Working on Positive Behaviors

Another area with which I was at odds with HR was the importance & stress that would put on the formal disciplinary process…informal/verbal warnings, written warning, final warnings, “on documentation”, Performance Improvement Plan, etc..

And, to be honest, a lot of this was to CYA (cover your butt).

You would have the documentation necessary that clearly showed how the employees progressed through the various stages before finally being terminated.

I get it…and I agree with it.

They would show the managers which actions of the employee would cause them to move to the “next level of disciplinary action”.

But what they rarely helped with is how to reverse the trend. How to get the employee to improve their performance. What options may be available to avoid future absences.

It seemed they just wanted to ensure that the “get into trouble” process was locked down tightly. Nobody got away with anything & punishment was fairly meted out.

But what they failed to clearly get across to the managers is that their REAL RESPONSIBILITY is NOT to ensure that the rules are being followed & that performance is up to par & to know how to “write things up” when they weren’t, but rather, it’s TO teach the employees the right behaviors that’ll help to avoid disciplinary issues, TO show them ways to improve their performance, TO work with their people to avoid there issues.

There needed to be a healthy balance.

And while it’s true that a manager, a leader, must, at times, play the role of the warden, the classroom monitor, the bad cop, it’s more important that they be the teacher, the guidance counselor, the parole board, the advisor who’s able & willing to stress the positive behaviors needed to perform better.

Not just reciting the numbers, but showing them HOW.

Why are they absent so much? What can WE do about it? Why are their performance #s not up to snuff? Are they actively listening to the customer? Properly using all their available tools? Readily familiar with all products & services? Able to offer viable options to make things easier, cheaper, more convenient & more accurate for the customer? Are they obsessed with exceeding the customer’s expectations, getting the customer to smile at the end of every interaction, or are they merely answering questions?

What managers & true leaders must realize is that every employee who leaves (voluntarily or forcibly) represents a black eye for the company.

I don’t care if they left for more money, better advancement opportunities, a less stressful environment, due to poor performance or poor attendance or whatever, it’s OUR fault! Each manager should be taking personal responsibility for EVERYTHING that happens within the walls of the company!

If so many people are leaving for more $ (that’s happened continuously with Citi & USAA), then it’s YOUR responsibility to speak up to your superiors, to HR.

If there’s a toxic work environment, address it. Open people’s eyes.

Sometimes, organizations like to “play with numbers” to make themselves “appear better”.

I remember when Citi had a 20% ceiling for annual turnover.

Changed it to 25% as soon as we got to 19.8%.

Then changed it to 30% when we hit 24.8%.

And before I left, I know it was 29.5+%. I’m sure the ceiling was increased just so we could could stay below it, while performance in this area was steadily deteriorating.

Same with employee satisfaction surveys.

We would hold parades when “very satisfied” rose from 60.5% to 62%. Great, recognize the improvement & applaud it.

But that also means that 38% were NOT “very satisfied”!!!

If customers are not “very satisfied”, they’ll leave…even if they’re “satisfied” or “somewhat satisfied”.

Same with employees.

And having an ice cream social 2 days before the survey really doesn’t help that much.

Employees are happiest when they’re performing better. When they’re not stressing out over their next call. When they feel confident that they’re able to do their job well.

And just like customer satisfaction, employee satisfaction is a 24 x 7, 365 days job!

You must be obsessed, crazy about it, a fanatic.

PASSION…have it, show it, spread it.

I’ve always been proud of my employee satisfaction results…customer satisfaction results…meeting/exceeding all KPI/Key Performance Indictors…attendance…employee retention…timeliness…quality…efficiency.

But you must concentrate on what behaviors will get you these results…forget about the silly charts & temperature gauges!

Show your people WHAT we need to do, HOW we need to do it, WHEN we need to do it, FOR WHOM we need to do it, and WHY we need to do it.

Don’t shove your goals & targets down their throats…put on your cheerleader outfit & show them what we need to achieve.

Teach them how to improve their “behaviors”.

Concentrate on what the employees are doing every single day & the numbers will happen automatically!

Treat them like family & they’ll make you incredibly proud of them.

Show them how much you care. How deeply you’re invested in them & in the company. Be the ultimate customer advocate as that’ll also make you the ultimate employee advocate.

And vice versa.

Drip passion & make sure it’s contagious. Be infectious!

Thank you, as always, for listening!

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