HR leaders and front-line managers can spend more than a day a week trying to fix employee performance issues.
Correcting problems and changing negative behaviors wastes valuable time. It’s time that could be better spent building on strengths and making good employees great by helping them reach their maximum potential.
It’s more important ever because nearly 40% of employees have felt stuck in their careers, or even experienced a setback, since the start of the pandemic, according to research from Robert Half.
We can make good employees great
To move from a corrective management approach to a promotive management approach, HR leaders will want to share these strategies with front-line managers to help employees reach more goals.
1. Find corresponding strengths
Weaknesses stick out like a sore thumb because everyone see the results – missed deadlines, errors, failed projects, poor communication, difficult relationships, etc.
While weaknesses are easy to spot, managers often overlook the flip side of them: corresponding strengths.
They almost always exists, and front-line managers — who have the advantage of seeing employees work day-in, day-out — want to look for ways to take advantage of the corresponding strengths.
For instance, an employee who often misses deadlines may do so because she strives for perfection. That suggests that perhaps the employee is better suited for quality assurance than hands-on, creative tasks.
2. Find their pleasure
People excel at tasks and assignments they enjoy doing. They should be easy to identify, too. They’re the things people don’t put off, get done smoothly and/or do better than their colleagues.
In many cases, employees will just tell their managers, “Sure, I love doing X!” when it’s assigned.
Of course, you can’t just let them do their favorite work all the time. But you can use those favorite jobs to help uncover strengths and best-fit tasks.
Once employees identify the jobs they like doing, talk about what specifically makes those tasks so pleasurable. That way, front-line managers can align what they enjoy with other, similar tasks, improving the overall employee experience.
For instance, some employees may talk about the freedom to handle things as they see fit. Meanwhile, other employees might like repetition and predictability that’s required in other tasks.
Uncovering the underlying pleasures will lead to strengths and help you choose other jobs where those skills come into play.
3. Allow for growth
Employees’ strengths can grow, change or even go dormant over time. What compelled them to do well once may not be so now – yet they’re still doing the same job and losing momentum.
That’s why it’s important to give employees opportunities to experience work outside their routines — even if they insist they like what they’re doing.
So invite them to shadow colleagues who have different responsibilities. Or ask them to mentor new employees so they can experience some leadership and exposure to different, new views.
It can help them discover new interests and challenges. Managers might see different talents they can help employees cultivate.
4. Review history
When employees struggle over time, it gets harder for managers to identify any strengths – and it’s frustrating for both sides of the equation.
That’s when it’s a good time to look back at employees’ earlier careers or better times. Consider what impressed you when you hired them. Look at the work and performance you praised in their early appraisals.
Revisit the things that drove outstanding performance. Try to steer employees in that direction again — or find out why the same kind of work doesn’t drive them anymore.