Changing Employee Behavior
One of the best ways to change employee behavior so that it sustains is to use praise.
Hosted by Kevin Dieny
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Links Mentioned & Helpful Resources from Episode
- Kevin Dieny’s LinkedIn Profile
- Changing employee behavior 50% statistic source (IMD.org)
- The Infinite Value of Feedback Loops (previous podcast episode)
[00:00:00] Kevin Dieny: Hello and welcome to the Close the Loop podcast. I’m your host, Kevin Dieny, and today we’re gonna be talking about changing employee behaviors. That’s not gonna be the easiest thing. Hah, I think, uh, gosh, you have to put yourself back, right? Those first, that first week, that first few days, maybe where you step into the role of management or leadership.
[00:00:24] Kevin Dieny: You know, anytime where you’re overseeing employees, maybe you’re working on a project indirectly for the first time. Uh, many have found themselves going, Man, I wish I could change , change this person, or change this role, or change this employee for the better. And then we’d all be better off! Hah hah… Uh, maybe not.
[00:00:45] Kevin Dieny: Maybe everything’s just been smooth sailing for you, so you might be an expert in this. Uh, changing the behaviors of employees is, I would say difficult. I mean, changing the behaviors of anyone is difficult. Throughout this whole thing, I, in doing the research for this episode, I kept thinking about, man, this is so much like parenting.
[00:01:10] Kevin Dieny: This is so much heh… There’s so much involved in, in this. And a lot of this comes from knowledge of parenting mixed with what I’m learning about and managing and changing behaviors of others and, and employees. Uh, changing the behaviors of it yourself. Uh, it’s all difficult. Heh, uh, it’s very difficult to do.
[00:01:27] Kevin Dieny: It’s not something that I think inherently is built into every single person, how to do this perfectly. Uh, even what’s even more interesting is how much people think this isn’t even possible. . Uh, there’s a lot of employees who say our managers and both employees and managers say, What are you thinking? You know, you have to hire the right person for the role and that’s it.
[00:01:51] Kevin Dieny: You’re stuck. You’re not gonna be changing their behaviors, you’re not gonna change their attitudes. That doesn’t happen! Um, one of the studies I saw said that, that from the thousands of managers that they interviewed, it was 50%, pretty close to 50% cut down the middle that believed you could change employee behavior, and the other side said you could not.
[00:02:12] Kevin Dieny: So that’s a pretty divisive, pretty divided idea. Pretty divided conclusion for managers. So this topic could be divisive. I am just warning you now. But, I’m gonna give you some input. I, I have some training, I have some experience doing this, I’ve read a little bit and I’ve seen what the research has to say, what has worked from studies, what managers have had to say.
[00:02:39] Kevin Dieny: And so that’s what I’m gonna be bringing to the table today. Hopefully will help you, guide you toward what I think could be some interesting ideas that could help you change the behavior of your employees so that you can improve the growth of your business. I think it goes without saying that if business leaders could grow their business better, they would want to.
[00:03:01] Kevin Dieny: If that requires them to change the behavior of their employees, they may go, Hmm, is that worth it? Is that possible? So, yeah, let’s dive in. Uh, here’s a great, uh, headline for you. The best managers at changing the behavior of their employees are going to rely on feedback. We’ve had an episode, well, I think it was our very first episode, and a couple episodes after that where we’ve really dived in and focused on feedback.
[00:03:29] Kevin Dieny: Feedback is any time that you’re learning from the outputs of something. So the faster… Remember again, the faster you can you wanna learn, the more behaviors you wanna change, the better you want to change your behavior. It’s gonna rely on high frequency, high quality feedback. So we’re gonna talk about how to get there with employees.
[00:03:48] Kevin Dieny: But the truth is, at the end of the day, right, some employees may not be willing to change, may not want to change, There may not be an incentive or a motivator, an intrinsic or extrinsic value to them in changing. The culture of your environment of where you work, of your company may not even be suitable for handling this change that you want.
