7 Steps to Raise Employee Performance

7 Steps to Raise Employee Performance

You’ve gone through the time and expense of hiring a new employee, but you are not guaranteed the employee you hired will be the highly productive worker you hope for.

When employee performance problems arise, you need to deal with them through specific employee improvement conversations. Here are seven steps for conducting effective performance improvement conversations:

1. Start the conversation by stating something the employee does well. This will help the employee be more open to hearing about where improvement is needed.

2. Describe the problem (performance issue) clearly and in a non-threatening way. Talk about the specific behavior, and do not discuss personality traits. Discuss what the person did, not who the person is. Always remain positive, explaining that you will be an active partner in correcting the situation.

3. Ask the employee to help in solving the problem. Discuss alternative solutions and mutually agree on actions to be taken. Try to use the employee’s solution where possible. When the employee’s ideas are part of the solution, he/she is more committed to making it work.

4. Provide resources to help the employee improve. In some instances, there’s an easy remedy to the performance issue. Possibly a better process/procedure is needed to help the employee become more efficient. Alternatively, the employee may need some additional training or a class to develop a certain skill.

5. Set a specific action plan with follow up dates. Ask questions to make sure the employee understands what is expected. Then develop an action plan that specifies performance expectations and the date for completion. (E.g. the first draft of the PowerPoint presentation should be completed in one week.) Have checkpoints along the way so there’s an opportunity for changing course if necessary.

6. End on a positive note. It is important to communicate to the employee that you are confident he/she can solve this problem and make a positive contribution to the organization.

7. Follow up and recognize improvement. Remember to hold the follow up meetings when scheduled. Recognize any improvement and continue to coach the person doing the right things. If improvement has not occurred, move to the disciplinary process.

Although these steps cannot ensure improved performance, they are a start in the process.
Improving employee performance is a win-win for everyone.

The employee wins by learning what is needed to enhance performance, thereby changing behavior and becoming a more productive member of the organization.

The manager wins by counseling a person to achieve desired behavior, thereby resulting in a more productive and satisfied employee.

Lastly, the organization wins by retaining motivated employees who understand their role and the roles of others in contributing to the goals, culture, and success of the organization.

10 Steps to Profit from Process Improvement

10 Steps to Profit from Process Improvement

Anyone interested in growth? Having your employee’s feel important and involved in decision making for minimal expense and maximum value?

Make the investment in a process improvement team and see how well this will work for you.
A process improvement team (PIT) is a group of workers who get together on a regular basis to discuss how to make your business processes better.

The concept is that they take on one process at a time and come up with a way to make that process incrementally better than it currently is. They do this again and again, getting each process a little better each time.

This process improvement works for small transportation companies of two or three people as well as for large fortune 500 type organizations.

These 10 steps will lead to effective PIT meetings, with positive results:

1.Keep the meetings to no more than three employees and another management leader (total of five including you) and limit the meeting to one hour or less.

2.Include your entire group. Leave no one out of the process discussions.

3.With five employees per meeting, topics are discussed in six consecutive meetings. Don’t change topics mid stream. Stay focused.

4.Hold these meetings every two weeks, perhaps over a lunch period. You’ll have six meetings per quarter.

5.Solicit ideas from your entire staff before the beginning of each quarter as to what topics/process may need review.

6.Prior to your first meeting, you as the leader, choose three to four topics for the discussion period, rating each topic in order of importance. Leave the remaining topics for the next group. Do not forget anyone’s topic submitted or you will lose participation. If a certain topic doesn’t require review by the team, advise the employee who submitted the idea and share the reasons why review isn’t necessary.

7.Once you have your core topics, they are discussed in each meeting so all employees have input to include suggestions for fine tuning processes, if any is required.

8.Review the final outcome and group decisions of your meetings content.

9.Make necessary revisions or changes to procedures, functions or systems, notifying your employees as soon as the revisions are complete.

10.Supply your entire group with the necessary feedback from each meeting. Send them an e-mail with the meeting minutes. Praise those who develop a “fix” for you. Keep your staff informed.

By putting aside an hour every two weeks, PIT meetings can be exceptionally beneficial to managers and to your business.

If you are already using a process improvement method, we’d love to hear about it. Give me a call and tell me how you do it. Need some help with process improvement? Give me a call at 888-625-1139 and tell me your needs.

2018 TIA Conference Retrospective

2018 TIA Conference Retrospective

Reflecting on this past week’s TIA Convention in Palm Desert, I was reminded of the collective energy and genius that is present in our industry. From the solid structure of educational offerings to the powerful one on one insights over meals (beverages), the benefit to this gathering is immense. Buoyed by strong 2017 revenue and even stronger Q1 numbers, opportunity and excitement led the way.

