Establishing clear consequences for failure complete a desired task or responsibility starts with clear communications. By Gary Shotton #000315
Text Blog —
No Consequences (Employee Motivation)
by Gary Shotton
Today, the topic is “No consequences”. I’m going to discuss motivations available to employers for holding employees accountable, and motivating them for greater production and a positive work environment. What are your policies, for failing to complete a task and motivational techniques for greater production?
Employee discipline is not necessarily my strong suit. Many of the topics I speak about I feel confident in because I have had a measure of success…, but this is not one of them. I struggle with this and consequently we struggle as a company. And so, maybe it would be best if I used my experience raising children as a way to share some of the lessons I’ve learned.
My children are adults, some of them having been married 20 years. When they were teenagers, we gave them a lot of freedom. We chose guidelines rather than hard and fast rules. However, we did have consequences for character issues that needed to be corrected. For example If they didn’t have all of their work done on time they might need to give up TV time, or some other privilege. There was usually some kind of consequences that they clearly understood if they didn’t fulfill their obligations. We had very few rules in our household. I found out, early on, that if I had a list of rules and exacting consequences for every rule broken it usually fell apart pretty soon. There’s always something you won’t think about. So I usually left the rules off, I just made sure they clearly understood that there would be some consequences if they didn’t fulfill their obligations.
Employees not children
Now we are not dealing with children at work. Sometimes you might think that because the way some people behave and you might be tempted to treat them in the manner they are acting, but as soon as you start dealing with your workforce as if they’re small children, you’re gonna find another big problem. I think you’ll find it counter productive. For example, in a previous business I had between 50 and 75 regularly, and we would try to make clear the expectations being on time for the shift. I’m not one to make a long list, if you are late, that’s not a big problem unless your work suffers. I don’t like to create an environment where we’re like the police and we’re documenting, this is the third, fourth, fifth time you’re late,and after the sixth time you’re late, then you’re disciplined.
We should clearly let our expectations be known through various means. Not to many rules but I I think it’s nice to have a target everyone clearly understands because they know the importance of their job and the needs of the company to fulfill their role.. We want people to enjoy their work, accomplish the tasks on time, under budget, and then go home with a degree of success for the day. Treat employees like an adult and you will produce a responsible employee that acts like an adult.
Now, in the United States when we talk about disciplining people, we do have to keep in mind there are some legal aspects to consider. If I was to just randomly fire someone with no reason at all, then I would probably be at risk of that person claiming discrimination. However, we do try to be clear and a little more rigid for safety concerns , they must be safe or there would be some consequences, because that involves their wellbeing and others.
The other area we are a little more clear with is substandard workmanship. If someone is repeatedly making parts that get scrapped, or not performing to the expectation at their pay, yes, there will be something that we’re going to discuss and make adjustments.
I’m an openly Christian boss, an owner, and leader, and any time that we have a public meeting, I make it clear that though I personally happen to have certain beliefs I would never give someone an advantage, pay increase, or advancement because they happen to agree with my Christian beliefs. In fact, we are probably harder on those that agree with us, we want to make sure that we’re not being unfair favoring someone because of their beliefs.
Best practices… Expectations not rules
Now, we also have developed some best practices through the years. I did it some in my previous business, a trucking company, that these best practices that concerned time off from work. In other words, if someone just randomly didn’t show up for work and they knew the expectations, of course the next day I could just fire them and say well you didn’t call me yesterday, so you’re fired. Well, we’re not quite that hard but it isn’t out of line to say when they show up the next day, “You know, we weren’t here yesterday and you didn’t let me know that you’re not gonna be here yesterday. So maybe I don’t need you today and so just go ahead and take this day off and report tomorrow.” Now we’re kind of balancing the playing field here a little bit. If you’re going to show disrespect to me by not showing up without calling in or letting me know, then I’m going to respond in a way that lets you know , you better think about your privilege to work here. Any day I could say I don’t need you. I didn’t actually fire you, and if you do that enough that person will probably get the hint.
Company wide incentives build teamwork.
We also try to encourage hard work and best practices through a bonus program. Currently, we have a company wide production bonus system, based on total sales. This gets everyone involved in teamwork. Recently we had a company wide meeting explaining our bonus system. Two of our senior workers caught the vision and stood up in the middle of the meeting and gave a little positive and corrective motivational speeches that really supported everything we were trying to say. It was a very powerful speech. Their bonus was dependent upon everyone carrying their weight… they weren’t going to sit idly by while someone messed up their bonus. Everything management had just said were powerfully reinforced by the workers.They lead from the middle of the pack and encourage those that were not pulling their weight, because they all wanted to get to that bonus. Get your employees encouraging each other through an incentive program and your role as chief motivator will get a lot easier .
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