[00:04:11] Kevin Dieny: I mean, uh, it’s like you’re asking them to change when you’re not willing to change. So a lot of this at the end of the day, I think too, comes down to the manager, the leader, being able to model and create an environment where the behaviors you want are part of the culture, right? Sustainable culture that you have.
[00:04:31] Kevin Dieny: Again, let’s dive right into the what the antagonistic opposite of this is, right? So what are people saying around changing employee behavior where they say it can’t be done, no way. So what are the most common arguments against it? So we’ll start there, the first one is, you could not successfully change employee behaviors.
[00:04:54] Kevin Dieny: Right, you might be able to correct it in the short term. You might be able to bend it to your will through force or coercion, but you’re not able to actually change their attitude or behavior. Well, that’s an interesting one, right? I mean, 50% believe that. So, uh, maybe that’s the case, but I don’t believe that that is, and the reason I don’t think that that’s true is.
[00:05:17] Kevin Dieny: That I, I believe that people want a better environment. People, you know, you come to work for a company, if you’re not there to help the company grow or you don’t want to be part of that, you don’t want to, you know, you don’t believe in the mission, what the company stands for, what it’s trying to achieve, right? With its purpose or where it’s headed, it’s vision.
[00:05:38] Kevin Dieny: You know, if none of that aligns with you as an employee, I think we’re looking and talking about an employee, maybe disgruntled, maybe someone who’s not really, there maybe not doesn’t belong there, right. There’s probably a better place for them. So we’re specifically, I think what I’m thinking of as I’m picturing the average typical employee, right.
[00:05:59] Kevin Dieny: Who may have things that are more important to them than work, right. Lots, I think that’s the general, the case. You know, their family, their friendship, social, um, the social standing they have with their coworkers, people around them, their reputation. They may need the job for financial purposes too, obviously.
[00:06:18] Kevin Dieny: But at the end of the day, I think, you know, they are there for more than just to, to complete a task. This is my belief, and I think if that’s true, then an employees can be motivated, their attitudes can change, their behaviors can change. And it, I think it helps best when again, the manager or the leader is modeling that behavior that they want to change.
[00:06:43] Kevin Dieny: So second argument against changing employee behavior, okay, is employees will only change for substantial financial or monetary incentives. Well, I think that it is pretty well established that financial incentives are very strong. . You do this, you get money for it. I mean, the nature of work, you work, you get paid, right?
[00:07:09] Kevin Dieny: what else is there? But there’s a lot, there’s actually an interesting paradigm that a lot of, um, business management consulting companies have been trying to uncover psychologically, what are people motivated by? What are people willing to change for, Right. And that, I think at the top of that are things like, it aligns with who their values.
[00:07:31] Kevin Dieny: Who they see themselves as, what things they stand for. They’re willing to change when it aligns with their existing values, right? They have a place or position where they currently are, but something is better. Just over the fence. , the grass is greener over there. They’d be willing to go there when it aligns with their values.
[00:07:50] Kevin Dieny: There’s other things too, right? Makes it easier to do your job. Uh, there might be a case where it’s a better environment for you, for your work. It’s a shorter commute. Maybe there’s benefits, there’s, there’s a lot of, I think things you could say are incentive incentivizing for someone to go after, besides financial.
[00:08:08] Kevin Dieny: That some people may value more than others. I don’t think there’s just a, I think in general financial is the number one, but there are other things that people value. Right. What do you value? What’s important to you? You know, if someone said, Well, what would it take for you to work 10 more minutes, 15 more minutes every day at work?
[00:08:28] Kevin Dieny: I mean, you may be like, Well, I accidentally do that all the time. , or I go way beyond that every day. But if someone brought it up to you at first and said, Okay. You know, what would it cost or what would help you work that extra? 10, 15 minutes every day. Right? Is it just financial? Um, maybe you work that extra because the traffic is lighter or you know, there might be benefits of leaving a little earlier to catch a family or sports game.
