Managers measure what they can measure, rather than the things which make a difference.
Measuring employee performance optimally
Which gives more valuable feedback: facts, figures, slight variations in sickness taken and employee satisfaction surveys or confidence levels, mood and morale? Psychology as a tool in business is becoming more and more prominent as the effects of positive and negative psychology prove influential in the workplace. The influence of our psychology on our performance at work is becoming ever more apparent. Measuring our mindset and ensuring this is healthy can prove a preventative measure to work force woes decreasing sickness and low morale as an indirect consequence. It’s an entirely plausible notion that performance will take care of itself if you have happy employees willing and able to work to their full potential.
The methodology is there and it is possible to measure qualitative things such as behaviour. Some examples where it’s possible to improve people management using behaviour include;
- rather than performance based appraisals where you put pen to paper and come up with a long list of “stuff” you’ve done, getting a feel of how your input has made a difference to the company and conveying a sense of appreciation to help boost mood
- having a two-way relationship with employees able to feed back to employers as well as vice versa can boost satisfaction
- being approachable as a manager could well increase employee confidence
all simple steps that can help improve performance and productivity as a result of a happier workforce.
Managers tend to give feedback on ‘the numbers’ rather than ‘the behaviours”. Measuring output without looking at how to positively affect input can result in limited progress and stagnant results. By issuing feedback on behaviour and working on this element, surely managers will get to the route of the problem and positively treat the cause thus positively treating the effect. Issuing feedback at the end of this process is arguably too late, for example focussing on how many widgets sold or costs saved rather than the things they do ‘in the moment’ can impact results negatively further along the line.
Those in management often base reward and other incentives on output. Sometimes though, the carrot and the stick philosophy can be inappropriate; people enter into an industry or a job hopefully because they have an affinity for and enjoy it. By reverting back to this basic idea it’s then probable that unless the job is born out of necessity, many in work complete the tasks within their remit because of pride, a sense of fun, enjoyment and achievement. Measuring these tasks can make them dull and an effort to complete, setting up the perfect basis for resentment. By re-structuring reward models with different processes behind them, we can completely change someone’s attitude towards a task that they previously did not enjoy.
Managers do not measure health – and yet – if feeling ‘off’ or stressed or under the weather this can affect our performance considerably. If we feel exhausted, sick or agitated we’re not going to work effectively, the wellness of the body is affected by the workplace. Making sure that they do not corrupt each other is paramount; a negative attitude can be catching!
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Through teamwork so much more can be accomplished, the staggering power and impact human encouragement can bring along with a sense of belonging is immense and can turn a collection of individuals producing less than the sum of their parts into a team through this mystical component of human nature.