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How to keep your Valued Employee singing like a RockStar (or atleast on-key)

When I am called upon to address an issue of performance with an employee, I begin by making the premise that 'only in the experience of present and current events can anyone accurately perceive with all of their senses what is happening, and fully engage.'

This may come off as psychobabble, so let me take the mystery out of it.

With a background in HR behavioral health, recruitment and talent management fundamentals as well as clinical counseling degrees and certifications, you can expect that I’m going to tackle this task by pulling techniques of Behavioral Mental Health Therapy out of my proverbial hat.

It goes without saying that any company will want immediate resolution of negative effect and rapid turnaround of their star employee back to stellar performance and retention, perhaps expecting the work will be executed with a plan straight out of a Stephen Covey or Gary Hamel playbook.

But if you ask an interdisciplinary, behaviorally-focused professional like me, with years of experience addressing employee happiness and fulfillment issues in the workplace how I probe into this matter, I’m going to tell you that if 53% of the day the employee is distracted, which increases their negative emotions (this study was conducted by GILBERT), then 47% of the day their thoughts are OVER THERE about THEN, while life is happening HERE…and NOW.

To illustrate this point, how many of us want that distracted Surgeon or Pilot to be the one operating on - or flying us - across continent? Let alone tinkering with our technologies?

When we are distracted, we are missing important cues for action. Whether road signs or motivation, subliminal cues are not enough when we are distracted.

Whether I attend to such critical HR matters as recruiting a top-notch engineer, designer or scientist to a new home, or “fine tuning” an employee’s happiness, I make it clear that WHAT someone is doing, and WHAT someone is thinking about, as well as HOW they feel about it in the Present Moment is fundamental to my contribution.

I may openly question whether the organization itself needs fine tuning, and probe whether a dive into the topic of organizational health is required before I discuss how I’ll work with an employee going sideways.

I may address the bigger issue this data points to:

How do you bring more 'Quality of Attention' to the workplace?

If you were able to address what matters most to each individual during your agile team meetings at morning scrum, put more focus on building a respectful, collaborative community where teammates can trust one another, have honest discussions and sense of assurance they will be listened-to, might you have fewer employee performance issues?

I dare to ask. And might mention that as members of a team share ideas and feel empowered to take risks, performance and productivity increases follow.

But for now, let’s get back to what I’m about to be paid for: helping retain this valued employee.

I will address that turnaround with an outline that checks all of the employee’s antecedents, assesses such topics as incentives, milestones, measurement criteria and deadlines that impact their behavior, and proceed to engage, coach and counsel on commitment and goals.

I will put focus on flushing out where the individual is dropping the ball on responsibilities and diligence, where they are feeling stagnant and stifled, unable to reinvent and reach for innovation, or perhaps reactive to a perceived lack of empathy or threat in the workplace.

We’ll explore stretch goals - all the aspects of their huge ambition that inspire their motivation and dreams – as well as the polarizing panic it also creates.

We’ll break ideas, dreams and ambitions into short-term goals that are achievable. Where I see a bottleneck, I’ll suggest willingness to “Let Go." Where I see lack of enthusiasm on a critical project, I’ll probe for where the individual feels they can have the most influence and impact over the initiative, and equally, their own life.

In my experience, highly productive people recoil from finding one system that works and sticking to it, choosing instead to frequently change-up their methods. I will seek their input on options and assigned tasks that affect themselves and their team.

I’ll need up to 90 days with preferably 1 year available for intermittent follow-up to bring recommendations and corrective action to fruition.

In the long run, how I assist an individual employee is not dissimilar to how I work with an executive leader in reaching mindfulness of what’s vitally important to them:

What they are doing, What they are thinking about, and How they are feeling about it in the Present Moment that leads to Behavior.

Creating a TO DO LIST is the foundation of my work with my individual clients, which isn’t an overnight sensation but a deeper, inner-questioning that I expect my coachee to put 100%+ energy into compiling.

If they aren’t spending free waking moments thinking and writing on the subject, and dreaming about it too during our work together, I let them know that there are a plethora of other coaches in town who will just let them talk - and take their money without results.

In my years of professional work, I’ve never had a successful outcome without someone seriously addressing an issue by trying hard to improve their condition and situation, doing homework between our sessions to get ahead, and being willing to create even more anxiety, stress and discomfort to reach the calm, satisfaction and happiness they want.

At the end of our work together they will feel certain that we have covered all of the critical subject areas, as well as the contradictory possibilities in career and work, personal, social, and their spiritual selves. Their ego and sense of self will have been nurtured. Their self-esteem recognized, validated and supported.

Whether a Performance Management engagement, an Individual or Leadership coaching assignment or a Recruitment project, it’s critical that I first flush out the CREATIVE HOPELESSNESS that exists in the hearts and minds of every client.

Whether a Rockstar or highly valued employee, it’s my job to lead them to understand during our time together that only by our speaking to uncover and find ACCEPTANCE of a problem, clarification of their VALUES and what they care about, and by determining the WHY of what they are truly COMMITTED TO, will we be in a position to create a plan for them to reach the ACTION…that brings successful return to peak performance in the HERE and NOW.

Whether you are a company, an executive or an employee reading this, ask yourself:

If you got back even 1% of the time you’ve lost in not liking what you are doing, not knowing where you’re going, or why, would you be able to put that time to more purposeful use?

Let’s sing about it.

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