“I’m not always sure where I stand,” Janice responded.
“I turn in my work and I get another assignment. If something is unacceptable, I get it back; but I don’t know if accepted work barely made the cutoff or set a new standard.”
“Janice, your work consistently meets and even exceeds my expectations. I guess I assumed that you knew how much we value your contributions.”
I ask workshop participants, “How did management evaluate your work product last week?’’ Most have a general idea such as “OK, I guess,” or “not a good week.” But few can respond with precise confidence.
I think most managers can increase employee engagement by giving frequent and precise feedback. Look for opportunities daily or weekly to report to employees exactly what you think about their work. Offer more than a simple “thank you.” And avoid willy-nilly phrases like “good work,” or “not quite what I expected.”
Try cutting the deck a little deeper with more precision language such as, “top ten percent,” “that’s about a six,” “bottom half,” and the like. All employees should know at all times how their work product is valued.