Business & Finance, Quotable Magazine

Embedding Accountability and Recognition into your Workplace

We all know that the most successful workplace environments are the ones that work as a team. They work together to increase productivity and create higher quality work. No one should be singled out; if one makes a mistake, that means the team made a mistake. If an employee did a great job on a project or task, the team did a great job! Your work reflects on your colleagues’ work, and vice versa. This means a team needs to hold each other accountable, both for the good and the bad.

Being a business owner and/or managing a team can be very rewarding, but also challenging. You have to know when to be firm, but also when to be welcoming and willing to help. You want to be friendly with your employees, but also know when to be their boss. You need to give insightful and beneficial performance reviews and advice, but don’t want to come across as too critical or judgmental. It can be hard to balance it all, but good news! It is possible to hold your team accountable and also be a respected boss.

The Importance of Employee Recognition

When employees feel appreciated, they want to work harder. Tiny Pulse reported that “When asked what leaders could do more of to improve engagement, 58% of respondents replied ‘give recognition’.” They also reported that “69% of employees would work harder if they felt their efforts were better appreciated.” Recognition pushes us to do better.

Think about it: if you were constantly working hard to do your best work and it never was recognized or appreciated, would you want to keep working that hard? Probably not, because, what’s the point? It can be very discouraging to employees who feel they never receive any positive feedback. Providing positive feedback will remind them that their hard work is noticed and helpful.

What to Keep in Mind When Giving A Performance Review

Performance reviews are important for your team. However if not done right, they can make employees feel defeated or not good enough. A well carried out performance review should encourage them to work harder, not make them take two steps back.

Always start with good news. Give them a compliment; something they did or are doing in their work that you appreciate. For example, “Thank you for always showing up 10 minutes early to the office to get a head start on your day. I really appreciate you taking the initiative, and know that I notice it.” Acknowledging the little things makes all the difference.

Next, get into what they can work on. Wording is key here. Using the wrong tone or phrasing can create a tense mood. Tell them what it is that they could improve on, and explain why. For example, “Something I would really like to see more of to improve our company is better organizational skills. I notice at times you can get a little unorganized with your workspace and document files, which may cause you to feel stressed. I want my employees to feel as little stress as possible while at work, and improving your organizational skills can reduce that stress.”

Offer a solution. If you are going to address a problem, be prepared to suggest how to fix it. As the individual giving the review, you are seen as the leader. Your employees look to you for solutions. An example of this would be, “One way we can work on being more organized is getting a desk organizer to hold your office supplies, and a filing tray to better sort documents. This will clear up your workspace and help ensure important documents are where they are supposed to be.”

After saying your part, give your employee the opportunity to ask questions and share their opinions. Maybe they have already tried your solution and need to find an alternative. Maybe they need more clarification because they didn’t realize it was an issue. Give them time to speak and be heard.

To end the performance review, thank them. Just as it is important to start it off on a good note, it is important to end it on a good note. Tell them that you appreciate what they do for the company and their hard work. Thank them for meeting with you and being open to feedback. If you see them improving in the future on what you discussed, acknowledge it and let them know you noticed.

Performance reviews are an essential part of holding your team accountable. Employees can’t change something if they don’t know you want it to be changed. It helps everyone to be on the same page, and allows for opportunity for open communication between both sides.

If you’re hesitant about giving a performance review, remember that they can be one of the best things for your employees, if done right. They can hold your team accountable, but also allow for employee recognition. A happy workplace = higher productivity and better outcomes.

Anna is a junior at Michigan State University studying journalism and public relations. She loves the fashion and lifestyle side of journalism, and her career goals are to end up in magazine writing and editing. She loves trying new art projects and traveling to new places.

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