There are obstacles that have the potential to derail even the best employees, and you need to identify these hurdles to get over them.
My article last week talked about eight areas of inquiry to help assess performance and give the manager the information required to not only enhance performance, but also to create dialogue and increase commitment.
Here, we will explore three common performance obstacles and how to address them.
- Misalignment: The first obstacle is organizational in nature. Consider potential misalignment between what is espoused and what is expected. This can take on many forms. It may be that the organization espouses teamwork and collaboration but only provides rewards, recognition, and incentives for individual accomplishments. Employees will experience confusion about what is actually expected. They will naturally lean toward the behaviors that will earn them rewards. The danger is that they will see the organization’s propaganda about teamwork and collaboration as hypocrisy.
- Inconsistent Performance Expectations: The second obstacle, also organizational in nature, is inconsistent performance expectations. This is especially evident when employees are floated from floor to floor, unit to unit. They experience different, often inconsistent, approaches to care and other aspects of work from one area to the next. Employees easily become frustrated when what is normative in one section is not expected or required in another, despite the corporate standards formally communicated. This creates confusion and a lack of leadership credibility. This inconsistency can also be experienced even when an employee maintains the same assignment. It is the result of managers who are not evenhanded in their expectations. They waffle or are unaware of how personal loyalties are impacting their decision making. Clear, consistently enforced standards are essential to creating high standards throughout the long-term and post-acute care organization. These standards provide direction for managers and employees alike.
- Lack of Ethical Behavior: The final obstacle, of particular concern in the long-term care profession, is a lack of ethical behavior. Interestingly, this can be witnessed at the individual or organizational level. It can range from small infractions to larger, reportable offenses. In either case, when ethical concerns are detected, they are indicative of problems that may require serious interventions beyond the performance conversation. Be careful not to ignore even small breaches. Be alert to organizational practices that signal malleable ethics. In both cases, it is essential for leaders to take action to get the organization on sound ethical footing.
Being attuned to the obstacles means being attuned to what workers are experiencing in the organization. It requires paying attention to the subtle dynamics of workers and their interactions. It is the attention that is devoted to the relational element that provides information for having meaningful performance conversations.
Most, if not all, long-term and post-acute care providers want to create healthy retention. That requires paying thoughtful attention to potential obstacles that can get in the way of creating consistently high performance.