Making individual employee performance issues discussable

Usually, organisations collectively understand what constitutes effective and ineffective performance. However, it has not been specified in a form that makes it safe for managers to confront poor performance and recognise and praise effective performance. This leads to underperformance and poor morale, as ineffective behaviour is seen but not tackled.

Critical incidence interviews with staff and management focus on events that either add or decrease value and enable those behaviours that really make the difference in a role to stand out. Behaviours are then clustered into groups that list effective and ineffective action. If the competencies are issued to the relevant staff, changes in behaviour take place quite rapidly, as people realise that their behaviour is being monitored against a prescribed list of productive and unproductive activities. Performance issues are depersonalised through this process, as the focus shifts from “good” and “bad” behaviour to effectiveness.

Managers need to ask themselves whether or not effective behaviour is actually well understood. What is obvious to one person is often far from clear to another.

It is people’s behaviour in the workplace that makes the difference between success and failure. All the other resources (capital, buildings, equipment, and know-how) in an organisation are only made useful through what people do.

Do you want to make sure your employees’ behaviour is as effective as possible? Ask yourself these questions:

  • Are the things that constitute effective behaviour clearly specified and communicated?
  • Are the top performers recognised for what they do?
  • Is ineffective behaviour confronted so that it can be replaced by productive action?
  • When something great happens, is it analysed so that the behaviour that led to the result can be replicated?