Friday, July 31, 2015

Managing Performance In Your Business

Recently there has been widespread reporting that large organisations are now promoting the idea that yearly or half-yearly performance reviews are best abandoned as not being useful.

It seems that the type of performance appraisal out of favour is one where employees are graded yearly by a manager who doesn't work with them directly and uses the exercise as an excuse to find find fault with the employee.  If anyone is still operating this way then stopping such a ritual is probably a good idea. It does seem a strange thing to ever have been doing. 

Unfortunately, outside of large corporate environments, many businesses have no procedure for managing performance effectively.

Instead of creating a stressful situation, you can make performance management an integral part of the way the business operates, keep productivity high and stop any activity that is not benefiting the business, right where it starts.  This is a chance to get the very best from the employees at work in the business.

That means building performance discussions and feedback into the everyday way the company operates. 

 Making the most of the potential within the workplace

Done well, it can be an ongoing part of your relationship with employees to track their progress, recognize their accomplishments, notice where they are struggling and provide some remedial assistance as it is needed, to encourage the best performance from those who report to you. This is a fabulous opportunity to develop a winning and supportive culture that generates excellent results. 

Good procedures – written – make life much easier for employees to do the right thing and know what that is.

For the business owner a documented procedure for managing performance makes life far easier and less stressful around managing employees.

Why manage performance

Improving operations allows the business to stay competitive and to ensure employees and managers are performing to the highest standards, opens the way to increased productivity, engaged employees who will go 'the extra mile', and ensure that employees want to stay with the company.

Employee turnover is disruptive and expensive. Ineffective employees are also expensive and can erode the profitability of the business.

Start with an appraisal of the business performance

Before you look at the performance of employees, it is perhaps worth considering the performance of the business as it exists right now. 

Current Position

Review the current position in your business. 

Are good systems in place already? 

Do they need updating? 
Do employees have the tools they need to do their work efficiently?
Are tasks and responsibilities for all roles documented? 
Is there a clear and specific reporting protocol that everyone understands exactly who they are supervising and to whom they report? 
Are employees undergoing regular training to develop their skills and allow the business to benefit from this improvement? 
Overall, are the operations being carried out more skillfully and with less disruption than the year before? 

Being able to track the progress of the business over time and identify issues that are causing problems, work needing to be redone, or work not being won, means optimizing the potential the business is capable of achieving. And that relates directly to the bottom line profit. 

Employees need clear instructions and boundaries of where their responsibility begins and ends.  They cannot be expected to read the mind of the owner of the business, or the manager. 

Needs of employees and business need to be met

Employees also need the right tools to carry out their role and meet their commitments to the job efficiently

Waiting around for a computer that has poor memory and a dismal signal on the internet is not helping them be productive. Neither is being forced to use old programs that cannot do what can be easily done now with modern applications in a fraction of the time. 

Your business needs to be efficient, to be consistent in delivery of your product or service to customers or clients. 

It needs whatever it needs to operate at peak efficiency and effectiveness including well trained employees - and managers and director whose own professional development is keeping pace with this very dynamic marketplace. 

Recognition of good employee performance 

While many companies are ready to pounce on poor performance, it is often the employees doing the right thing and excelling at their work who never get noticed at all. 

Adopting a management style set to catch people doing good - and acknowledging it - is a good start to improve morale and gain useful insight into what's happening in the business. 

Business owners often think that the only reward people want is money but that is shown over and over in studies, to not be the case. A financial bonus or pay rise may be indicated in some cases for continued good performance, but that's over and above the regular recognition and acknowledgment that people appreciate. We hate it when we are dismissed and overlooked. Just as we love it when someone notices that we go the extra mile, or have a willing attitude. Thank you goes a long way and this impresses not just the person involved but also the other employees who see they are working in a business that notices and respects them and their good work. 

How can you implement a system in your business to give recognition to good employees?

How well the business performing for the employees

It's all well and good when employees are doing great work and the business is booming. It's not so good when the benefits are all going out of the business and not improving their lot. 

In some business, owners splash about a lot of cash on personal items that the staff hear about while they are starved of the resources and tools they need in the business, and penny pinching is going on that keeps them from improving their own financial situation. 

That's not a good look and can build resentment and lead to bad attitudes and even misconduct. 

Steps to managing performance 

You want your business to operate like the best.  Those are the businesses that are constantly improving their operations to stay competitive in their industry. Employees and managers need to be performing to a high standard for that to happen.

