforces positive behavior and ensures you are on the same page.
When a leader provides feedback that does not include specific examples to support not “doing well,” acting with drama, or not resolving a situation, it may feel like a scene from a horror film. The employee may become defensive and the leader may become frustrated.
This type of communication leaves an indelible impression and may have a long-term impact on the relationship.
If your feedback includes the steps above to clearly address performance quickly — with objectivity and respect — you’ll soon turn a Trick into a Treat!
Glenna Hecht is a speaker, author, consultant, and HR Guru. For help with your policies, contact us at [email protected] If you like what you read, visit www.glennahecht.com and sign up for the What the Hecht? Blog.