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Relax HR folks, we are not advocating the return of that medieval torture device. Instead, we are suggesting a systematic approach to helping employees be successful. RACK is an acronym:
As managers, we have all bemoaned the employee that was a bad hire, an under-performer, or that minimal performer (doing just enough not to get fired). So the question is, why are they still on our Team and what can we do to rectify the situation.
During my management and consulting work, I have adopted the RACK approach to managing an organization’s most valuable asset… PEOPLE!
R… Responsibility: Start with the premise that most Employees want to be successful. Too often, as managers, we don’t clarify what success looks like. In the Interview Process, we need to identify the skills, experiences and attitude necessary to be successful in the job. As Lori Greiner (Shark Tank) says, “Hire for Character and Train for Skills”. Make sure the new hire knows what is expected and what SUCCESS looks like in the position they are being hire for.
A… Accountability: In the first 30 days, it is our responsibility, as the manager, to ensure the new hire has the orientation, training, and tools they need to be successful. Also, we need to diligently remove all obstacles that could/would hinder their success.
Hold employees to the standard of performance you outlined in their interview and hiring. Coach using SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-based) Goals that the employee can see for themselves whether they are successful or not.
C… Coach / Complement / Compensate / Consequences: The “C” phase requires Objectivity! As a manager, we should be constantly COACHING our Team: individually, collectively, daily, weekly, and monthly.
That includes COMPLEMENTS to encourage and reinforce their positive efforts; ensure Top-Performers are appropriately COMPENSATED, and Under-Performers know the CONSEQUENSES.
Personally, I follow a 30/60/90 Day Coaching Cycle for New Hires. The first 30 days it is on me to ensure they have all they need (orientation, training, tools, equipment, and information) to be successful; and to make sure there are no organizational/cultural obstacles.
The next 30 Days, the New Hire needs to demonstrate that they can be successful based on the objective criteria set for Minimum Performance. Personally, I use Weekly/Monthly Performance Reports that EVERYBODY on the Team can see to coach the New Hire and ALL Team Members.
At the 90 Days Mark, a New Hire knows whether they can/will be successful. Usually, New Hires that have failed to hit the Minimum Performance Standard over the first 60 Days leave on their own. They leave with their personal dignity intact and that avoids the negative impact on the Team of a firing;
K… Consistent: Manage with OBJECTIVITY… Have clearly defined Goals and Minimum Performance Standards!!!
Unfortunately, the Car Business has been prone to subjectivity in managing our most valuable asset… PEOPLE! Clear and Objective Performance Metrics would make the Team and Managers focus on what’s important and reduce favoritism (true or perceived) that often undermines employee morale, efforts, and success.
As managers, we are not perfect. All of us are “Works in Progress”. Hopefully, this brief summation of the RACK gives you some insight and inspiration to improve how you manage your Team.