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Today’s guest post is written by Dennis Phoenix. 

Dennis Phoenix is a human resource specialist and writer. He writes on topics including business relationships, productivity, employee satisfaction, and awards. You can learn more about awards for your employees at Able Trophies.  He spends his weekends mountain biking and photographing nature. (Contact Dennis @ dennis.phoenix@abletrophies.com)

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Every summer in high school I would find some sort of work to make some extra money. For a couple of summers I worked on a golf course taking care of the grounds, but one summer I went to work for a construction company. About a month into the job my boss approached me during one particular project. He was flustered and upset to say the least. He made it clear that I wasn’t pulling my weight on the job.

He was at the point where he was about ready to fire me on the spot. I was also thrown off by the sudden outburst. As it turned out, I had not been doing everything he expected of me. However, in my own defense, he had not communicated his expectations very well, at least not until that outburst. Happily, after explaining my ignorance of his expected performance standards, I was able to keep my job. For the rest of the summer things went smoothly.

Granted, I was a young inexperienced kid with a lot of growing up to do. However, I don’t think my foreman was an outlier on the managerial scale of poor communication.  Many managers make more work and headache for themselves simply because they haven’t instituted a system that communicates, tracks, and rewards performance goals.

Involve employees in setting goals. This will give them a sense of ownership and accountability for reaching the goals they helped set. Find out the strengths each employee can contribute to the organization and set goals that will leverage that ability. As with a football team, some players are more suited to certain positions than others. As a manager, it is in your best interest to discover those talents and use them.

Focus on the parameters that will lead to success. Too often, managers put too much emphasis on specific numbers to reach instead of emphasizing the processes that lead to those numbers. A football coach knows that his team won’t score every time they go on offense. However, by practicing and executing the plays that will give them the best chance of scoring, a coach knows that they will score, and score repeatedly. The better they execute the fundamentals, the greater their success.

Set up a system that objectively measures the performance of your employees.  Each business will have some critical areas where performance criteria must be met in order for the business to continue. Other areas are less critical but still important. Just as a football coach keeps track of nearly every statistic in a game, you and your employees should have the same access to their performance measurements. Keeping track of an employee’s performance and communicating this allows them, and you, to see on a continuous basis how they are performing.

Continually monitor employee’s performance and help them reach their goals. Look for areas where you can bolster your employee’s productivity and provide them with the strategies that will ensure they reach their goals. An employee that knows what he has to do in order to reach a goal won’t waste time wondering what to do next. Instead, they will stay focused on those parameters that will lead to success.

Reward your employees for their hard work. Acknowledge your employees that excel. Don’t just give them a pat on the back and cursory “good job.” Give them something tangible. Trophies are one way of doing this. Just as an athlete covets receiving an award for outstanding performance, so do your employees. Gather your workforce together periodically and publicly acknowledge those that excel at their work. Get creative. If you want to reward everyone for a well done team effort, bring a catered meal into the office and feed everyone. The time and money will have been wisely invested.

Photo Credit: http://www.abletrophies.com/products.php?category=Art_Glass_Awards&award=Acadia_Apple_Art_Glass_Award_-_Black

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