Use the following checklist of effective techniques to keep your employees involved and motivated on an ongoing basis. 1. Personally thank employees for doing a good job—one on one, in writing, or both. Do it timely, often, and sincerely. 2. Take the time to meet with and listen to employees—as much as they need or want. 3. Provide employees with specific and frequent feedback about their performance. Support them in improving performance. 4. Recognize, reward, and promote high performers; deal with low and marginal performers so that they improve or leave. 5. Provide information on how the company makes and loses money, upcoming products, and services and strategies for competing. Explain the employee’s role in the overall plan. 6. Involve employees in decisions, especially those decisions that affect them. Involvement equals commitment. 7. Give employees a chance to grow and develop new skills; encourage them to be their best. Show them how you can help them meet their goals while achieving the organization’s goals. Create a partnership with each employee. 8. Provide employees with a sense of ownership in their work and their work environment. This ownership can be symbolic (e.g., business cards for all employees, whether they need them to do their jobs or not). 9. Strive to create a work environment that is open, trusting, and fun. Encourage new ideas, suggestions, and initiative. Learn from, rather than punish for, mistakes. 10. Celebrate successes—of the company, of the department, and of individuals. Take time for team- and morale-building meetings and activities. Be creative and fresh.
If you want to accomplish something significant, here are a number of key reasons why you should set goals:
• Goals provide direction. If you are planning to start up a new technology incubator in Toronto, there are plenty of different ways to
achieve this particular result. The first step, however, is to set a definite vision—a target to aim for and to guide the efforts of you and your organization. Once you have a definite vision, you can translate it into goals that will help you bring your vision to reality. • Goals tell you how far you’ve traveled. When your goals have dates assigned for their accomplishment, they become milestones along the road to bringing your vision to life. By noting what milestones have been achieved, you know exactly how many remain to reach your vision.
• Goals help to make your overall vision attainable. While you might be able to achieve your vision in one big step if you devoted enough resources to the task, it’s often smarter (and more realistic) to take many small steps to get there. If your vision is to open a new technology incubator in Toronto, you can’t expect to proclaim your vision on Wednesday and walk into a fully staffed and functioning
office on Thursday. There are lots of smaller goals—from obtaining office space, to recruiting staff, and much more—to accomplish on the road to achieving your vision. By dividing your efforts into smaller pieces, goals enable you to achieve your overall vision. • Goals give people something to strive for. When challenged to reach goals beyond their normal level of performance, employees are more highly motivated than when goals are too easy to achieve. Design goals that stretch your employees—goals that they will have to strive to accomplish.
Goals must link directly to an organization’s vision to be useful. Managers create compelling visions, and they then work with employees to set and achieve the goals to reach those visions.
Specific: SMART goals are clear and unambiguous; when goals are specific, employees know exactly what’s expected, when, and how much. As an extra benefit, when goals are specific, it’s easy to measure employee progress toward their completion.
2. Measurable: SMART goals can be measured. When goals can’t be measured, it’s impossible to tell whether employees are making progress toward...