We all know that giving effective feedback is the key to getting your staff to consistently perform at a high level, but how many managers actually do this on a regular basis? As well as lifting performance there are a number of other benefits such as:
Staff know where they stand
By following up and providing feedback on a regular basis, staff know where they stand; they clearly know what is required to perform at the required level. If they slip below the required level, they know they will receive feedback so there is a consequence for poor performance.
My belief is that all motivated staff want to know where they stand, how they are doing, where they can improve, and they want this feedback on a regular and consistent basis.
Poor performers are exposed
One of the biggest frustrations to high-performing staff is when poor performers are not dealt with. This causes frustration because the high performers see the poor performer’s behaviours and attitude are not being dealt with and that they are being allowed to get away with it.
High performers can also be impacted negatively in two key ways; they see poor performers getting away with it and they have to pick up the slack. This is deeply demoralising and has the high performers starting to ask themselves “what’s the point?” They too then start to slacken off, and overall productivity falls.
Good quality, consistent feedback prevents this vicious cycle. Poor performers are dealt with so their behaviour and attitude doesn’t spread. High performers remain positive and motivated as they see things are dealt with. Poor performers know where they stand and also know that they are dealt with fairly if their performance doesn’t meet expectations.
It’s required by law
Firing a staff member can be difficult and time-consuming. It’s also a task most managers want to avoid because of the fear of confrontation and the legal ramifications in getting it wrong.
While managers can chafe under the number of steps they have to take in order to fire a staff member, it’s important they follow the process so the staff member understands clearly where they need to improve and gets a chance to do so. The law generally requires managers to go through a number of steps, starting with verbal warnings and finishing with written warnings.
This is exactly what coaching and giving quality feedback is all about. In fact, the coaching process kicks in immediately where there is an issue and identifies the area the staff member needs to work on.
I believe that coaching will reduce the number of poor performing staff as the issue is dealt with immediately. It will also lead to a reduced number of staff going through the warning process for the same reason.
In my experience, most poor performers who are receiving regular feedback to improve their performance do one of two things: they either improve (which is the result you want), or they leave. So, to avoid the challenge of going through the disciplinary process, managers need to spend more time coaching in the first instance, a process that is easier to do and has a better outcome.
Feedback lifts overall performance
Most staff want to do a good job; one of the primary reasons they don’t is an absence of feedback. If they are doing well, no-one acknowledges it; if they aren’t doing well, nothing happens either (unless there is a customer complaint or mystery shopper).
To ensure your team is motivated and heading in the right direction, regular feedback is required. Managers need to let their individual staff members know how they are going – whether good or bad.