Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Employee Management……GROAN!

I read an article recently with a quote by Joe Pelayo, a recruiter with Joseph Michaels International Global Recruiting Solutions: “Average managers spend most of their time with their below average performers. Great managers spend most of their time with their best people.”

This got me to thinking. In child care, like in all other industries, our best performing staff and managers get little of our attention. We come to rely on their consistency and performance. The difficult employees, those who gossip with parents, have less than ideal work ethics, have shaky attendance records, and who don’t seem to grasp or care about lesson planning – these individuals get most of our attention as supervisors/managers. We begin to feel like all we do is bang our heads against the wall!

I think Mr. Pelayo is onto something here. What would your program look like if you spent 80% of your energy and time with your highest performers? What if you only spent 20% of your time on those who aren’t performing up to your standards?

I think your program would begin to make significant changes in the level of expectation you have for your employees, but almost more importantly the expectations employees have for themselves. It really does not take that much time to address the negative, if it is done succinctly and factually. We all spend too much time trying to get employees to “just follow the policies”. I would venture to guess that all of our policies are pretty straightforward and easy to understand. If an employee isn’t following them, it is because they are unwilling, NOT unable. If the issue really is an issue of training, then spend time with them for training – but don’t spend time over and over again – on performance issues.

If/when the performance does not improve, weed out the negative influence from your program and replace them with someone else. Then you are free to spend time building up the skills and abilities or your top performers. Pretty soon you have a loyal group of employees who know they will be noticed for great performance. Pride in self will soon follow.

I know it sounds a little Pollyanna, but I challenge you to try it. Let us know how it goes. By the way, our KidCentric programs are all shifting to this paradigm, so we’ll keep you posted!