[00:08:53] Kevin Dieny: A son or daughters softball, soccer team game or practice or something like that. There are some interesting. Values that people have, and the better that a manager or a leader, I believe, understands those things for each employee, the better they can be. And again, that’s something you gain through feedback, through having a conversation, maybe one on ones, uh, at some routine basis with employees.
[00:09:17] Kevin Dieny: So last one. The last counter to, it’s not possible to change employee behavior. Right. And that is, uh, changes to employee behaviors always revert back to the way they were after a short time . This one really makes me laugh because as I encounter, have encountered this and do encounter this all the time, right?
[00:09:44] Kevin Dieny: Sure. You. You say, Hey, will you do something? I’ll pay you an incentive, financial incentive. If you do this thing, then you get paid, and people may do it, but how do you get ’em to keep doing it and stay doing it for a long time? You know? Will it continue to hold the same value to them, or will it have to, the value have to be increased.
[00:10:03] Kevin Dieny: Will you know, now that you’ve had them achieve, let’s say, you know, now they’re 70%, how do you get ’em to 80%? Right? How do you keep, Let’s. A change, moving in the right direction, sustainable change, . I do believe it’s hard, and I think the, the, the reason I think that this one is so common and so true, is that by default, right people, it’s hard to turn a behavior into a habit.
[00:10:29] Kevin Dieny: You have, you know, you’re doing something maybe all the time at work. Maybe not at home. Maybe you’re doing, you know, what you’re doing, uh, for the behavioral change, but it’s just not setting in something about it isn’t settling down to the point where you would do it that way all the time. And to get behaviors and attitudes that become more permanent, to turn them into a more of a habit definitely requires, I think, a higher level approach to motivation than simply, you know, I think it takes a better understanding of the values of an employee to get them to push them to a sustainable habitual level of change.
[00:11:10] Kevin Dieny: So that’s why I think that one’s absolutely problematic. . All right. So, um, I think we’re gonna start out with the, there’s a process here and I think you. It’s best to deal with how we’re going to get to changing employee behavior if we go through this, The process that it takes to get there, there is basically, I would say like four steps.
[00:11:34] Kevin Dieny: This is what I have put together for this episode is I believe there’s four steps right now. It, it’s hard to remember on a podcast. , what was step number two again? When I’m on three. Okay, so I’ll, I’ll continue to reiterate them as we go so that you can follow along a little bit. Right. So the first one, very important.
[00:11:56] Kevin Dieny: We’re not even gonna be getting to the behaviors yet. We’re not even gonna be getting . We’re gonna be looking at this organizationally, which is what are the roles, the functions, the duties, and the schedule, right? Like how this all come fits together of your employees. So I’m talking about your direct reports, okay?
[00:12:16] Kevin Dieny: If you have a lot direct reports, this could be a long, this is a big list. This is a big org. This is a big duties, functions, roles chart. Uh, take your take. Just one. Okay. So why listening to this? Think of just one direct report employee and think of, okay, what’s their role? What’s their function? What’s their duties?
[00:12:38] Kevin Dieny: Okay, so let me define those. Their role is what is kind of like their asso is sort of like their authority, right? So what’s their role That’s unique to. Different than the other employees, like what’s special, unique, and gives them the authority over what they’re doing. If you have, there’s a, there’s a couple versions of this.
[00:12:59] Kevin Dieny: One of them is like too many cooks in the kitchen. Okay? If you have too many redundant roles, doing a simple, doing the single role, all trying to do it all together in the same kind of localized place, you may have sort of a power struggle occurring. So, Obviously you can have people with the same role, but usually they’re divided, right?
[00:13:18] Kevin Dieny: Geographically, location, or there’s multiple tasks that in, in different areas or something that requires, uh, divided attention so that you can assign this role to each one and there may be a purpose to having it the way you do. So think of a role, okay? So think of an employee, maybe one you have a behavior you’d like to change, okay?
