People can change dramatically over the course of a lifetime. But realistically, people’s personalities do not change very often, and you as their boss almost certainly will not be the person who changes their outlook on life. But as authors Doug and Polly White say, it is still possible to change people’s behaviors “around the margins.” In an article for Entrepreneur, they share three steps to improving employee behavior in the ways that you need from them:
- Measure the behavior.
- Pay attention to the results.
- Enforce consequences.
Whatever behavior you want changed, you need to find a way to measure its frequency (or lack thereof). The more objective and quantifiable the metric, the better. The significance of quantifiable metrics is that they can be observed on a timeline for trends. Speaking of which, once you begin measuring, you should make it known to employees that you are paying attention. The authors give the example of making employees turn their timesheets in punctually. In this situation, you would want to be broadcasting the significance of turning in timesheets at every opportunity:
Polly once used this philosophy to turn around a 500-person manufacturing facility from its less-than-30 percent on-time attendance to more than 70 percent — in less than three months. She measured the performance, talked to each employee, ensured that management discussed attendance at all meetings and developed both positive and negative consequences for different behaviors. She also encouraged a change in company policies to reflect the focus on on-time attendance.
For most, this will be enough to get the message across that change is expected—and expected to last. But for the rare repeat offender who cannot get with your program, you should take that person aside privately to apply more heat. Make it clear what the consequences will be if improvement does not come.
You can view the original article here: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/302354