It is in our nature as mere humans to justify ourselves. I needed that Ipad for my business. I know we need to meet each week, it’s just that I am underwater in day to day tasks. As small business owners, we try to make ourselves feel bigger by putting down the big corporations, and emitting the battle cry that “we are indeed different”.
I certainly hope so. I pray this is the truth, not just reducing our own cognitive dissonance. Why? Because I am so disheartened by what I heard today regarding a big company, that it makes me want to be sure to be different.
How Not To Communicate to Employees
Here is the situation.
A big company had a pretty rough year financially last year. I know….lot’s of companies are struggling. They didn’t meet many goals and objectives. This company had a difficult year and spoke all year about performance being off. They had an annual sales meeting and recommitted their team to new heights in the coming fiscal year. We can do better…..we have a great team….you all can do it!
Then two weeks after this rah rah speech, and about 4 weeks into the new fiscal year, the managers are just getting their quotas and compensation plans for the new year. The corporate administration was late in delivering the information. And by the way, everyone’s targeted compensation is planned to go down from last year a nice little chunk. What this means is that if you hit plan this year, you will make less money than you made if you hit plan last year.
This is not really my issue though. Companies are struggling and have to make difficult decisions. I figure a lower targeted compensation is better than lay-offs. No, the issue I have has to do with what they tasked their managers to do for performance evaluations. They told the managers that reviews need to be in within two weeks. “Oh, and by the way, we don’t want you to take the time to sit down with all of your sales team and discuss their reviews with them in person. That will take you too much time. Just call them on the phone and tell them what they got. And don’t forget to inform them that their targeted compensation will be lower next year across the board.”
Research has shown that compensation is not the sole measurement of employee satisfaction. I believe that their are still many people out there that want to do a good job. Hopefully, to glorify God. But, even if it is because they are committed to their company or their boss, doing a good job is beneficial for everyone. But remember, we are human. We want and need to be appreciated. Whether we say it out loud or not.
And even if we aren’t doing a good job, we hope someone cares enough to show us where we aren’t performing and to provide insight and direction on improvement.
To just finish a tough year and have your boss give you a cursory 20 minute call to tell you that you underperformed, or even met expectations, and then move on to what is next, is disheartening. For some, even scary. Many spend 8-10 hours a day at work. This is almost one third of their life. And for that they get 20 minutes per year in performance feedback.
As a corporate employee, we may not have a choice. We have to work within the structure outlined.
Provide Employee Performance Feedback: You Have A Choice
You are a small business owner though. You have a choice.
Do your employees feel like you truly know what they do each day? Do you take the time to informally discuss their performance and provide encouragement and feedback regularly? Do you at least once a year give them a formal review? Not necessarily a job audit…more of a mutual discussion of goals and achievement. This is an opportunity to sow into your employees. Help them to create personal development plans. Provide objective insight into their strengths and weaknesses. Learn about their career goals.
It is good business to do this. It is respectful. And mostly, Jesus commands us to do this. He says we are to treat others as we would want to be treated. Isn’t that how you would want to be treated?
If you are an employer, or an employee, I would love to hear your thoughts. Do you care if someone is invested in your professional performance and development? Do you want feedback? Do you want someone to take the time to share with you their thoughts on your performance and work with you on continuous improvement?