[00:13:38] Kevin Dieny: And then think of their role. Okay? What is unique about their. You know, what’s different about that role than any other role you have? Okay. And where does it sit in relation to okay, you. And do they have direct reports to them? Do they have, uh, horizontal or coworkers, other teams, other people they were, they work with that are sideways, right?
[00:13:59] Kevin Dieny: There’s a whole flow through in your company and that’s organizationally how it. Okay. The duties is what things they’re required to do to be successful in that role, Right? So there is success in that role. Well, what’s success look like, right? If you’re thinking of, let’s say, um, a secretary, okay. Let’s say, just use an example here.
[00:14:22] Kevin Dieny: You’re thinking of a secretary, someone who’s working in the office, sort of an adminis. They have a behavior you’d like to adjust. , I’m saying that nicely, adjust. Okay. Change and this administrator, this secretary assistant, whatever it is, um, the assistant, the role of the secretary, that’s the role. Right?
[00:14:44] Kevin Dieny: And they’re unique. Maybe say they’re unique because they facilitate and handle calls, they schedule and they’re, they are responsible for connecting people with. Other person that maybe they’re in charge of, like the connections. So that’s their role, their duties. What is, what are they responsible for, for success?
[00:15:05] Kevin Dieny: Say, Well man, they do a lot of stuff. You know, for me, I wouldn’t, I don’t know if I’d say, you know, like printing or compiling or they decorate the office. No, no, no. Think about what is, so what are the, what’s the critical primary function of that responsibility, of that role that helps the company be more successful?
[00:15:24] Kevin Dieny: It might be, Whoa, answering the phones is a big deal for them. , Right. And supporting and helping my needs so that I’m not so stretched thin as a secondary. Okay, so now you got these, uh, those are duties. Okay. So you have the person, the role, maybe the duties listed there, maybe the roles and how they sit.
[00:15:46] Kevin Dieny: The last, um, and again, I said function, function and role are fairly similar there. Okay. The last thing is the schedule is. The capacity of when they’re supposed to be fulfilling their role and when and how they accomplish their duties. So you might say, well, they’re nine to five, six to. Uh, five or something, six to four, whatever their timeframe is.
[00:16:11] Kevin Dieny: That’s, that’s a part of it. But also how does that, What happens during the day? Right. Okay. When they get in these things and then they have these things and maybe they’ve carved out their own schedule of what they’re gonna do, that’s fine. But generally speaking, you as a manager, you need to think about it as a top level, right?
[00:16:29] Kevin Dieny: Higher level. Okay. They need to answer phones and support. Okay, so those two things need to occur during the day. So you might say, Okay, well the day the slot while they’re available is primarily to answer phones. And then in between, there might be tasks, secondary things that, you know, that slot in for helping and supporting me.
[00:16:49] Kevin Dieny: Maybe the afternoons are quieter, maybe the mornings are quieter. I don’t know, , maybe the whole thing is just a crazy chaotic mess. But within. Within the schedule. Right. When do the problematic behavior and you just pick one. . , right. You know, I go, Wow. Just one. Yes. Just pick one. Um, hopefully there’s just one.
[00:17:16] Kevin Dieny: No pick one Problematic behavior of this example, right, Of the one you’re thinking of. Pick one problematic behavior you wish was. I go, Well, gosh, I wish they would do this. You know, and they do this all the time. Those are the kind of behaviors you wanna be thinking about. Frequent, um, problematic issues, behaviors, you know, a one off thing, like someone yelled.
[00:17:41] Kevin Dieny: That’s not exactly what we’re focusing on. Focusing on frequently occurring, problematic behavior. Think of one, think of something that occurs that you would just like to change. All right. And from that, right? Think about, okay, well, during the schedule of a day, so an average day, when does that problematic behavior occur?
[00:18:03] Kevin Dieny: Why? You know, what’s the situation, What’s the circumstance? And that should give you a little bit better idea of what you’re dealing with. Here it’s like, okay, well, hmm. Just from. Kevin has mentioned so far, if you think about it and you’re like, Well, the problematic behavior comes from something that’s not related directly to their their duty.
