Assessments, Culture, and Changing Circumstances
Updated: Jan 21, 2021
Let’s state upfront what we all know to be true: How well an employee does their job is important, and professional performance should be evaluated against established guidelines and expectations.
We can agree on that much, right? It really should go without saying.
Now,. let’s explore the topic a little further.
Great employees operating in a weak or somehow compromised culture will eventually face the truth that much of their effort may be going unnoticed. They may realize that good performances are easily drowned out by environments poorly equipped to make the best use of them. They may then conclude that good cultures exist elsewhere. Then you’re down a strong performer, one who was probably looking for a good reason to stick around – not just a good reason, come to think of it, the best reason available: culture.
Now, let’s state something else we all know to be true: Culture matters so greatly, and overall output is comparatively inconsequential compared to it.
I hope we can agree on that.
Fortifying your company culture protects productivity from minor disruptions and undergirds morale even during challenging times (something we’re all learning more about these days). A good employee is worth keeping; an intelligently fostered culture is worth maintaining – together, these form the foundation of a consistently high-performing organization. Performance is easy to measure on the backend, and we especially enjoy doing it when the numbers are favorable. When they’re not favorable, it’s almost instinctive to single out weaker performances, cudgeling most and making examples of a few. Then you’re down a handful of bad employees, or perhaps just employees who were looking for the right reason to outgrow their limitations – if not a means of doing so.
No matter the industry, regardless of the widget you’re selling, and despite any problems it may present upfront, it’s always about fostering a good environment. It’s about creating a workspace and a company culture where excellent performance is a given, a by-product of authentic happiness.
Authentic happiness. The sort where employees don’t need to convince themselves they’re doing what they want to be doing; it’s just a given. That’s hard to find in an environment unsupported by defined expectations and a system in place to both ensure that they are met and that they are attainable. We should never let our goals and expectations go unchecked for too long; that’s true of all things. When you’re 60, you likely won’t recover from a long hike as quickly as you did at 16, nor should you expect to do so. When a company is operating in a perfectly humming along economy, sales output will likely be higher than when things have slowed for whatever reason (again, we’re all confronting this at the moment).
The digression aside… hire well, assess employee work fairly and in a larger context, and look to keep good employees happy. Set goals and clearly communicate expectations, developing a culture of growth; one that your team knows has been designed to support them. And be ready to modify those goals and expectations as the circumstances require, if you aren’t already doing so, that is.