Uh, Thanks for Vacuuming the Broom Closet…. Not! – Tips for Managing Employee Expectations and Motivation

Sometimes employees believe that they are taking initiative and being helpful by doing a little ‘something extra’. Their initiative and intentions are great! However, if the extra thing is something that doesn’t make any difference to you or your business, the employee can feel unappreciated when no one causes a fuss.

If an employee isn’t performing in the way they should - you may ask yourself if they know what is expected. Employers think this should be obvious or common sense. Unfortunately, common sense isn’t common. That is unless your employees grew up in the same neighborhood as you, were born in the same year, in the same birth order, with the same parents as role models, etc., etc..

In my coaching and consulting work, I often help leaders who struggle to address employee performance issues.

In order to account for the multiple variables involved, I’ve developed the Hartman Performance Diamond.  It is a model that pulls together the key aspects of employee performance management into one simple graphic, allowing you to examine the reasons behind performance issues and develop appropriate approaches to solving the issues.

We start things at the top with the ‘Expectation Clarity’ smaller diamond within the larger diamond. The first thing you want to verify is that you’ve been clear about your expectations.

Bottom line: just because you said it didn’t mean it clicked. Maybe you gave your employee instructions or gave a demonstration. Or worse, the expectations were buried in page 52 of the Employee Handbook given on Day 1. How do you know he truly understood?  Maybe he didn’t have the context to process it. Or perhaps he heard from a co-worker “ah, we don’t do it that way”…..etc.  

He might have been led astray by some other factor.  Thus misdirecting his initiative and leading to potential upset that he is working so hard and not getting recognized for his efforts, which can in turn lead to further issues with motivation.   

Solution: You need to set expectations about everything from dress code, job duties, how to track hours worked, how to request time off, how to treat co-workers and what’s okay and not okay to discuss with customers.  Those expectations can be made even clearer if you paint the picture of how each expectation impacts the business success.   Then, ask the employee to explain his understanding so you can make sure your message was clear.Often, fully discussing expectations is all that is needed to improve employee performance.

Want the complete picture? Check out this video to learn about the entire Hartman Performance Diamond.