The Behavioral Change Plan

How effective have performance reviews been in your organization? After reviewing the performance review, it seems as though this process does very little in regards to actually affecting behavioral change. It’s like the old saying, “you have to want to change … you can’t make someone change”. In an article from Chief Learning author David Maxfield, how to have an influence over behavioral change is addressed.

Changing your employees’ behaviors isn’t just a job, it effects the organization’s productivity and reduces spending and costs. The leading tactic in behavioral change has been the performance review … but that hasn’t proved itself to be very effective. Every year, managers explain to employees how they need to change, then the employee buys into the ‘being better’ (i.e.: incentives) idea but still fails to actually change. What gives?

Here are a few findings from VitalSmart’s 2009 Lake Wobegon at Work study and this year’s Career-Limiting Habits study:

1. Most employees have unrealistically high opinions of their performance, are surprised by negative feedback, don’t believe they get clear feedback on what they should do, and believe their boss is holding them back.

2. Employees’ top five career-limiting habits (CLHs) are unreliability, “it’s not my job,” procrastination, resistance to change and negative attitudes.

3. Seventy percent of employees who are aware their boss is unhappy with their performance can’t verbalize what they are doing wrong or how they are going to change.

It is very common that even after not-so-hot performance reviews, employees have a hard time changing their behaviors. Analyzing data about top performers to differentiate what they do differently from other employees has given a little insight into this conundrum. A few behaviors that these top-performers posses include that a) they know their stuff, b) they focus on the right stuff, and c) they build a reputation for being helpful. Under-performers can enhance their facade by adding these behaviors to their work environment repertoires.

As a talent manager, you can help your under-performers step it up a notch by helping them develop a “change plan”, targeting ways to supplement their personal motivation, personal ability, social motivation and social ability, and enhance their structural motivation and ability. As a talent manager, you have the ability to encourage and enable lasting behavioral change. How? Create a performance improvement plan involving the following steps:

– Have employees who receive a poor performance review measure themselves against the three common behaviors from top performers and tailor the behaviors to their specific career circumstances.

– Ask employees to meet with their managers and co-workers to discover where they are lacking and what development or behaviors they need to be seen as a top-performer.

– Once employees have finalized the behaviors they will improve, have them create tactics within each of the six sources to drive behavior change.

– Finally, leaders can work with employees to ensure they create a six-source change plan and help them implement tactics as needed.

Creating a plan to help employees improve will increase their productivity, and hopefully create a positive change for them individually within the workplace. No one likes to be the one lagging behind. Help all of your employees be the best they can be. To read more about these tactics and how to create a positive behavioral change in your employees, click here to read the full article.


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