As we rush through our work during the year, it can be hard to focus on much other than hard data to tell us whether our staff is succeeding. Are productivity metrics improving? Have revenues increased? Have we met all our deadlines?
Analysis of such information is a critical element of management. However, there are other ways to evaluate whether your teammates are the right fit for the long term. As the end of the year approaches, it is a good time to take a step back, put the reports aside, and ask yourself some different questions to help you determine if you have the right team for long-term growth -- as well as whom you should promote or release.
1. Are you inspired by the person?
A first question to consider is whether the employee inspires you in some way -- small or large. Do you see behavior or output that makes you proud to be at the business? Does the commitment or creativity impress you or perhaps help you to be more effective in completing your own work?
Every employee at the company has the ability to inspire you, no matter his or her particular rule. Keep an eye out for employees who inspire you to be your best -- and be sure to reward those whose performance lifts the bar at the business.
2. Do you spend a disproportionate amount of time boosting their morale?
If you have spent any time in management, you will surely have experienced working with employees who may be productive and good at their work but who demand a disproportionate amount of attention for one reason or another. Lengthy talks about how to keep an employee happy and repeated requests for promotions or increased compensation are sure signs that the fit is wrong.
In some cases, the issue may be your own fault -- for example, if your great employee celebrates a fifth anniversary at your highly profitable business and has yet to receive a pay raise. However, more often than not, when an employee’s requests for more become a regular topic of conversation, it is time to part ways. By keeping such an employee onboard, you risk wasting management’s time and mental bandwidth, and you risk an outbreak of negativity that could disrupt your culture.
3. Are you thankful for the person?
As you look ahead to 2016 and whether you have the right colleagues for the New Year and beyond, a final useful question to ask is -- are you grateful to have the person on your team? Throughout the year, your brain is collecting data on each employee with whom you interact, whether you realize it or not. If you force yourself to think about how the employee makes you feel, your gut may be able to tell you more than any reports or individual bits of data can.
Chris Lester, CEO of Chief, a Washington, D.C.-based brand strategy, technology and communications agency, suggests asking yourself whether you can say, "Thank goodness this person is here" about each of your employees. If you cannot, take a hard look at that particular employee, ask what may be wrong, and take necessary action to address the issue. In some cases, a discussion with the person about what you have observed and what the business needs may be enough to get the person where you hope. In other cases, it is time to make an employment change.
Good employees come and go, but it takes a great team member to make a lasting, meaningful impact on a business. As you think about where your team is headed next year, spend some time asking the questions above in relation to each employee. The answers may surprise you -- and they may give you more insight than any of your year-end reports ever could.