Merge's Blog

Tag Archives: employee motivation

Employee performance = ability X motivation

employee performanceI often address the issue of problem employees on the blog.  In the past, I’ve talked about the difference between performance, behaviour and attitude issues, the importance of articulating the problem, and the single most important question to ask yourself before you ever raise the issue with your employee. It’s always worth stepping back and taking a big picture perspective.   Let’s focus on what makes up employee performance, both good and bad.

Employee performance consists of two components

Employee performance is a function of two things – ability and motivation.

Performance = ability X motivation

Ability is the physical, intellectual or emotional capability of your employee to get the job done. Is your employee even able to do what is required in the job?

Motivation however has to do with desire and commitment. Does the employee WANT to do the job at the level and competence that is required?

Why should you care?

Why does this matter? Because you need to assess both factors when trying to get at the root cause of a performance problem. Someone who is highly motivated but at a reduced level of ability can often achieve above-average performance. Unfortunately the opposite is not always true. But don’t be fooled into thinking that motivation can overcome ANY lack of ability – the two are still necessary requirements for exceptional (or even adequate) employee performance. In my experience, you can operate tolerably at 50% ability, but anything less than 75% motivation will get you nowhere.

So what do you think? What are the minimum required levels of ability and motivation to have an adequately performing employee?

Five ways to make flexible working work

The proliferation of flexible work continues.  Whether the flexibility is related to hours (such as flexi-time, compressed weeks, or part-time work) or workstyles (telecommuting, flexible workspaces, or job sharing), it is something that more employees want.  Flexible working arrangements are viewed as attractive because they represent freedom – to be productive, stay motivated, and save time.

All of which also benefits employers, but not every organization has come around to appreciating the advantages.  Ironically, if your organization isn’t open to the idea of flexible work, you are putting yourself at a competitive disadvantage when it comes to recruiting, hiring and keeping the best and the brightest.  Which means it’s worth your while to at least explore the possibility. In my latest column in The Globe and Mail, I offer five must-dos to help you make flexible working a reasonable alternative in your organization.

Five ways to make “flexible working” actually work

Flexible working

If you get the print edition of The Globe, you’ll find today’s column on page B12.

Note: if you are a subscriber to The Globe and Mail, you can also read the column directly at their website at this link: https://tgam.ca/2RjIGoI

So I’d love to hear about your experiences with flexible working.  Is it an option that is offered in your organization?  Is it working well?  What are some of the challenges?  What do your employees think about it?  Please add your thoughts below.

What creates healthy employees? The Globe’s Employee Recommended Workplace Awards offers insights

ERWAJust over one year ago, I told all of you about this very cool project that was sponsored by my colleagues at The Globe & Mail – a Canada-wide survey that is investigating what companies are doing to foster a working environment that creates engaged AND healthy employees.  The definition of “healthy” doesn’t just mean physical health, but also mental, work and life health.  This year-long project culminated with nine companies receiving the inaugural annual Employee Recommended Workplace Awards last month in Toronto.    Winners were announced in three categories (private, public, and not-for-profit/government) in the small, mid-sized and large groupings, and you can see them here (scroll down to find the list).

What creates healthy employees?

A follow-up story in The Globe on engaged and healthy employees titled The winning formulas for workplace wellness offered an opportunity for each of these companies to list the single factor that they believe caused their employees to rank them so highly.  You can read the entire article at the link I’ve given you, but I’ve listed the nine factors for you below: Continue reading

Deliberately make yourself available to your staff

make yourself availableI’ve blogged previously about the importance of being present in your conversations with your employees, but today I want to come at this same subject from a more macro-perspective.  Today’s message: be seen, show your face, in other words, make yourself available to your employees.

In an earlier blog post about being present, I was talking about giving employees your full attention when you’re talking to them one-on-one (rather than trying to multitask).  But “being seen” is about being a visible presence in their working day; it’s about making yourself available to your staff.  Showing your face is NOT about ensuring that your team members see you at the coffee station so that they know you came to work; it’s about giving them access you as a resource when they need it.  Don’t be the type of leader who holes up in your office with the door closed, or the butterfly that flits rapidly from meeting to meeting with only a passing shadow to show that you were there.  Employees need open access to their leaders, even if it’s brief.

Keep “office hours”

The best way to accomplish this goal is to have “office hours” – time that you deliberately schedule and set aside so that you make yourself available to your employees to answer questions, discuss issues, and provide guidance.  Continue reading

Want engaged employees? They need to be healthy in four areas

ERWAEmployee engagement is big business in North America; a recent estimate in The Globe & Mail pegs it at a USD $720 million spend annually.  After all, companies want their employees to be productive, and engaged employees are one reliable way of assessing workplace productivity.  I routinely blog about what leaders can do to create engaged employees (and limit disengaged ones).  In fact, one recent post titled High employee turnover? It’s not usually about compensation offered two specific ideas to create highly engaged employees, both physically as well as mentally.

I bring up this topic again today because my colleagues at The Globe & Mail are sponsoring a very cool project – a Canada-wide survey that is investigating what companies are doing to foster a working environment that creates engaged AND healthy employees.  And by “healthy”, I don’t just mean in physical health, but also mental, work and life health.  Why this subject?  Because past research has shown that highly-engaged employees are not always healthy, which means that their productivity is only short-term.  Think about it – a highly-engaged staff member who works long, demanding hours but doesn’t know how to cope or take care of his health is someone whose productivity will only last until he burns out.  In fact, this past research has shown three categories of highly-engaged employees – those with high health, those with moderate health, and those with low health.  As a leader, you obviously want the first (and perhaps even second) group, but certainly not the third. Continue reading