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If you want better managers, reward them for their people practices

With all the organizational concern we hear about these days pertaining to turnover, employee engagement, absenteeism, etc., you would think that companies would get better at figuring this stuff out! For example, study after study tells that one of the top reasons that employees leave their current company/job is due to their manager. Reasons cited for leaving vary from things like the manager’s style (abusive, micro managing, etc.) to the fact that the manager doesn’t help develop them and grow their skills. Regardless, the manager/employee relationship is often one of the largest impacting factors as it pertains to an employee staying with a company or not.

So it begs the question, since we know how important this relationship is, why don’t we put more emphasis on rewarding managers for their people practices? Regardless of your performance system, most companies I have come across have goals/objectives or balanced scorecard related items linked to their managers’ outcomes in the areas of finance, sales, project completion, quality control, etc. Now don’t get me wrong, I know that all these things are sublimely important to the success of a company; however, the problem is that nowhere does a manager have any incentive (focus) to improve on their people practices per se.

RewardWe are all familiar with the old adage, “what gets measured gets done.” So if we started measuring managers’ people practices (results), held them accountable and rewarded when they exceeded expectations, do you think that these “people related things” would get “done?” You bet they would!

Here is what I am proposing, if, as an organization, you truly believe that reducing turnover, increasing employee engagement, conducting effective performance meetings, coaching, etc. are all important to your company….than you have to have those elements on your managers’ scorecards or as part of their performance objectives. If they know that they are being held accountable for keeping turnover low in their department, making sure people come to work and are meeting performance goals, than you know that those managers will take the time to coach and development their people so that these goals will be met.

The problem is that far too many companies pay lip service to turnover, engagement, performance management, etc. They “say” it is important and they “tell” their managers to focus on it, but at the end of the day, companies reward managers for bottom line results – quite often it simply doesn’t matter about those other items if the cash coffers keep getting stocked. While this may work in the short term, the long term prospects for organizational sustainability aren’t good.

So I throw this challenge out to the business leaders – put your money where your mouth is. If these “people” items are truly important to you and your companies, than start holding your managers accountable vis-à-vis whatever system you have in place to measure and reward. HR leaders – you need to be part of the solution and drive this paradigm shift with your operations partners. You need to lead the way and show your organizational leaders the bottom lines results that can be achieved by having people practice measurements part of your manager’s accountability portfolio.

What about you? Do you agree that managers need to have “people practices” as part of their performance outcomes? Would we get the necessary organizational lift in these key areas if they did? As always, I welcome your comments and feedback.

Image courtesy of pixtawan/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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2 Responses

  1. So very true Scott, Link compensation to “People skills”. Imagine the effect.

    • Ian – thanks for reading and commenting. For sure the entire comp piece is important in this linkage. I personally believe it needs to be a combo of rewards and recognition. However, at the end of the day, if a manager’s salary increases are based on how much money they saved on office supplies vs. how well they need in managing their people, well than you know where your problems lie!

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