In my travels as a senior HR consultant and recruiter, I have listened to many successful business people expound their views on people, and what they truly believe about people in general. I often hear this because the issue at hand is often about an employee or groups of employees who are not measuring up, or who need to be closely managed in order to achieve what they set out to do. Again I heard this same story play itself out from yet another successful business owner.
In this case, the company has achieved significant success, yet the organization is not at all structured in how the work really gets done. The owner has a style of walking around asking people what they are doing, and uses this as her measuring stick or her own way of knowing if things are getting done or not.
When I dug deep to find out why this was the style, she confided in me that her view was that people are really inherently lazy and not to be trusted and you then need to have your own ways of seeing that they really are doing what they are supposed to be doing. From my own experience I would certainly argue this viewpoint. My view is that people are in fact generally not lazy and they can be trustworthy, but in the absence of employee performance management structure, the trust issue can and often does creep in.
So, how can we move away from these non-trustworthy employees in the workplace scenario? The answer is in having a simple defined performance management system in place. There are 3 distinct basic parts –
- Having up to date and accurate job descriptions for each employee so that their responsibilities are very clear
- Setting performance objectives for each employee which link to the department and company goals
- Having an interim performance feedback process (monthly objectives review meetings) and also having a final more formal year-end review, the performance evaluation.
When you have these in place, employees know in advance what they are accountable for, they know they are going to be measured; and realize they are going to be asked about their progress at least monthly, and they know that at the year end their performance is formally reviewed.
So, where does the non-trust fit in this new scenario? Simply stated – if employees understand their role (job description) and know what performance goals they are accountable for – then it is up to them to deliver. If they cannot deliver, and after normal coaching/training there is a consistent lack of performance, you must manage through to either acceptable performance or you terminate employment. Trusting employees implicitly to do work which is unclear or not measured is like sending someone to the grocery store without a list and then becoming upset with what is brought home.
The point here is – if you manage employee performance within the context of them having these 3 basic components, the trust issues dissipate over time, because employees who are not able to do the work would not fit into the organization in the future, and the employees who are getting the work done can be trusted in future to also get the work done, of course employing these 3 components.
TwoGreySuits’ HR Power Centre provides all this in detail, providing all materials to develop a robust job description, how to set employee performance objectives, how to manage monthly and also the year-end review form/process.