As a big believer in positive reinforcement and meaningful feedback, AND a new puppy owner, I am learning a lot from our puppy potty training. Early on, when Bella went potty outside, it was a BIG deal and was treated as such! My boys would run around clapping and cheering for her, excitedly grab the pooper scooper and get busy tearing into the grass to pick it up. They would even stumble over each other to give her a treat. There was no room for miscommunication – she had done a GOOD thing and she knew it!
Fast forward a month and the scenario looks more like this, “Hey Mom. Bella just pooped, can you bring her inside and can you pick it up this time? It smells and we are trying to shoot some hoops out here.” No clapping. No cheering. Certainly no excitement.
How do you think that feels for Bella? Confusing? Frustrating? Does she feel as appreciated and recognized as she did in the beginning? Does she even KNOW she did something good? Is she meeting expectations? Does she have anyway (two words) to judge her performance?
One of the worst feelings that employees can have about their supervisor is that “He has no idea what I do every day” or “She doesn’t even seem to know I’m here!” Not noticing or failing to give feedback is one of the deadliest sins of management and if you don’t have a system in place for providing consistent feedback it will not happen.
Consider this fact: 80% of managers think money is the #1 way to retain good people….Yyet 79% of employees quit their job because they felt un-appreciated. Feedback is widely underrated and the mistake of not providing feedback and making your employees feel appreciated is extremely expensive. So, how do you avoid this costly mistake? You need a plan to make it consistent AND effective.
At The Center for Sales Strategy, we believe there are 8 attributes that make performance feedback effective. While all are important, right now I am focusing on being CONSISTENT. Often, as managers, we wait for someone to go way above and beyond our expectations before we provide some feedback or recognition. While celebrating success is important, if this is the only type of feedback you are providing, it’s not enough. There is a big difference between celebrating and noticing. Celebrating happens (and SHOULD happen) occasionally. Noticing, which is what positive feedback essentially is, should happen CONSTANTLY. People need consistent praise to know they are on the right track and that they are MEETING expectations – not just exceeding. Inconsistency in your feedback causes unnecessary stress and frustration. Remember, people will work longer for a bad manager than for an inconsistent manager. If your praise and expectations are random, impulsive and inconsistent, you will need a boatload of money to help you retain your top talent.
How consistent does it need to be? If you want to DEVELOP your people, KEEP your people and BEAT your numbers the answer is extremely consistent.
Back to Bella and the boys, I have two management plans in action: Consistent praise for Bella is the first priority. I am consistently praising her(delete extra space after her) … every time. I want her to KNOW she is a good girl and I want her to continue to “perform.” Action plan two is for the boys who would rather shoot baskets than potty train… that action plan is multi-tiered and a whole other story!
To learn more about the attributes which make performance feedback effective download.
The third blog in this series is going to be about would be about the important of praise, feedback and recognition –and how consistency is key. (Does this header appear in the document? If it does it needs changing, if not fuhgedaboudit)