Optimizing Employee Performance
Race car drivers do it all the time! Think about how the Crew Chief coordinates the team to shave just a second off the time it takes to change the tires, or add the fuel, or perform a repair. We are all being asked to do more with less. How do we accomplish this impossible task? It all comes down to, “How do you eat an elephant… one bite at a time.”
Let’s try this method: Expect, Encourage, Enforce, Enlighten
Employees want to know what they should be doing. It is important that we set expectations. Setting expectations can be tricky. You need to set realistic, and achievable goals, with a stretch built in to get progress and movement in the company. If you fail to set expectations, people will live up to them and you won’t be happy with the result. If you are new to the race track and don’t have any history with the new course (process), start measuring performance to set a benchmark and then increase that benchmark over time by a percentage or a number. Communicate those expectations clearly, often, and face to face. It is important to explain the “why” of these expectations. The need to know “why” has not changed in us since we were toddlers exploring and learning about our world around us. Everyone wants to know why. If you have experienced setbacks during this step, more than likely, the “why” of the reason behind the expectation was not explained clearly or understood completely by the employee. Earn their buy in! Do it yourself! Show your staff that it can be!
Remember the first time you drove a car? The first time you parallel parked? Who was there to encourage you to use the brake and gas pedal just right, turn the wheel a certain way? Today, those are basic almost automatic skills you have learned, but it took someone else in the car to help you on your way. We need to encourage and provide feedback to our staff continuously. When you encourage someone, you are giving them personal attention which we all deep down need and crave, but often are too proud to admit it. Encouragement reinforces the expectations and reminds everyone of the goal. It gives an opportunity for you to see progress and give praise for those little steps along the way. If you look at the reasons why many employees become disenchanted with a company/position, it’s because they have lost their enthusiasm for achievement. Regular encouragement and public recognition of what the individual has accomplished drives them further towards their goals.
We all have to live by the rules of the road. If we do not enforce the rules consistently, what prevents everyone else from breaking the rules as well? Without enforcement, consistently and evenly, we end up with employee behavioral issues, resentment and unprofessional leaders pitted against one another. Being the police officer is a difficult but important hat that must be worn or the result is mayhem. How do you enforce the rules? There needs to be penalties for failure to follow the rules. Communicating the rules and the penalties and enforcing them consistently is the key. If you let one person get away with not following the rules, and enforce the rules on others, how do you keep the respect for leadership and motivation in your team? Respect and motivation will be the first to leave your team. How do you successfully lead when your team is no longer behind you, “buying in”? No one to change the tires. No one to refill the fuel.
We have up to this point, set our expectations, we have encouraged our team to meet their goals, we have provided the feedback and enforced the rules to achieving the goals, now is the time to communicate the results and celebrate the big victory! Just like the race car driver spins the car’s wheels and takes the winning lap with the checker flag out the window looking at the crowds in all their excitement, you need to do the same with your team when they accomplish their goals. Show them how it feels and celebrate what success is all about. Give out awards, have recognition lunches, set aside your time to be with those being recognized. How someone likes to celebrate and be motivated varies from person to person, how is it for your employees? Is it the checkered flag? Is it the spinning of the wheels? Is it pouring the drink over their head and acting goofy? What is it? Appeal to them and show them what success feels like so they have the drive to win all their future races.
What is the next step? You start all over…You set new expectations and the race goes on!
About State Collection Service, Inc.
Since 1949, State Collection Service has provided quality collection service to countless healthcare organizations.
Through experience and innovation, State Collection Service has grown to become a tremendously credible and nationally-recognized collection agency offering services from pre-registration to bad debt. It is upon the basis of ethical behavior and a dedication to integrity that each State Collection Service employee works to uphold the company’s vision – Partnerships for a Lifetime.
*This article first appeared in “A State Collection Service, Inc. Newsletter Volume 21, Issue 2, Second Quarter 2015”