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Take responsibility for the work ethic of your staff
Here's how to communicate the work ethic you expect from every employee.
Complaining about the poor work ethic of younger employees may be common these days, but that doesn’t mean you can take for granted that every veteran is a perfect example of hard work and diligence.
Managers are ultimately responsible for establishing and enforcing performance standards throughout the workplace. Here’s how to communicate the work ethic you expect from every employee:
• Identify your core values. Create a list of no more than 10 basic values that you expect from every employee. They might include such non-negotiable items as honesty, reliability, respect, and professionalism.
• Review your hiring process. Make sure you’re looking for these values as you evaluate job candidates. Ask questions that encourage them to describe in detail how their past performance demonstrates the values you’re committed to. For example, “Give me an example of a time you were up against a tight deadline. How did you deal with it?”
• Train for values, not just skills. Integrate your work ethic into your training programs. Emphasize the importance of doing a good job every day, and reinforce it on a daily basis. Just talking about your work ethic, or criticizing employees who don’t demonstrate it, won’t have much
of an impact.
• Talk about your work ethic often. Begin meetings by allowing employees to share personal examples of how they went out of their way for a customer, for example, or overcame a challenge at work, or chose to do “the right thing” as opposed to “the easy thing.” Share your own stories as well.
• Celebrate success. Recognize employees who demonstrate the work ethic you want to see throughout your organization. Praise, awards, impromptu celebrations, or even incentives will ensure that the right behavior gets noticed—and repeated.
—Adapted from the MarketWatch website