Blog: Employee Performance – Is there a magic bullet or no bullet?

Employee Performance – Is there a magic bullet or no bullet?

I've heard some employers say 'coach them up' instead of 'coach them out', but is everyone coachable? Is it possible to inspire and motivate every employee at your company? Of course, there are different types of employees with different types of motivating factors to consider.

Positive Reinforcement Employee – This one is all about using encouragement to enhance worker performance and attitude. If you feel that spending an extra 15 minutes with this employee can dramatically improve their day, by all means do it!

Negative Reinforcement Employee – This structured employee needs deadlines and expectations spelled out. If you give them too much flexibility, you could be asking for trouble. This approach has a micromanaged feel to it, but is necessary (for some) early on to assist in the employee’s development.

Proactive Employee – This employee is a pleasure to manage because once you assigned a task, you will feel confident that the task will be completed, and will require minimal follow up. This employee is a no nonsense low maintenance worker.

Remember that applying the wrong motivation is really no motivation at all. Consider pounding a square peg into a round hole. How difficult of a task would that be? That is why it is important to understand what type of worker you are dealing with before trying to motivate or inspire the employee. Can you imagine what it would be like to use Negative Reinforcement Tactics on a Positive Reinforcement Employee?

So... what's the answer? A consistent and ongoing Employee Training and Development Program may be the solution. Here are some statistics to consider:

Glassdoor just released the results from their latest survey on Employment Confidence, and with that report comes some eye opening statistics:

  • 73% of employees earning higher incomes ($100,000+) report receiving on-the-job training in the past 12 months when compared to employees who earn less:
  • 57% of employees who earn $75,000-99,999
  • 58% of employees who earn $50,000-74,999
  • 57% of employees who earn less than $50,000

The market is changing and with those changes comes evolving expectations from your candidates and employees. Again from Glassdoor’s research:

  • 45% expect a pay raise in next 12 months – highest level in six years
  • 48% are confident in their ability to find a new job in next 6 months – steady with last quarter's six-year high
  • 47% believe their company’s business outlook will improve in the next 6 months

What if your best efforts to motivate, inspire and develop your employees fall short? Now what? Well, before you sharpen the ax, consider these questions:

  • Despite all of your efforts, AND confronting the employee about their behavior, is their performance or behavior actually getting worse?
  • Is your team's morale down because of this employee?
  • Are you getting customer or vendor complaints?

If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, it may be time to consider an alternative employment solution. An employee performance problem can have long reaching consequences if not addressed early. So, is there a 'Magic Bullet' to resolve your employee performance issues? Well... yes, if you are careful in the recruiting process, and know how to motivate your employee, you'll be fine.

-Posted by Kelly McCool, Managing Director at M4 Workforce Solutions

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