Performance Objectives and Happy Employees
I guess it’s obvious that as business owners and managers we want our employees to be happy at work. Why wouldn’t we? (For one thing, happy employees are always far more productive than unhappy employees!). What we’re often unsure about is how to help our employees to be happy – how to ‘delight’ them.
What most of the business owners and managers I work with would be most surprised to hear is that we can make a real difference to our employee’s happiness by using performance objectives. Here’s how:
1. Use Performance Objectives to get clear on your expectations
‘Knowing what’s expected of them’ consistently ranks highly on employee satisfaction surveys. Employees want to know what their manager wants from them – what they have to do in order for their manager to consider then to be a good performer. One way to delight your employee is to have a focused, ‘adult to adult’ conversation in which you both explore and agree what effective performance looks like for their job. Research also tells us that having clear objectives with effective measures can improve performance by over 30% so if you agree your expectations as performance objectives you can expect not only improved satisfaction from your employees but also improved performance
2. Use Performance Objectives to help your employees connect their efforts to the mission and purpose of your business
We know from research that employees want to ‘connect their efforts to the mission and purpose of your business’. In short, I guess, they want an answer to the question – ‘why am I doing this?’ A way to delight your employee is to spend time with them exploring the ‘Why’ of their job – why what they do is so important to the business. A simple approach is to take each of the performance objectives you a have agreed and explore how achievement of that objective contributes to your businesses success (or how failing to meet the objective would have a negative consequence to the business).
3. Give performance feedback and recognition
I guess you won’t be surprised to know that research shows that ‘appreciation for a job well done’ consistently ranks highly as a motivator in employee surveys. You might be more surprised to know that research also shows that most people don’t feel they get enough praise.
Putting aside the fact that it’s likely that some survey participants feel they should be praised for turning up every morning, there are probably ways to delight your employees simply by paying closer attention to their performance so that you can find opportunities to praise them. It’s about bringing some focused attention to catching your employees doing things right.
The easiest way to make praise a motivational experience for your employee is to give them performance feedback based on agreed performance objectives. It’s the difference between ‘nice work Doug’ and ‘Let me tell you why I think your performance was outstanding in that client meeting…’ (here you use your agreed performance objectives to illustrate what the employee did that was so effective).
4. Show care, interest and concern for your employees
We know that showing a high level of interest and concern for our employee results in higher levels of motivation and performance. One of the most powerful ways to do this is to have a conversation specifically about how to maintain or improve their current level of job satisfaction. After all, who wouldn’t feel motivated by having a boss who cares about our satisfaction at work and who is happy to spend the time talking to us about this subject which is so close to our hearts? Having conversations with your employee specifically about their job satisfaction may feel like just one more thing on your ever expanding ‘to do list’. The benefits, though, of spending some good quality, focused time on this issue can be enormous in terms of both employee motivation and in building your relationship with that employee. And here’s the great part.
Even if you and the employee cannot come up with a whole range of actions to maintain or improve their job satisfaction, most employees find that the very fact that their boss is interested in their satisfaction and prepared to spend time discussing this with them is highly motivational in itself. It’s a ‘no lose’ situation
‘Delighting employees’ doesn’t have to be about salary, bonuses or fast cars (though I’m not saying these don’t help!) Research tells us again and again that what employees want – what delights them – is to be well managed. What much of ‘well managed’ means is clarity, connection, feedback and interest and what much of ‘well managed’ means in practice is using performance objectives
Do you want to read more about Performance Objectives?
Why not take a look at my e-book ‘Motivating Your Staff with Powerful Performance Objectives’ – a step-by-step guide for managers, team leaders and supervisors who want to motivate their staff to high performance. More details HERE