Yesterday I attended an event centered around the topic of social media and its implications for employee relations issues in the workplace. Many businesses have already put social media policies in place to provide instruction to employees and managers about workplace issues and social media. Even the best social media policy, however, can only do so much to address areas that can cause potential employee relations issues both in and out of the immediate workplace.
Interactions with people related to work performance occur on a daily basis for most managers. We get work accomplished through these interactions, which happen with varying degrees of success. Some of these performance related discussions leave those involved feeling inspired, focused and prepared to take action. Others leave people feeling befuddled, confused, and wondering what is expected to happen next.
As managers in the new business normal, it is up to us to drive these performance conversations so that they are purposeful and direct performance in a way that gets the intended results. Here is my definition of a successful performance interaction:
One of the most visible ways that people get work accomplished is through interactions with other people. As mangers, most of us participate in these performance related conversations on a regular basis. Our effectiveness during these interactions plays an enormous role in our success as managers in the new business normal.
Interactions related to work performance can occur on an informal basis, such as a quick telephone conversation with an employee about a work-related question. They can also occur on a more formal, structured level such as one-on-one meetings to discuss projects, goals, problems, new assignments, and an endless list of other potential topics.
As managers in the new business normal, our whole approach to getting results in the workplace is continuing to change, and those on our team look to us for guidance and strong, steady leadership. At least, that’s how it’s supposed to work, but it doesn’t always turn out that way.
After working with managers for decades and being a manager myself, I have come to realize that we all have an opportunity to add value and contribute so our team members do in fact look to us with confidence. We can capitalize on this opportunity if we are committed to seeing ourselves as we really are and making changes needed to keep us improving.
As I work with individuals and organizations on topics related to maximizing the performance of people in the new business normal, I am regularly asked about how to go about measuring performance. This topic is enormous and rich in content. Performance measurement is also a tricky topic with a significant potential impact on performance improvement. With this in mind, let’s cover some basics to get us started in developing our understanding about performance measurement and people.
What is performance measurement?
I was in one of my favorite grocery stores the other day to pick up a few items. While I was there, I noticed they were making massive changes to their items in inventory. I knew they were getting ready to relocate to another store location in a few months, and that it was a brand new facility.
One of the driving factors for the decision to move was a competitive one. Within in the last few months, several new grocery stores had entered the market with splashy advertising touting their presence. These competitors were diverse in their offerings: one offered lower prices and “bag your own groceries”. Another was a national chain that was definitely more upscale.
The new business normal environment that we as managers are operating in is creating challenges and situations we have never faced before. That means we must depend on the talents of our team members now more than ever to come up with creative solutions that address these new issues and problems. So, how do we maximize the performance of our team members and that of our own to meet and conquer these challenges?
One of the approaches I have found helpful is what I call Performance with EEEs. It includes specific actions for businesses to take that will help increase the engagement of employees, develop ourselves as managers and improve excellence in execution in the workplace on a daily basis. The three EEEs are:
During the twenty plus years I have spent as a manager and adviser to other managers, I have picked up a few helpful tips to employ during discussions with people about performance. One of the gold nuggets I have discovered is that well-placed pauses can be powerful and quite effective during performance conversations. Managers that are skilled at using the power of the pause can improve the quality of their performance conversations with others.
What is the purpose of the pause in this context?
What a great time it is to be a manager or supervisor in an organization! For years now, the business world has been evolving into a new normal, and the role of the leader has been transforming along with it. What worked before as a manager might not be effective at getting results in the business world today.
So, what makes it such a great time to be in a leadership role when times are tough, the business world is constantly changing, and the role of the manager is evolving? Certainly, the competition we face will continue to be fierce and challenge us every day. Under these conditions, the best way we can be succeed as managers is to draw out and tap into the skills and talents of the people who work with us.
Last week I had the opportunity to moderate a panel of Human Resource experts at a local SHRM meeting. The topic was “Maximizing Performance through Talent Management: Best Practices”. The discussion was lively and rich with great comments and suggestions. The panelists shared their best practices related to talent management approaches for attracting, developing, engaging and retaining top notch talent…the best of the best needed to get results in the new business normal.
The topic of talent retention in the new business normal was especially interesting to me. Talent retention is getting renewed attention from businesses that understand the importance of this topic and its connection to maximizing organizational performance.