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This is frightening! This is scary! Halloween?

I recently asked a client how his new hires were doing, and he responded, “They are doing well but are not very consistent. They take a long- time cleaning apartments, sometimes they don’t input information into the computer before they leave for the day, and they don’t always respond to telephone inquiries in a timely manner.” I commented, “It doesn’t sound very positive. How do you know they are doing well? What is well?” He laughed and said, “Great question, I don’t know.” I laughed and said, “Is it possible if you do not know what is well that the employee may also be in the dark?” Good point!

Managing performance requires setting clear expectations and outcomes to ensure desired results are achieved. Metrics that detail timeframes or number targets provide clarity and boundaries for your employees and should be included in job descriptions. To further highlight the importance of these results, the descriptions with desired outcomes can be shared in interviews, onboarding, training, and ongoing feedback.

Imagine if the leader had communicated the following:
– It takes 45 minutes to clean a one-bedroom apartment and 1.25 hours to clean a two-bedroom apartment. In a typical workday, I expect you to clean at least six apartments.
– All client information must be input into the computer system by the end of the business day.
– You must respond to telephone inquiries within 24 hours or next business day (if received on a Friday).

These measurement related expectations are clear, detailed, and professional. When discussing performance with an employee you now have an objective method to gauge performance and determine if the employee is “doing well.”

If the employee is achieving the performance expectations, celebrate the success and provide positive feedback. If the employee is taking two hours to clean an apartment they are not meeting company expectations. The leader can now address the performance gap in a manner that is direct, respectful, and timely. If the employee responds with “yes but” statements, i.e. yes, but the apartment was a disaster and filthy, the leader can discuss the importance of proactive communication to gain alignment about an unintended outcome.

When a leader provides feedback that does not include specific examples to support not “doing well”, or the expectations to resolve a situation, it may feel like a scene from a horror film. The employee may become defensive and the leader may become frustrated. This type of communication leaves an indelible impression and may have long term impact on the relationship.

Instead, follow the steps above and address performance quickly and specifically with objectivity and respect and turn a Trick into a Treat!