5 Steps to Motivating & Maintaining Top Performers

01 Dec

Over the past, very challenging year, I’ve seen some real changes in the way our clients have started working with us. For those who had depended on Caliper mainly for hiring, there has been a switch to analyzing their existing teams and determining how to make the most of a much leaner workforce. My first piece of advice to them is always: Pay attention to the employees you value. Employees who feel undervalued are less productive and are more inclined to start looking for greener pastures as the economy begins to improve.

Just remember, motivating your employees and helping them achieve higher levels of accomplishment requires an open mind and a sincere time commitment on your part. 

1: Learn More About Them

Review the employee’s past projects and contributions. Do you see any themes? Are there some activities and responsibilities that he or she seems to enjoy and gravitate toward more than others? Are there certain areas that appear to be a struggle? Document performance expectations and gather relevant input from co-workers, clients and customers. What types of activities do they commend the individual on and what areas might need a little work? Information from a  valid personality assessment can be a real help here as well. You can discover untapped strengths, better understand his or her internal motivators, and learn why he or she struggles in certain situations.

2: Have an Open Feedback Session

Start this session by providing feedback on all the information you’ve gathered to this point. Give praise and appreciation for past performance that’s deserving of it, then discuss what motivates the individual. This can encourage commitment and ensure continued satisfaction and strong performance. For feedback that is more constructive in nature, a simple approach is to describe the behavior that needs work, describe the impact of that behavior, and outline alternatives to that behavior. Get the employee’s thoughts. Is he or she in agreement with what you’ve shared or were there some surprises in the feedback?

Now it’s time to work together and reassess how well the person is matched to his or her current role.

3: Re-evaluate The Current Position Together

As you look at the responsibilities of the job (see my post on Creating Better Job Descriptions) and the individual’s motivators, preferences and natural abilities, is the current role really the strongest fit?  Why or why not?

If it’s a good fit, where do you plan to go from here? Will you expand responsibilities? Will you consider a promotion in the near future? Will you offer training and incentives for continued growth and learning? If it seems like a good fit but there are a few performance issues, you need consensus on whether this is due to issues that are out of the employee’s control such as unawareness of certain expectations or requirements, inadvertently punishing good behavior, rewarding non-performance, etc.

If it is not the strongest job match, what options are available? Here is where your open mind is very important. Perhaps a claims adjuster has the potential to be a strong salesperson. Or a mediocre salesperson might have excellent, untapped management abilities. Realize that some 70% of people are currently not in the positions they are best suited for. The more you know about the individual, the more equipped you’ll be to put that person in a role that allows him or her to make a real contribution. 

 4: Develop a Growth Plan Together

Using all of the information you’ve compiled so far, it’s time to meet with the individual to create a plan for the future. Here you will work together to determine what is best for both the individual and the company. You need to identify expected outcomes and give specific direction and timelines for meeting those expectations. For example, if a promotion is the goal, outline exactly what behaviors and accomplishments need to be seen in order to earn that promotion. Put them on a timeline so progress can be measured along the way. Be sure that the new job responsibilities and measures of success are clearly outlined as well.

5: Review and Follow-up

 Don’t neglect this important stage. With a review process built into the development plan, you can gauge what’s working and what’s not. Maybe you’ll notice that certain training is needed or different tools need to be made available. Revisit the plan if the results are not meeting expectations. Remember, if you ignore this step, not only is your plan likely to fail, you will also be sending a message that employee development plans  are not taken seriously.

Follow these steps and become the kind of leader who inspires and brings out the best in each employee.

Written by Herb Greenberg, Caliper Founder & CEO

Article found on:

Fire Inc Atlanta GA

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Posted by on December 1, 2011 in Uncategorized


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