Posts Tagged 'performance management'

A Tale of Two Interns, or: How Clear Expectations Create Employee Success

Recently I had the pleasure of interacting with two students, one in high school and one in college.  I did not supervise them but simply became part of their life conversation.  At the time, both of them had internships, and I made it a point to ask how that was working for them.  I got two completely different stories that illustrate an important point about employee performance:  clear expectations get great results, and lack of expectations creates chaos.

Intern One worked for an artist.  She was hired to organize the artist’s admittedly chaotic contact list and calendar.  You would think this would be the “chaos” story – but no, the artist knew what she needed and described it very clearly.  When everything was organized, the artist would be able to find contact information for anyone she had spoken with, and her calendar would reflect accurately where and when she was performing.  The tool would be easy to use for someone not all that comfortable with technology. The intern trained the artist on using her new contact list and calendar, and she now feels in control of her professional life.

Intern Two was not so lucky.  She worked on a political campaign and initially was quite enthusiastic about the candidate.  But, as the weeks progressed, she was bounced from assignment to assignment with no direction, and then blamed when things did not go as planned.  She was asked to work extra hours and then told she was not needed after she rearranged her schedule.  She even tried to create a FAQ so that everyone would be on the same page around internal processes.  The result?  Her manager berated her for trying to run the show.

Bottom line:  you can’t expect results if you cannot describe clearly what you need and provide the tools to get the job done.  Intern Two was even willing to help create a tool, but that was perceived as threatening to the people in charge.  If you want your employees to go “above and beyond” set clear expectations, then get out of the way.

Sharon Hamersley is Principal of Keys to Performance, Your Resource for Workplace Productivity. Sharon helps businesses hire, train and retain outstanding employees and create workplaces where everyone can do their best work.  For more information, visit her web site http://k2performance.net or call her at 614-395-9440

New Hire Success is not an Accident

Picture the following scenario:

It’s your first day at a new job, and you are very excited to be working at Company X which you identified as a “dream” job.  You make sure you leave early to get to work on time.  You park your car and walk in the door.  You ask the receptionist at the front desk to let your manager know you have arrived.  She looks puzzled and says “But Ms. Green is out on vacation this week – she didn’t tell me she was expecting you.”

She then attempts to locate someone to help you.  No one else from that area has arrived so finally she calls the HR manager.  He arrives, apologizes for the confusion, and takes you up to where your office should be.  It’s an empty space…just a desk and chair, no telephone or computer.

If you were this person, would you still think you had just started your “dream” job?  At the very least, a sliver of doubt would probably creep in.  By the time Ms. Green returns, a whole week will have gone by with no direction, support, or information.

After a candidate has accepted the offer, it is the manager’s job to create the infrastructure to get them off to a great start.  This should include:

  • A designated person (if not you) to greet them on their first day and get them settled.
  • A workspace equipped with all of the tools they need to begin working.
  • And most importantly, a plan to ensure that they know what is expected of them and what resources are available to help them achieve the plan.

As the saying goes, “failure to plan is planning to fail.”  Set your new hire up for success by planning for their arrival and integration into your business.

Sharon Hamersley is Principal of Keys to Performance, Your Resource for Workplace Productivity. Sharon helps businesses hire, train and retain outstanding employees and create workplaces where everyone can do their best work.  For more information, visit her web site http://k2performance.net or call her at 614-395-9440

Getting Your Employees to Do Their Job Right

A professional colleague of mine told the following story:

An employee in the Payroll Processing division of a large Midwestern bank was on the verge of being fired for poor performance.  His job was to ensure that the payroll information from various companies was correct before being submitted for processing, and his work was almost never accurate. As a last-ditch effort, my colleague was brought in to talk to the employee and find out why he was making so many mistakes.  She asked if he understood what impact  his  mistakes had.  He had no idea why accuracy mattered.  She explained that when he made mistakes, people just like him did not get paid.  From that day on, he never made another mistake.

Bottom line:  tell your employees why doing their job right is important.  They are much more likely to do the job right when they understand what impact it has on others.

Sharon Hamersley is Principal of Keys to Performance, Your Resource for Workplace Productivity. Sharon helps businesses hire, train and retain outstanding employees and create workplaces where everyone can do their best work.  For more information, visit her web site http://k2performance.net or call her at 614-395-9440.