Great Employees Are Made – Part Two

Correcting Behavior Quickly Shows Them The Ropes

We have all had someone we thought was going to be an exceptional employee, not work out. Last week, we talked about some of the pitfalls that happen in the hiring process, so now we will look at what happens after you hire them.

This week, I want to talk a little about what I call “correction”. Some people refer to this as discipline, but to me that sounds like punishment, to me a more effective way to think about it is correction, or correcting behavior.

I know for some you hate thinking about this. You know it is something you should be doing, but you hate doing it because it feels bad, so instead you ignore issues and hope they go away.

I have had clients tell me that that they should be able to figure it out. I could buy this, if they were figuring it out but they don’t unless you help them. I am also aware that over time, all the little things end up becoming big until the point the employers feels they have no choice but to get rid of them.

In my opinion, in all most cases it doesn’t have to get to that, if you act early and use a correction approach.

So, lets talk about why “correcting” is so important. Here are a couple of things to keep in mind:

When an employee comes into your business, they are not aware of the rules you have. And the concept of “common sense” would work if everyone ran their business the same way, but they don’t. In some workplaces, being a couple of minutes late is okay and isn’t even recognized in terms of performance. In could be the opposite in yours, but unless you tell them, how do they know? Their past experience could tell them it is okay. This is just an example, but letting new employees know quickly and with a nudge, is how they get to know your workplace and what you expect.

In line with this, requires you to be consistent in your messaging. If it is not okay to be a little late, then be consistent in the message. Don’t let some employees be late and others not. Don’t make it okay for them to be late today and then come down on them the next day when they are. While we are using tardiness, this goes for everything; taking breaks, meeting deadlines, achieving goals, answering phones, etc. Because consistency is important, be sure to make the rules that are critical to your business ones you can monitor and follow up on. Make the important, important and let the rest go.

A third thing is to address things in a timely manner. Back to the late example, don’t wait two or three days (or weeks) and let it fester in your mind. It will feel like you are giving discipline, whenever you are mad and worked up. If you are mad, then you are approaching the situation as discipline, but if for example an employee walks in late, all you need to do is take them aside and say something like, “I need you to be at work on time and it is up to you to do whatever it takes to do that, do you understand.” Initially those comments might seem a little nitpicky, but you are training them for the long game. As they get it, you will not longer have to be doing this.

If they don’t initially get it, then you will want to make sure your actions step up a bit. You might give them the information in writing, or you may enact some sort of punishment (like some time off). All of these things are meant to help them get the message to what success for them needs to look like. If you approach this from correction standpoint, if they are a fit, then they will get the message of how they can succeed. Unfortunately, sometimes we need a little more than a conversation to understand the severity of what someone is saying.

Correction, discipline, coaching…whatever you want to call it, is critical to the success of your employee. This should be happening right away during the probation period, so you can see how well they respond to these types of corrections. If they aren’t then maybe they aren’t a fit, but at least you will know right away.

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