We don’t pay employees to do a “job.” We pay them to invent the best, most efficient and most profitable response at each moment in their day. We pay them to watch each situation they encounter in their constantly changing workplace and use what they know to make the best decision on the spot. We pay them to think on their feet – and to pack their brains when they pack their lunches. And the more they know, the more tools they possess to be able to wisely choose the best response.
Great organizations realize the value of constantly expanding what their employees know and creating a culture that prepares and holds employees accountable for learning and using what they learn to think on their feet.
Here are three ways managers can improve the quality of the on-the-spot decisions employees make in our intellectual and service workplace:
1. Assess employees’ capabilities in the skills critical to success in the job.
Many times our employees arrive in the workplace with critical skill shortages, expecting to learn their jobs on the fly. At a time where more and more employees are directly in front of customers, we frequently can’t wait for new workers to gradually develop important skills; every moment an employee under-performs affects our connection with customers and our success. Knowing which skills drive sustained performance is critical.
2. Develop an employee-customized learning plan based on the assessment.
Personalize the learning plan to the specific education each employee needs; get away from any one-size-fits-all solutions. Create each employee’s required education and offer the ability for employees to select optional or “electives” in high-value areas.
3. Track, applaud and reward employees who complete their education.
Track performance before and after education to quantify the impact and assess the effectiveness of the education. Applaud and reward employee effort and progress. Remember, what gets rewarded gets repeated.
Employees must be great on the spot; they have to be “on” at work. Assess, customize, track and reward to build an education response that prepares employees to make consistently good performance decisions.
Jay Forte is a nationally ranked thought leader and President of Humanetrics. Jay guides organizations – their leaders and managers – in how to attract, hire and retain today’s best talent. He is the author of “Fire Up! Your Employees and Smoke Your Competition” and “The Greatness Zone – Know Yourself, Find Your Fit, Transform The World.” Jay is a member of SHRM, ASTD, the National Speakers Association and the Florida Speakers Association, and you can follow him on Twitter.