Fewer Than Half Of Employees Know If They're Doing A Good Job

One of our recent studies asked more than 30,000 employees to rate the statement “I know whether my performance is where it should be.” In an ideal world, every person in every job would say ‘I always know!’ But that’s not what I found.  Just look at this chart...


Only 29% of people said they ‘Always’ know whether their performance is where it should be. By contrast, 36% of folks said they ‘Never’ or ‘Rarely’ know and 21% said they only ‘Occasionally’ know.

It’s no wonder managers and employees have disagreements about whether their performance meets or exceeds expectations; more than half of employees don’t have a clear idea about whether they’re doing a good job.

So how can you fix this?  By using a technique we call Word Pictures.  

Word Pictures™ are behavioral descriptions that an organization can use to set explicit behavioral expectations, distinguish between high and low performers and hardwire accountability. What an organization needs is a tool to teach employees about the attitudes, behaviors, values and standards that you want them to exhibit.

You can use Word Pictures to revamp your performance reviews, teach employees, set high standards, and more! In fact, Caesar’s Palace used our Word Pictures to set new standards in customer service for all their hotel & casino employees, and immediately thereafter, scored their highest customer satisfaction scores ever!

Word Pictures use a 3-part set of standards, called Needs Work (to describe poor behaviors), Good Work, and Great Work (to describe high performer behaviors).

With this 3-part model (based on a learning technique called ‘concept attainment’) you can easily distinguish great from mediocre performance. And you will never again have employees asking why you didn’t give them the highest score on their performance reviews!

Here’s an example Word Picture that a client created to teach employees how to be Accurate in their work. Notice that in the Needs Work column they wanted employees to understand that it’s never a good idea to hide mistakes in the hopes that they won’t be discovered. Instead, as you can see in the Great Work column, they want all employees and leaders to appreciate it when mistakes are found and even proactively report their own mistakes.


On Friday we're presenting a live webinar called WORD PICTURES--The Best Tool For Setting Performance Standards.  In this special event, we’ll give you lots of Word Pictures, including Innovation, Expertise, Customer Service, Accuracy, Flexibility, Management, Communication, Financial-Awareness and more!

And we’ll show you techniques, from companies like Caesar’s Palace, about amazing ways to institute Word Pictures into your culture to teach all employees how to be high performers.

Posted by Mark Murphy on 27 September, 2016 Leadership Skills, Performance Appraisal, Research | 1 comment
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  • Phyllis L MacIntyre - September 29, 2016

    Useful lessons on leadership and employee engagement.

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