This article has been submitted by Peter Lynn and Partners
Know Your People:
Good managers know what is going on in the lives of their employees. If the employee is having a tough time personally, it may impact on their work performance and you should acknowledge the difficulty while holding them accountable. As an employer you are required to show reasonableness and consistency, something which may not always be easy to achieve. Where there is a need to begin disciplinary processes care should be taken to ensure that all issues have been handled sensitively, transparently and independently where possible.
You need to acknowledge that a person who does not reply to emails outside of working hours or someone who finishes at 5pm each day but gets his or her job done is not demonstrating a lack of commitment. With a multitude of different challenges and opportunities now available to achieve a work life balance, such as remote working, flexible hours and job share, it is prudent for the modern employer to remain open minded to requests from employees, which must, in any event, be reasonably considered by law.
Give Clear Direction:
This starts with a clear Vision/Mission/Values statement from top leadership. If that is lacking then you should create these statements for your department. Individual and department objectives can then be linked to the vision/mission and employees will understand why they are being asked to do what they are. Without this type of clear direction it becomes impossible to set targets but crucially it also becomes difficult to initiate any form of performance management should it become necessary.
Hold People Accountable:
It’s been said, “you get what you measure.” This may mean having some difficult discussions with employees who aren’t making the grade, but from an engagement and retention perspective, your best employees will see that their performance matters. Nothing demotivates more than having poor performing employees “freeload.” This makes the job of those that do perform more difficult and needs to be addressed.
Reward Your People:
When employees do well, reward them but remember, this doesn’t have to be cash. For many people, cash has limited motivational impact so consider things like public recognition, time off, gift certificates and the like. For rewards to be truly meaningful it should demonstrate the fact that you know your people and what motivates them. Care should however be taken to ensure that these types of rewards do not then become customary and could potentially be viewed as additional implied terms in the contract. It’s a fine line that can be difficult to tread!