Volume 46, Issue 1 - January-February 2011

Buyer’sBlock

In Review
The Best Motivational Tool For Your Employees
by Paul Bieber

So what is the best motivational tool a supervisor can offer his employees?

Give a holiday bonus … wrong.

Give everyone imprinted T-shirts … wrong.

Teach your crew to be better employees so they enjoy their jobs and have the potential to earn more money … this is the one. It is called “the employee review” and is the single most important hour you can spend with the people in your company.

"Simply stating that an employee needs to improve, without setting the roadmap to get there, hinders the chances of improvement."

First, let’s decide what an employee review isn’t.

• It is not a vehicle to discuss an employee’s mistake made months ago.

• It is not to be used to give an employee their annual salary review. The only information the employee will take home is “how much money,” and the important parts of the conversation, how to improve, will be totally lost.

• It is not a lecture by the supervisor. In fact, it should be 60/40, with the employee doing the majority of the speaking.

• It should not be an event that is feared by the employee, nor should it be fluffed-off by the supervisor.

The employee review, simply, is a motivational tool to help an employee and the supervisor improve their work relationship, and a framework for the employee to grow in their job, becoming more productive for the company.

Review Your Style
The style you use doesn’t matter, as long as it emphasizes how a person can grow. You should have standardized categories, and any person who earns a sub-standard grade must have a program prepared by the supervisor to improve the employee’s work effort. Simply stating that an employee needs to improve, without setting the roadmap to get there, hinders the chances of improvement.

When the employee earns a high mark, thank him, and ask him to teach others. Create a mentor relationship with another employee who may need his advice. This is one of the highest compliments your can give.

To prepare, the supervisor needs to really look at the whole year. Comment on the great things that were done as well as the areas needing improvement. If an employee improves in two or three areas, earning positive feedback from their supervisor, they grow and so does the company. You should go over the review with each supervisor before they do the face-to-face with the employee.

Your primary goal is to set an environment where the reviews are looked forward to, not a “do I have to do it” type event. Train your supervisors to be supportive and encouraging. If they prepare pathways for an employee’s success, you will find many people will take that path.

Prevent Problems with Communication
Many companies feel that having a strong employee review system will cover their butts from legal problems. Yes, this is true. But this should be the least important reason to do a review. Communications with your employees and your supervisors prevents problems from growing into legal situations. It allows senior management or owners to really see and hear what is going on in their company.

Employee reviews are a component of the financial review, given to all employees after the close of your fiscal year, while employee reviews are generally done on the employee’s anniversary. If you prefer to bunch them together, have them no closer than 90 days to the end of your fiscal year.

Author’s Note: In 2011 we are shifting the emphasis of this column to a question-and-answer format. Please send your questions about business issues to paulbaseball@msn.com, call me at 603/242-3521, or fax to 603/242-3527. I don’t have all the answers, but I will research your question with experts and get the answers. All questions will be verified with the writer, so please include your contact information. Your name will be withheld from being published in the article at your request, but
I can’t accept anonymous questions.

Paul Bieber has 30 years in the glass industry, including 21 years as the executive vice president of Floral Glass in Hauppauge, N.Y., from which he retired in 2005. Mr. Bieber’s opinions are solely his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of this magazine.


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