High performance in business means benefits such as:

  • increased productivity
  • engaged and committed employees
  • good employees are retained
  • less wasted cost from staff turnover
Employees performing poorly can result affect the business in many ways, including leading to unhappy customers or clients, decreased productivity, high turnover and even demotivating other employees. 

Serious misconduct is even worse and can be seen when an employee causes serious risk to the health and safety of another person or to the reputation or profits of their employer's business or deliberately behaves in a way that's inconsistent with continuing their employment.
Examples of serious misconduct include:
  • theft
  • fraud
  • assault
  • being drunk at work
  • refusing to carry out work duties.

  1. Create a written procedure for how you will be managing employee performance 
  2. Work out the business goals for the year ahead 
  3. Think about individual performance goals for each employee that will help your business reach its goals.
  4. Prepare a template to use for performance meetings so that you can record the points you want to speak about. 
  5. Engage with each employee to let them know about the new process and to learn more about their personal goals for their job and ensure they are relevant to their job and realistic.
  6. Record these once  you have both agreed upon them and worked through any support you need to provide to help them reach these goals. Training, would be one example. 
  7. Set some realistic time frames for these goals to be achieved. 

Final thoughts 

When you see your role as facilitating good performance, the stress goes out of the process. Suddenly you are all on 'the same side' and when you are all aligned towards a common purpose, magic can happen. 

It helps to have a clear vision articulated that employees can buy into. 

Like to discuss your business? Contact Lindy Asimus on 0403 365 855 or use the contact form on this page. Lindy Asimus Business Coaching Subscribe to Actionbites Blog

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Sending Mass Emails BCC In Linkedin

There are many mistakes to be made with Linkedin but one of my pet hates would be strangers asking for recommendations from people they don't know, have made no effort to connect with in a human way and with whom they've never worked!

Linkedin Is For Professional Recommendations For People Whose Work You Know

If you get a request like that - that's a good reason to cut them off your contact list.

Strangers do not have experience of working with someone. Therefor they have nothing to recommend.

Writing recommendations that are not valid diminishes you and your reputation. It renders every real recommendation you make suspect.

And it erodes the value of Linkedin as a source of reliable information.

Bad Habits On Linkedin - Mistaking Connections For Spam Targets

Likewise, if you are being sent spam from anyone on your contact list. It is particularly irksome when it is from someone trying to sell you a service which YOU ALSO OFFER!

What that tells me when I get this kind of spam from marketing and social media people is

  1. They don't target their messages to be relevant and respectful to the receiver
  2. They fail to understand the most basic aspect of what social media and online marketing is  
  3. They do not conduct themselves in a professional manner and 
  4. They don't care! 

They are also likely to be the people who will connect on Linkedin and think that means it is okay to put you on their mailing list without permission!!

How To Send Messages To A Lot Of People At Once On Linkedin - The Right Way

The next issue may be partly Linkedin's fault.  Once upon a time you could send messages to several people as a BCC (blind copy).  That option is not available now in the Inbox section. You need to send emails to multiple people now via the Connections window.  What's good about that is you can target your message to go to groups of people for whom the message is relevant (say a local event which they may have an interest in. NOT just an event that you have an interest in them attending!).

Before you send any mass mailing on Linkedin ask yourself -  is this message of value to the recipient and can it undermine my connection with this person if I send this? 

Sending Messages From The Inbox - Keep It To Just One Person Or Intros
Sending to multiple people from a message you create from your inbox means that all on the list have their contact details exposed. That looks bad and is not something that people want or expect to happen. It's not professional conduct and has no redeeming value. Don't do it.

The time you might do it is if you are introducing two contacts, one to the other. In that case, it makes sense. It will never make sense to send a mass mailing that way!

So how do you send a clean message to a group of people on Linkedin? This video shows you how.

Remember UNCHECK the box that allows everyone to see the contact details! 

Linkedin, like most social media platforms changes the way that functions operate from time to time. If what you've been able to do in the past (like send bcc from your inbox) suddenly changes, there is a good chance that the function will still be available but a different way or from a different angle.

Consider this the internet's way of keeping our mind agile and learning new things!

The quality of Linkedin as a professional network is a reflection of the actions of the users. Do be a good Linkedin connection for your people. Not a pest.

Related post:

Why you should join Linkedin and what to do next

Like to discuss your business? Contact Lindy Asimus on 0403 365 855 or use the contact form on this page. Lindy Asimus Business Coaching Subscribe to Actionbites Blog