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Demystify on-the-job excellence

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in Leaders & Managers,People Management

From the moment your employees arrive at work, they should know exactly what's expected of them and what they need to do to excel. Your job is to tell them.

In the book Punching In, Alex Frankel writes about his stint as a Starbucks barista. On his first day, his supervisor gives him a "Green Apron Book" that outlines five goals for employees: be welcoming, genuine, knowledgeable, considerate and involved.

By exemplifying these traits, employees earn rewards. For example, a supervisor who recognizes a barista for "being welcoming" means that worker is "one-fifth on the way to receiving a special award pin," Frankel writes. "If you were recognized in all five areas, you received a Green Apron pin." If you think it's silly to give prizes to employees who act professionally, think again. It pays to create a measurement sys-tem to evaluate superior performance. Consider your best workers' behaviors, attitudes and skills. Then devise qualitative metrics to gauge the extent to which all staff-ers embody these strengths.

Define your expectations for success in specific terms. If you want people to deliver superb customer service, for instance, identify what constitutes such service. That may mean fulfilling all promises within a stated time frame or writing thank-you notes to prominent customers.

Next, select the types of rewards you can dangle for individuals who exceed your expectations. They may scoff at a special pin, but not at a chance to earn paid time off.


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