[00:18:24] Kevin Dieny: Then why are they doing it? Maybe if they just weren’t doing that thing, then I wouldn’t have that problem. I was like, Well, you know, Yeah. It’s not related to the primary, primary duty of answering phones. It’s related more to the second one, which is supporting me. Right. So then in that case, how much is it supporting me?
[00:18:42] Kevin Dieny: Is it worthwhile? You know, like if it’s so important, it has to happen and, but it’s still the cause or trigger of this behavior, then okay, now we’re getting some. If it’s related to someone else, maybe the person answers the phone rudely, . Maybe there’s a, maybe there’s an interaction with some of the other employees that is problematic, right?
[00:19:05] Kevin Dieny: Maybe there, there are some confrontational issues there. Maybe the quality of work is not, not up to the way you would like it. Maybe the, the way the work is done is different. It’s still good, but different than the way you’d. I know anything could be anything, could be a behavioral thing you’d like to change, right?
[00:19:23] Kevin Dieny: It’s frequent enough. It’s occurring enough and it’s important enough to you. Okay, now we’re rolling. And now you’ve seen the context of what we’re getting to, right? What are the triggers? What’s causing it? How important is it? Is it really related to the person’s role? Right? All At the end of the day, that employee is there to, in that role, that specific role, to accomplish their specific duties in the scheduler timeframe that you have.
[00:19:49] Kevin Dieny: Right. That’s what they’re essentially there for. That’s their primary duty. Okay? Things relating to their primary responsibility that are problematic are very, very important for you to try to change. Okay? That’s what we want to really, really focus on. So now ask yourself, Okay, so that’s part one or two.
[00:20:11] Kevin Dieny: Now of this first. Ask yourself, are the roles, the duties, the schedule, are those the way I understand them? Clear to the employees? . Okay. And I’m laughing. I’m sicking again because, uh, this is very rarely the case. Maybe not where you are. That’s awesome. Great. Okay. But are the standards, the responsibilities, the duties, the function, You know, how they sit, their authority, what they’re required to do?
[00:20:44] Kevin Dieny: Maybe it was explained day one. Maybe it’s five years down the road now, 15 years down the road, whatever they’re doing, is it very clear what you’d like them to accomplish, How that relates to accomplishing the goals of the company, Right? How you’d like them to achieve that and how, like what success looks like for that role, for their duty along the way.
[00:21:05] Kevin Dieny: What maybe microsteps are required to achieve that task, that objective? Are they very clear on it? The reason that that’s problematic is if you’re about to try to change a behavior, but , that employee didn’t really realize there was anything wrong. didn’t realize it was causing. A problem against their primary objective, didn’t realize it was impacting you or the company in some way.
[00:21:35] Kevin Dieny: You want to take away the things that they’re ignorantly doing. Let’s, let’s shelve, let’s, let’s help them understand. First off here, the, here’s the role, here’s the function. Let’s be very clear and concise. Here’s the objective and the goals I have for you. Here’s the culture of the company. This is where these come from.
[00:21:52] Kevin Dieny: This is maybe just what I want you to do. This is what I expect, right? Just review. Just be very clear on when and how all these things are gonna be accomplished. And from that, that may clear up some behavior of rural issues, but maybe not all of them, right? That, that just might be the beginning. That’s, that’s why we’re kind of getting it off.
[00:22:10] Kevin Dieny: So cuz this is part, uh, part two now, okay, you defined everything. Now you’re gonna make sure it’s clear and concise for your employees, okay? The third step now is to go, Okay, now once you’ve made this concise and clear to your employees, did you get any. , Right? Were there, is there anything going on with the employee that might be, This could be HR related stuff, personal issues, family issues.
