Wednesday, October 03, 2007

An Employee Covenant

Motivating employees to step-up their job performance is often one of the most challenging things for a small business owner. It no longer is enough to provide a good work environment and a fair compensation package. This is happening for a variety of issues including education social influences.

Many employees today have sense of entitlement. They feel by simply showing up they are entitled to a paycheck. We see it in retail and service businesses. Common courtesies once understood and practiced are no longer.

Here a couple of examples. On a recent trip to a fast food establishment there were a group of employees standing in the parking lot. Apparently they were on a break. Never the less, imagine the surprise to hearing them shouting expletives and showing obscene gestures to bypassing cars. As a further shock, one of them was the manager on duty.

On another occasion, a group of business associates were dining in a restaurant. One in the group asked for a drink refill. The waitress flippantly said, “When I get around to it.” Two things you should know. The individual who had made the request was paying the bill and we were the only group in the restaurant. Needless to say the gratuity became non-existent.

These examples are from the food service industry. However, this problem exists in all industries whether it is food service, retail or the corporate environment.

Now the question becomes how do we motivate our employees to perform and not just meet but exceed expectations.

One very good way is through the use of a personal covenant. It works like this. During employee reviews (and if your not having these as least every six-months now is the time to start) you provide the employee with a form with “I promise to…” written across the top,

During the review you explain to the employee that they are to write on this form the things they will do in fulfilling their position with your company. It can include everything from showing up on-time, a time-line for completing assigned tasks, reaching sales goals, completing projects on time and anything which relates to their job performance.

Ask them to spend time and complete the form during the review. Discuss their list and set quantitative and measurable goals. Then you and they sign it. This form becomes an important tool in future employee reviews.

At the future review you now have a measuring stick, which the employee created, to measure job performance. You should find the employee feels much more accountable based on the list they created. Now they are being judged on what they said they would do, not what you said they should.

This process allows for the employee to feel they are an essential part of your company. It helps them to understand the importance of their doing their job correctly and in a timely manner. You should see a boost in employee morale and job performance by using this system.

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