Be empathetic towards your experienced workforce
Posted by Anadi Upadhyaya on October 1, 2011
Do you believe that your experienced workforce is contributing to the best of their ability, with clarity of purpose, and no action is required from your side to get them better?
You might already have an answer in your mind as you read on. We put a lot of energy, time and resources in planning, how to bring new employees on board (and it is very much required), but when it comes to our experienced workforce (I mean home grown), things go much differently and are often not well-planned.
As your experienced workforce has grown in the organization and you (as a manager) might be comfortable with them, they should neither be soft targets for your tough decisions nor should enjoy any undue advantages.
Simple things which will always be relevant and significant for experienced workforce includes:
We vs. I check: If you want your experienced workforce to contribute to the team’s success, you need to look at their contribution with a fresh perspective. You should not use old parameters and results to evaluate their contribution. If you really want them to be your asset and not the liability, a periodic check is required to ensure that they still value “We” more than “I”.
Unambiguous communication: “Can you get it done, you know how I want things to be?” You might have heard or delivered this communication quite often but it does not have a clear message. Just because you believe that experienced workforce understand you better, doesn’t mean that the clear communication is not required. It is required for everyone in the organization and experienced workforce is no exception.
Appraisal: Performance appraisals are as critical for your experienced workforce as for any other employee. You should continue to use it as a tool to provide constructive feedback as well as to set mutually agreed upon objectives.
Keep the fire alive: Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Your experienced workforce needs to prove their worth as well and need to keep fire alive in their belly to perform better. It is likely that they might have developed a “comfort zone”, but you need to create a challenging environment which can help them to step out of their comfort zone and perform better.
Last but not the least, be empathetic towards your experienced workforce as you need to understand their changing perspective to keep them at their best.