As an individual managing Self-Directed Services either for yourself or your loved one, you may have found yourself suddenly in the unfamiliar role of being an employer. With this role comes many new responsibilities, first and foremost supervising employees.
One of the first lessons you likely learned in your new role is the importance of having reliable and talented employees. After you have done the hard work of recruiting and training these people, you want to make sure they stick around and are happy in the position. You also want to make sure that you are satisfied with their performance and the work they are doing for you.
Providing your employees with feedback on how they are doing in their job is an important part of your role as a supervisor. Your employees most likely want to do a good job and meet your expectations, however they may be unaware as to how well they are doing and areas of improvement. Regular feedback can give them the necessary information to help them be successful at their job and to promote a supportive and honest working environment.
Frequent Feedback – Communicating with your employees frequently and regularly lets you focus on specific behaviors and address them as they happen. These include areas that need to improve as well as positive actions. Regular communication with your employees builds good rapport and also gives them a chance to voice their thoughts and ideas to you.
When you provide your employees with frequent feedback you may be able to address performance concerns with an informal conversation and nip potential problems in the bud, rather than waiting until they are major issues that need to be addressed through a formal disciplinary meeting. At a minimum, try to talk to your employees bi-weekly at a set, scheduled time (and when they are new, even more frequently).
Timely Feedback – Employees should receive information about their work performance in a timely manner. People are more able to make changes in action, rather than relying on our memories which are not always accurate. The sooner an employee finds out about improvements they need to make in their performance, the sooner they can correct the problem. For example, if your employee has arrived late for her shift two days in a row address that with her at the end of her shift. This gives her the opportunity to improve her behavior before it becomes a larger issue and you become more frustrated
Positive feedback is also more effective and rewarding for employees when given immediately. When you wait too long the moment may be lost. The employee may no longer be able connect the feedback with the positive action and perhaps less likely to repeat it.
Specific Feedback – When giving your employees feedback on their performance be sure to address specifics tasks, actions and behaviors. It’s also helpful to state when and where the action occurred that you are speaking of and what the result was. The more information you give, the better your employees will understand what they are doing correctly or incorrectly.
When offering praise, general phrases like “good job” and “way to go” are productive only when attached to a specific behavior or action. Employees need to know in what way they did a good job or what specifically they did right. For example, instead of saying “Good job working with Max today” say “You did a really good job in how you redirected Max when he started to get upset after lunch today by leading him over to his train set.”
Being specific also applies to correcting negative behaviors. For example, instead of saying “I don’t like how you raise your voice with Max” instead say “I notice you raised your voice with Max yesterday after lunch, he responds better when you talk to him in a calming and soothing voice when he is upset.” When you are ambiguous with your feedback it leaves a lot of room for interpretation and you may not get your needs addressed.
These are just a few of the many ways you can help create a good working relationship with your employees, build on their strengths, and address performance concerns. At Orion ISO, we have many resources available to you to help you manage your employees and be an effective supervisor. Please feel free to contact your Coordinator at any time with questions you may have, or if you need assistance with employee issues.