Your Carrot Needs More Stick! | HR Fishbowl

Written on December 3, 2010 by Charlie in #TrenchHR, Performance Management

I’m one of those unlucky souls who has had to suffer on a hot tarmac at the mercy of the airline industry as whatever poor excuse keeps a plane grounded…without food or anything to drink. I sat on a small regional jet in Newark once for more than 2 hours – people actually started to get violent to the point they had to pull us back into the gate. It is maddening…and I know most of you have been there before.

A couple of weeks ago – while on a plane, incidentally – I read an article in the Wall Street Journal that brought some sense of satisfaction and vindication. Since threatening to fine Airlines $27,000 per passenger for any flight stuck on a tarmac for three or more hours, the Department of Transportation reports that magically the airlines finally figured out how to keep this travesty from happening. From May through September of 2009, some 530 flights subjected their passengers to this hell. For the same time period in 2010 (after the new rules were imposed), only 12 flights missed this mark. Well, hello! That’s an improvement of 98%.

Do you know what’s missing from the workplace? A good old fashioned whopin’. Biggest employee compliance issue? Performance Management. Managers tell us over and over again that they don’t have enough time to create meaningful evaluations for their team members. They wait until the last minute, they rarely find a way to provide touch-point feedback throughout the year, and once they actually get something on paper it’s paltry. We can train our people again and again to be “providers of meaningful feedback.” They might be the best damn coaches in the world. But if they don’t take the time to actually do it, why bother? So stop with the idle threats and put some teeth in it. Tell them they won’t get dollar one of bonus or that their upcoming salary increase will be frozen until they post up ongoing, timely, and meaningful feedback for their people. If you’re going to claim performance management is important to your organization’s success, then stop being mamby-pamby about it. And if you can’t do that? Just stop claiming it’s important.

What got the airlines off their assess? Threat of severe economic penalty. That’s all it took. Might this also work in the workplace? I’m thinking it’s long overdue.

Image Credit: Friends of the Big Horn River

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