Positioning Systems - Small Business Coaching



Articles > October 2009

As we apply the Rockefeller Habits and make our people more accountable, many of our employees reject or protest our demands for metrics to measure their job performance. How can we get them to accept these measures?

In a perfect world you would expect that your team would be open to the idea of measurements.  In many cases the trouble starts with people's natural opposition to change. In many businesses this can run to a deeper issue which correlates to culture.

Here's a good example.  If your sales staff has been on salary with a small bonus or commission structure insuring the better part of their income comes from the base they receive, how would you imagine they would respond if you reverse the pay structure to mostly commission and only a small base salary?  Naturally they would be upset. 
The change to demanding your people measure their performance and meet expected standards is a cultural shock.  If you had people that wanted this type of pay for performance mentality don't you think they would have asked for it, or would they really be working for a company that didn't provide that type of pay plan?
The first thing you have to expect and accept if you decide to move to an accountability based or pay for performance standard is resistance from your employees.  They won't like it, understand it, or want things to change.   It may be that with the new company culture you are creating they are not the right people to fit in.
At the same time there may be many of the employees that just need to get their arms around the idea in order to accept it, and when they realize the benefits to this type of accountability they will not only accept it but embrace it. 
Expect the best producers to be open.  Expect those who put in a solid days work for their wages to at least be receptive to hear how it will work.  They've long been disappointed that others don't share the same work ethic that they do, and if you'd only asked they'd have been open to this earlier, and possibly have been willing to let you know [in private] who you should have let go before you realized it.
At one of the quarterly meetings we led recently one of the executive team members expressed the importance of measuring and sharing profit as job security.  It was an obvious yet insightful moment that helped everyone realize the impact profit has on the business.
Metrics for each position, department and for the company provide the same sense of security.   When you are meeting your numbers, you have a real sense of job security.  If you are at least aware of the gap between where you need to be and where you are it provides motivation to close the gap and make steady if not urgent improvement.
That's why the solid performers in your company will accept and embrace metrics.  They want to know where they stand and they want to know the impact their performance has on the company and where it stands.
We've seen the manufacturing plants that have closed and the empty, sullen faces of the workers with their blank stares wondering why the business failed to make it.  They obviously didn't have metrics that showed them how their performance affected the business results.
The sell to your people should be exactly this:  Metrics provide job security.  If you are producing at a level that meets or exceeds the standards your department and position require you will have a sense of security about your job.  A business that demands accountability always performs better than those that don't.  They should be excited and pleased about working for a business that demands they perform to a expected standard.  If they don't like working for a business like that then I'd question the fit they have for your business. 

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