With the added revenue and strong margins and profit, leaders are looking to make strategic investments in their organizations to capitalize on these growth opportunities. By clearly defining long term plans and the inherent priorities over the next few months, companies can capture the value that lies ahead.

Technology Perspectives

Data, in both capture and expression, is too valuable in today’s environment to be left wilting on the vine. Between TMS providers, information integrators, freight payment options and marketing providers, there are many ways to best utilize your internal data in conjunction with industry data to give your front line the power to succeed. Define what you are looking to achieve (not just for today, but for a longer horizon) and review options that will move you in that direction of Achievement. As new technology solutions (and their inherent problems) are created, be sure to ask questions with the context of your company to best understand the benefits and to avoid unnecessary exposure.

People Perspectives

People in structure and development are the machines of your operational expansion. You must be mindful of the way they are trained, organized, compensated and developed to ensure maximization of their long term productivity in the organization. They need to be given the proper tools, processes and motivators to grow and to effectively manage growth. Define the perfect employees for each role and the perfect processes for each function. Compare those to your current employees and processes to recognize the existing gaps. Build the hiring, training, organization and compensation models that will cross the gaps to the ideal.

Strategic Perspectives

Growth can come from a variety of different strategies. Organic growth springs from improvements to your existing methods, processes and products to drive expansion. Through proper utilization of Technology and People Strategies, your organization can spur growth and strengthen relationships across the enterprise. Beginning with your Vision of success, you can work backward to create the actions to move from your current situations and bridge the gaps. You can work forward into the future of your organization to develop sustainability or exit plans. You can find an existing external operation that strengthens an identified internal weakness and helps drive achievement faster.

It is imperative to find the right partners to both support your goals and to guide you in the areas where their expertise is greater. The TIA Convention is a wonderful forum to meet and share with potential partners to accelerate and maximize your business objectives.

Optimism Redefined: Building the plans for successful achievement.

Optimism Redefined: Building the plans for successful achievement.

Optimism defined: hopefulness and confidence about the future or the successful outcome of something.

In a recent study, it was determined that the younger working class (millennials) is less optimistic than previous generations. In our current technology focused world, we are hyper aware of any local, national or global activity. This hyper awareness shows the granular existence of both good and bad. Less is open for interpretation. Reality can be less filtered through our own comfortable biases and can make one feel less optimistic than the less connected previous generation.

However, optimism isn’t a static existence or experience; it is a dynamic belief of the individual at the time of the questioning. There are moments in all our lives where we are truly optimistic and others where we have a deep pessimism about the future. Much is determined by our ability to understand and have control of the decisions that lead us forward in aligning our future with the perceived success that we desire.

Finding optimism in our personal and professional lives evolves from a clear understanding of our goals. These goals, defined by our desire and bound by our capabilities (both current and future), are at the end of a pathway – a pathway that is varied in both direction and length. There is no straight line between where you are today and where you plan to be. The path changes as a result of obstacles, conflicting choices and the unknown unknowns.

The key to achievement is to develop a plan that takes you to the vision of success.

The first step is to have a clear and honest understanding of where you are today. By assessing your business across multiple factors – financial, cultural, personnel and market position – you have a baseline starting point. Without clarity of this starting point, the following steps (and the decisions that must be made) are built on a faulty foundation and will be unsustainable as you move forward.

The second step is to have a clear vision of what success means for you and your company. Define the goals across the factors – this may be a financial number ($20M), it may be the creation of a sustainable, growing company to pass down through generations, or it may be to become the leading regional LTL provider in the upper Midwest. Once you establish the goal(s), a system is created between your current state (the baseline starting point) and your desired state (the goals and vision of success).

The third step is to take ownership of the plan and its corresponding goals. You and your organization must become committed to both. Each and every decision related to the business from that point needs to be made through the context of the plan and the goals. There is comfort in the status quo and often decisions are made that keep us within this comfort zone, but the goals exist in competition with the status quo and will cause discomfort. Belief and commitment, along with communication and reinforcement of the goals, will keep you focused in making decisions aligned to your success.

The last steps of the process are the actions necessary for achievement. The creation of useful metrics and measurements to assess the movement keeps you, and each person, progressing towards the goal. Regular review of the action steps – where you are accelerating and where you are lagging behind – will help you understand where to deploy resources to stay on track. Support your team through recognition and reward. Hold them accountable to the expectations and behaviors necessary to reach your goals. In short, lead them across the finish line.

Having a clear plan and the tools to work it creates an energy that drives success. This energy is contagious and feeds others within your organization to continue to grow and move forward. This collaborative and motivating energy is powerful. It fosters innovation and facilitates the necessary changes to bring greater value to your company. This energy has a name and that name is optimism.