Musings on

Culture

By July 31, 2013

Don’t Cripple Employee Performance

Let’s face it: hiring a new employee can be scary.

employee-performance_featureAnd we at Kinesis know that the amount of resources needed to integrate and nurture a new hire can leave you dizzy. But a growing company needs a growing team, so you take a deep breath and make the plunge.

Fortunately, there are ways to make the hiring game less of a gamble. Aside from timing, the key to making a successful hire lies in finding the right person and empowering them to exceed your expectations.

That may seem counterintuitive. A remarkable employee should be able to exceed your expectations on their own, right?

Not necessarily.

It may surprise you to learn that very few employees actually understand what is expected of them at work each day. It makes you wonder, how can someone meet – much less exceed – the performance standards for their role if they don’t even know what those standards are?

For professional services firms, accountability and execution are the underpinnings of success. At Kinesis, we’re utilizing some best practices (and developing some of our own) to create an environment that empowers our team to exceed expectations.

Empower Your A-Players

We’ve learned that accountability exists only when expectations have been clearly called out. But the spectrum of expectations encompasses a multitude of responsibilities, from the granular day-to-day tasks, to long-term projects, to overall decision-making, attitude, and approach. Here are some tools that will set up your team members for success:

Core Values: Your company’s core values are the guiding tenets that align day-to-day work with your overarching vision and mission. We’re not talking about the typical empty words that you see on the wall of a corporate lobby. These should be actionable values that inform each and every decision your team makes.

The Scorecard: At Kinesis, we collaborate with our employees to develop scorecards that define the goals and objectives for each role and for each individual. We specify how each person will be spending their time, including specific outcomes for each duty where possible. Not only does this give our managing staff a tool to evaluate performance, it gives a big picture purpose to each role and helps team members assign individual tasks to achieve a greater outcome.

Meeting Rhythms: Revisiting, refining, and reprioritizing goals and objectives for each member of your team is the most practical and efficient way to ensure accountability and progress. At Kinesis, we hold regular “creative team meetings” that ensure everyone knows what they’re accountable for getting accomplished in the short-term. Weekly, quarterly, and semi-annual meeting rhythms can be designed to address the entire spectrum of goals, objectives, and expectations for each individual as well as company-wide.

Key Performance Indicators: KPIs are simple, quantifiable metrics that reflect how well an individual is achieving their stated goals or objectives. While you may feel rather unromantic about “keeping score,” creating a hard, quantifiable expectation for your employees (like utilization targets or cost per contact) will empower them to monitor their own performance. You can ensure that these metrics are meaningful by tying them to scorecard and company goals.

ABOUT Alison Stiven

Alison is the ‘Make it Happen Master’, bridging the gap between the Creative and Strategic teams. She moves forward projects to efficiently implement client strategy and achieve their goals. As past-president of the American Marketing Association Portland Chapter, Alison continually enjoys connecting with folks in the community. She is always happy to grab a cup of coffee or a cocktail to talk marketing, so feel free to reach out!

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