Planting Season

Spring has sprung.  As we look forward to a season of growth and renewal in our gardens, it is also time to consider planting seeds that will help you, your employees, your supervisors, and your business grow and flourish.  There are several well known management methods that take a positive approach to improve employee conduct, work performance, and cultivate a positive and productive working environment resulting in quality work and satisfied customers.  The One Minute Manager, Management by Wandering Around, Total Quality Management, Employee Coaching, and Discipline without Punishment are management methods that have similar core principles that you and your supervisors can use in day to day interactions with your employees.*  A few ideas of how to improve communications, performance and morale in a positive way follow.

  • Give employee feedback on their performance frequently.  Tell employees what they have done well, what is not up to your standards, or where improvement is needed.  Be specific and honest.  Talk with them face to face whenever possible.  Make the same effort to recognize good work as you do when an employee isn’t meeting your expectations.  Don’t wait for annual evaluations and don’t wait to talk to an employee about a problem until it may be too late to solve it.
  • When discussing performance or conduct issues, attack the problem not the employee.  Let the employee know what they did wrong or what they need to do differently.  Let employees know that you value them and it is the performance or conduct at issue that you do not like.  For example, don’t tell an employee he/she is lazy when they didn’t get a task done on time.  Tell the employee that he/she didn’t complete the work in the time allotted.  Let the employee know how their unsatisfactory performance affected the job, business, etc.  For example, because you did not finish installing the flooring on schedule, two other subcontractors had to be rescheduled, which inconvenienced them and will make it more difficult for us to complete the project on time.
  • Ask employees for ideas to solve problems, make improvements in methods or operations, etc. and listen to what they have to say.
  • When you visit job sites or other areas in the business, spend a few minutes visiting with employees.  Talk with them about what they are doing and how it is going.  Be a coach and a mentor, not just an inspector.  You get to know your employees; they get to know you.
  • Train your employees to help them develop new skills and knowledge.  Training is not limited to formal training.  Give employees clear and specific instruction on new tasks or procedures.  Watch the employee go through the steps and give feedback as they perform the steps.  Employees with performance problems may need retraining.  Demonstrate the task and then watch the employee do it, giving instructions as needed.  Talk with employees about additional training they need or want to become better at what they do or to assume new roles in the company.
  • In the long run employee and company growth benefits from employees who know what to do and how to do it, who feel they are a part of the company, who believe they have a future with the company, who feel valued, and who believe they are making a contribution to the company.

by Susan Sheeran,  Melli Law, S.C.

* You can obtain additional general information on any of these methods through an internet search, and some are described on Wikipedia.

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