Carrot vs. the Stick: VoC Driven Performance Management

While presenting at a recent client meeting, I received an interesting reaction from one of the attendees. Having just gone through a case study into how we highlighted a segment of agents who were underperforming in a specific area, we discussed the next steps of working with them to build specified coaching plans around how to improve their scores. But the reaction I got was one of surprise, “So you used the feedback as a positive?” he asked.

This reaction strikes at a topic which regularly crops up within the Performance Management world of whether you use your Voice of the Customer (VoC) program as a carrot by which to tempt improved performance, or the stick to beat under-performing staff. Opinions will vary with who you speak to on what drives the best results for your business (and some even advocating that neither are needed).

For me something clicked at a recent conference I attended where a speaker shared their view that the vast majority of employees actually do want to achieve their best. While it is unescapable that there will always be certain “bad eggs” that who continue to underperform despite the businesses best efforts, the majority want to be high achievers. And I agree, who actually wants to be bad at their job?

But if this is true, why then is only 22% of the US workforce engaged (as stated in Gallup’s 2013 State of the American workplace report)? Why is it that the majority of people want to do well at their job but are so disengaged in the workplace?

I can only think of one reason; businesses are not maximising their employees’ potential.

It is the business’s responsibility ) to ensure that employees are equipped with the right Performance Management tools, not only to measure, but to fairly and accurately understand their outputs, the impact it is having, and most importantly, how they can improve and achieve their best.

Combining both Performance Management and VoC solutions enables organizations (and their frontline employees) to achieve the highest levels of performance, rather than simply offering measurements by which they can weed out the current lower scorers. Organizations can understand who their best employees are, and why they’re the best; and who needs to improve and how they can do so. The combined solution offers more than just the carrot – it helps organizations figure out how to plant, grow and receive a whole sack of vegatables!

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