Managers and employees should work together as teammates and share accountability for the employee’s performance says Garry Ridge, CEO of WD-40 in a new article just published in the May issue of Chief Learning Officer magazine. Drawing on some of the key concepts from his 2009 book with Ken Blanchard, Helping People Win at Work: A Business Philosophy Called “Don’t Mark My Paper, Help Me Get an A,” Ridge explains that leaders need to:
- Establish goals, objectives and performance standards. “People need to know what is expected of them,” he explains. “All good performance starts with clear goals. If employees don’t have dear expectations, they sit and quit, meaning they show up for work but do not give their best because they are unsure of what to do.”
- Provide day-to-day coaching—or what Ridge calls execution. This is where a manager observes and monitors the performance of his or her people, praising progress and redirecting where necessary. At WD-40 this process includes a series of formal, quarterly conversations during which employees sit down with their supervisors to discuss how things are going.
- Take a partnership approach to performance reviews. As Ridge explains, “What we do is have a one-on-one conversation during our quarterly meeting and review each person’s assessment of himself or herself. If the leader disagrees outright with an employee’s self assessment, we always ask, ‘What’s going on in your life and your business that is not allowing what we expected to happen? How can I help?’ No finger-pointing is tolerated. It’s a partnership. We don’t play the blame game, because we know leaders are accountable and responsible, too.”
When Leaders Help People Win At Work, Both the Organization and the Employees Benefit
Is employee performance a shared responsibility in your organization?
“When employees have clear expectations, meaningful work and day-to-day support, it impacts their level of engagement,” Ridge explains. ”At WD-40, our engagement score is 93 percent, which means that 93 percent of our people globally get up every day and go to work doing meaningful work–work they find is adding value to them and the company on a daily basis.”
To learn more about Ridge’s approach to performance management, be sure to check out Building a Performance-Based Culture in this month’s issue of Chief Learning Officer.