Out of all the management approaches which contribute to company morale it seems to me that dealing with behaviors which run counter to what we want done is the most significant.
When any member of an organization doesn’t do what they are expected to do or conversely performs an action that is against the company culture management’s reaction is critical.
Of course, first, the management team needs to set clear and specific expectations.
I also believe they are not ‘real’ unless they are written.
Often, I hear managers exclaim, “Why didn’t he just use his common sense?”
First of all, “Common Sense” I believe, can be described as “What I think should have been done.”
We are all delightfully different. Common Sense therefore is not common.
Secondly, if it isn’t written we have a very difficult time ascertaining what it is we ‘commonly’ agree about.
The first part of creating a company culture where most of us behave in the ways to which we have agreed is to have clearly stated and written expectations. These expectations need to be ‘Crystal Clear’.
Policy manuals and employee handbooks are an excellent start as well as written management memos, which should be collected and logged in a location accessible to all.
But often management fails to respond when an associate doesn’t comply with expectations. The signal that is sent is that “they didn’t mean it when they said it was important.”
Many times, an employee is chronically tardy, and the management response is to yell at them.
The lesson learned is that the employee can stand the temporary pain of a verbal ‘chewing out” and return to the behavior because the ‘consequence of non-compliance is not significant enough to change the behavior.
I like the five-step to behavior modification. This method is aimed at helping the employee to stay with the company and is not attempt only to get rid of ‘the bad ones.
- A casual conversation regarding the need to ‘show up on time for
- A second casual conversation repeating concerning the fact that the issue is continuing.
- A formal meeting in the supervisor’s office with a written statement clearly defining the problem and the possible termination if there is no compliance. The employee signs both copies and keeps one.
- A second formal meeting. Repeating the elements of the first formal meeting.
- A final formal meeting with an exit interview and termination.