When I came on with Snowfly, and was learning how the system works, Eli kept talking about “behavior change” and “long-term behavior change.” Eli talked about how the Snowfly tools and system helped create an environment where our customers say real, positive, lasting, and beneficial behavior change in employees.
Honestly, I didn’t love the phrase “behavior change.” I felt like if you hire the right people, they’ll bring skills and expertise to your team that adds value to your team. The diversity of thinking and skills and different behaviors shapes your culture and the way your team works. Would your really want to change everyone’s behavior to conform to your master plan, which likely would reduce the value you get from that diversity? I don’t think so.
Well, Eli has been in this business a lot longer than I have, and he is right. We do want to create a culture of behavior change. Not that our employees are always, or regularly, wrong. We don’t want to eliminate their thinking and proactive initiatives, or that diversity. But we do want to reward “good” behavior and recognize and address “bad” behavior. As a manager, I would recognize diverse thinking and proactive decision making. If you think about behavior change that way, then yes, bring it on, all day long. As long as their is a proper balance with the positive rewards, addressing the negatives can be okay.
Employee Satisfaction and Employee Performance
If you’ve been reading the blog or newsletter recently you’ll know I’ve been talking a lot about employee satisfaction and employee performance. These are results of having a great culture. This usually happens because the leadership team is purposeful and intentional about creating the right culture. We have talked about how the Snowfly systems help with peer recognition and manager recognition, which are two very effective ways to reward positive behavior. We have talked about providing intrinsic and extrinsic incentives, which are also great ways to recognize and reward positive behavior. Other tools in Snowfly, such as surveys and the news sections help gather and communicate information that can help reinforce a culture where your employees strive to do what is right, make the right decisions, and even recognize and reward others for positive behavior they observe.
Sounds like like a beautiful nirvana, right?
This happens when leadership teams are thoughtful and intentional about creating this type of culture, and when they use tools like Snowfly to automate, recognize, and reward.
When this happens, we see increases in employee performance. Put another way, whatever metrics you use to measure employee performance should improve. This is employee performance enhancement. This is real, measurable results. Whether that means an increase in employee satisfaction, or an increase in top and bottom lines (that is, revenue and profits), increasing employee performance will always pay off.
There are distinct differences between performance enhancement, which is what I just wrote about, and “performance management.” According to Wikipedia,
Performance management is the process of ensuring that a set of activities and outputs meets an organization’s goals in an effective and efficient manner. Performance management can focus on the performance of an organization, a department, an employee, or the processes in place to manage particular tasks.
If you search for performance management tools you’ll see a lot of tools that focus on doing annual employee reviews. Do a deep dive into performance management and you’ll find there are many components of a whole solution. Usually you start out with organizational objectives (KPIs, metrics, goals, etc.) and job descriptions. You’ll then figure out how to measure the team and individuals against those descriptions and objectives.
You’ll also learn that annual reviews have been on the naughty list for a long time. Regular one-on-ones have pushed them out as being way more effective. In my last role I had weekly one-on-ones. This felt like a lot of meetings, especially compared to an annual review, but I felt way, way more connected with my boss. Having those meetings helped me really understand where he was at, how I was doing, what changes were happening in the organization, etc. in a way that I couldn’t understand if we didn’t have time carved out every week.
While that level of communication was very helpful to me, it wasn’t what I would call effective performance management. Perhaps my boss would fill in a survey, or do a write-up after each of our one-on-ones (I can practically guarantee he didn’t), effective performance management would have included communicating the results with me. How was I doing? Where was I failing, and what was I doing well, etc. Those things weren’t communicated. If they had been, they might have changed the feeling of our meetings.
Culture and Results
Performance management is a tool. It should be a component of creating that culture you are working to create, where you see the benefits of performance enhancement. My advice to you, as you strive to create that culture, is to focus on the results you want, and work backwards from there. You are really after performance enhancement, which results in all kinds of good things. What tools should you implement? What tools will fit into the culture you are working on creating, and what tools might hinder that culture.
For example, if you put a tool in that is too rigid, too detailed, too many steps, and too much fluff, your managers and your team will abandon it. I’ve seen that happen multiple times. Use a tool that has too many steps, and people think the steps are meaningless, and they go back to their own ways, doing things by hand. I’ve seen this with implementations of CRM systems, which historically have a high failure rate. Why? Because they are too hard to use. They add things to an already-complex process.
If you had to choose between tools/systems/processes and results, which would you choose? I know… ideally you want tools and systems and processes that give you the right results. But assuming you had to choose one over the other, you would go with results.
Where does Snowfly fit in?
As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, we have been in the business of facilitating behavior change. We are after results. Yes, we have tools, and systems, and processes. But these are all designed to help you see results. More adherence to organizational policy based on incentives and recognition. Better adoption of training objectives, through incentives and recognition. Better results in metrics, based on incentives and recognition. This reinforces the culture you are trying to create. This creates an environment where people stay with you longer than normal (reducing your turnover costs), and others want to work for you (reducing your hiring costs).
We are all about performance enhancement. Want to learn more? We’d love the chance to learn about what you are doing, and trying to create, and talk about how Snowfly can help. We want to partner with you to create wonderful places to work. Let’s talk: