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Five steps to better HR management

Employees are our most important asset. They fuel our businesses, serve our customers and give us advantages over competitors. Nonetheless, managing and strengthening this asset is often overlooked. Having a method to regularly monitor, evaluate and communicate employee performance is a crucial step for improving productivity.

Here are five ways employers can improve business as well as customer, personal and employee satisfaction:

Implement a consistent and regular performance evaluation system: Make sure to use a system that’s transparent, one with which employees are fully aware. It’s good for your employees to know the benchmarks for performance evaluations. Use a clearly defined method for evaluating employees in multiple areas within their position.  Use a system to rank your employees within those areas.

Job knowledge is an area that concerns everyone. Can you and your management team consistently rank your employees’ job knowledge over time? Do you know if your employees consistently rank below average, occasionally below, consistently meet expectations, frequently exceed or consistently exceed expectations? Developing a performance evaluation system can help you measure and track the progress of your employees. To begin the process, clearly define categories and expectations for each category. An employee who demonstrates adequate technical and professional knowledge required for the job would rank as consistently meeting the criteria for job knowledge. An employee who has serious gaps in technical or professional knowledge and produces a product or service that’s below average and is not improving would rank as consistently below average in the job knowledge category.

Once you’ve developed a written performance evaluation program, evaluate a new employee every three months for the first year, every six months the second year then annually thereafter.

Show your appreciation for good performance: As employers or managers, we tend to remember the immediate mistakes our employees make. Keep a record of the good things your employees do to help you remember those successes when it comes time for performance evaluations. 

Take several weeks to complete the performance evaluation and also have employees complete self-evaluations so you can compare their assessments of their performances. This method gives you an opportunity to balance constructive criticism and positive feedback and implement goals for both the near and long term. Be sure to show employees the link between their individual performance and company performance goals.

Address areas for improvement for the company as a whole: Consistently ask employees to brainstorm and provide feedback for continuous system improvement. Many companies have strict processes for internal control procedures. But in an ever changing environment, strive to make things work better, faster and more efficiently. Employees come with a rich history of prior experiences, both personal and professional, that you can draw upon to continually improve the company.

Follow up with your employees: Monitoring and measuring your employees regularly is crucial.  While each employee might have specific tasks they perform every day, make a consistent effort to cross train and rotate each task so at least two employees are comfortable with every task. This helps employees work as a team and also helps your clients receive prompt customer service and tightens internal control procedures.  Assign special tasks to each employee based on their specific talents and work load and then follow up to make sure they understand the tasks at hand. Make yourself available to them to answer questions and seek opportunities to provide additional training.

Meet with your employees on a weekly basis: Empower your employees to improve. Each week have a one-on-one meeting with each employee. Help them work on both professional and personal goals. Discuss areas for improvement and congratulate them on things well done. This is an opportunity to make sure your employees are getting what they need from you to be their best every day and be successful at their jobs. If you and an employee have agreed upon steps the employee needs to take to improve his or her performance, it’s critical you follow up on these commitments and review them each week.

Angela Hildebrand, a certified public accountant, operates Autopaychecks at 441 Colorado Ave. in Grand Junction. John Hildebrand serves as president of business development for the firm. Autopaychecks offers a range of payroll and human resource services and tools. Reach Autopaychecks at 245-4244 or visit the website located at www.autopaychecks.com
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