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November 15, 2012

Encouraging Changes People Desire

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Issue #17: November 15, 2012

Encourage Better Performance from Others
(also "How to Review Employees part 2")

Encouraging Better Performance from the people closest to you can be one of the most challenging yet rewarding activities one should learn to do well. Why? One reason is a spin-off of the Golden Rule:

"The more you help others, the more they will likely help you." Or, in other words, it creates a better life for you, the others that you touch, and those they touch!

Reviewing Employees Part 2: This article is a continuation of last month's article "How to Review Employees Part 1". One of the key takeaways a great review should include is a clear understanding of what to do better (or differently), and how. These same (or similar) principles can be applied to most other relationships as well.

Reviewing the Review Process: The key to success is open and honest communication and feedback from both parties. My 6-step process is: 1) Discuss the positives, 2) discuss problems or challenges, 3) discuss things that are neither positives nor problems, 4) ask and answer questions, 5) create goals, and 6) discuss compensation, rewards, and benefits. Last month's article detailed the first three steps, now I begin at Step 4:

4) Ask and Answer Questions: Each party should have some questions for each other after completing Step 3. Make sure each person’s questions are understood and adequately answered, if possible. On occasion, some questions may need to be considered or looked into, and responded to later. This step can resolve issues that have been sore spots for one or both parties.

5) Goal Setting: As long as our minds keep functioning well, all of us can continue to learn and become more helpful to others. Therefore, set some goals for your employee, positive things for her to accomplish over the next month, quarter, and year. Goals should be both realistic to achieve, and somewhat of a "stretch" - things that may take mastering new skills, for example. Set another goal: to go over progress made, and any problems encountered, at reasonable time intervals.

6) Compensation and Benefits: Doing a review often coincides with when the employee is up for a raise. But it can be done at other times as well. In either case, compensation and goals should be linked. If the person is up for a raise, has met or exceeded the past goals that were set, and if raises are being given, this employee would likely merit one.

If the person has not met expectations, how close has she come? Depending on the situation and company policies, it might be a good idea to hold off on a raise, and set some short-term goals, so the person can qualify for a raise or some other benefit, in a few months, if certain goals are met.

When reviewing someone not up for a raise, this process should help the person to more likely qualify for a raise when that time comes. Better still, when a person truly is worth more than they are currently being paid, giving someone an unexpected early raise may create lasting benefits. After all, unexpected positive feedback can be very encouraging and motivating!

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