PM – it is really the what and the how

Although I’m not an advocate of ‘paying’ for the demonstration of particular behaviours or competencies without a commensurate contribution or output, research suggests that employees deliver more consistent results when you emphasise the “how” as well as the “what” .

Chris Edmonds brought this to light in research he featured in his Cool Culture blog:

“Leaders typically focus entirely on performance and results. They do not naturally emphasise HOW results will be accomplished, which requires defining what values and behaviours ‘good corporate citizens’ must demonstrate in the workplace.

The result of this ‘performance-only’ emphasis:
– Performance is inconsistent when the boss is not present. Performance occurs most consistently when the boss is watching.
– Power struggles occur, driven by managers and staff, which creates a workplace of fear and intimidation.
– Employees rarely demonstrate discretionary effort towards goal accomplishment.

“… If a leader wants a high performing, values-aligned team, that leader must create the foundation with clear goals AND clear valued behaviours.”

If you want confidence beyond a doubt that your employees are consistently behaving in ways that deliver the results you need – whether you’re watching or not – then you must make it very clear to employees what behaviours you value. Failing to do so will result in the deviant behaviours described above as well as others.

So how do you do that? Strategic recognition is one answer. Structuring your employee recognition programme around your company values – making your values the reasons employees are frequently and specifically recognised at work – brings those values to life in the daily work of every employee so that everyone, from the CEO to the receptionist, knows what ‘integrity’ or ‘innovation’ means for them.

And if you buy into what Daniel Pink says about motivation, you make these rewards unexpected, immediately after the event and in terms which are meaningful for the individual.