[00:22:36] Kevin Dieny: Who knows? There could be a lot of stuff going on with an employee. Okay. And those things can be impacting this person. Do you have a good understanding of that? Empathy for that, compassion for that? Does it still work for you and the company? Is this, are they in a good place now? Maybe a bad place now? Is it short term, long term consequences to this?
[00:22:55] Kevin Dieny: You. Now you’re at a place where you’ve, you can really gather, ask questions, figure out, Okay, is this a behavior that they’re aware of? Right? Can’t fix something unless you know there’s a problem. is the way aware that there’s a way to, to switch this, to change this alternatives that might be better, different behaviors that could.
[00:23:17] Kevin Dieny: You know, promote what you’re still trying to do, still achieve the tasks they’re after. But the behavior’s different. The attitude is different. You know, attitude and behavior can really make a big difference. So when you’ve gathered that feedback, then you, then it’s when you go, this is the overwhelming part, right?
[00:23:34] Kevin Dieny: Cause now it’s like, okay, I see this employee, I see what they’re responsible for, what they need to accomplish. They are clear on. Right. The behavior that I would like to change, I now have a better understanding of why they’re doing it, what’s causing them to do it, why they’re doing it that way. Right. I can’t tell.
[00:23:57] Kevin Dieny: It brings to mind like a parenting example here. How many times I remember folding clothes and being told that’s not the way you fold the clothes . That’s not the way you fold the. How many different ways are there full of short? Apparently there’s a lot and if you’ve worked, you know, retail clothing, I’m sure you know the best way, but this is just whatever I could, I just basically rolled it up and threw it in there,
[00:24:20] Kevin Dieny: Um, but I was told no, that will promote wrinkling if I do it the way I was doing, right. But I just didn’t care about the wrinkles. So that’s why I did what I did, you know, growing up. I don’t care. So here’s, that’s an example, right? Why is the employee doing that? Well, Kevin was doing it cuz he just didn’t care about wrinkles.
[00:24:37] Kevin Dieny: Okay, well how can I help my employee care about wrinkles? Or see that? Why the wrinkles cause problems, right? The consequence of a behavior, okay, is very important to understand, for instance, If the behavior they’re causing only impacts you, they need to understand its impact on. Okay. If it’s having an impact on your business, meaning the rude to callers, okay, the rude to coworkers, there’s something that’s causing other employees, or you know it’s causing a disruption, causing more time wasted.
[00:25:15] Kevin Dieny: It’s confusing. They need to have a good understanding of that so that they have all the facts too. Feedback needs to be given to you, so you understand, Oh, I see why they’re doing. You know, he’s folding it and he doesn’t care about wrinkles, but how can I help them understand, okay, here’s the problem. You know, you’re gonna look, you’re not gonna look as great as you could without, you know, with a shirt that’s just, looks like it was wedged in a suitcase.
[00:25:41] Kevin Dieny: You know, , like there’s, there’s some something there you might be able to tease out under. Help them understand around why there it is important. Why certain things, behaviors have consequences. What the consequences are. Natural consequences. Right? The results of directly doing it or something more reasonable for you, like, you know, this still gets it done.
[00:26:04] Kevin Dieny: They still achieve the goal and the they fulfill their duty, They still achieve what they’re after. It helps the company, but it’s taking a long time, you know, and if there was a better way to do this, that save time, then we could get more. , Right? So they need to be able to understand that too. And that exchange is the part that I think is overwhelming.
[00:26:27] Kevin Dieny: And I think where management go, Ooh, , you know, I can, I can talk to my employees, I can address small problems with them, but helping them through a behavioral change, helping them with, you know, change management, who that’s overwhelming. Get understanding what’s happening there, fine. But then coming up with a, you know, ways where they can be guided toward changing that behavior.
[00:26:57] Kevin Dieny: Ooh, wow. Difficult. Okay, but this is why you really only wanna focus on one . Okay? And now we get to the meat of this. Okay? You have a good understanding of what’s going on here. You have a better understanding, maybe not a perfect understanding. Okay? Let’s not get that. That’s not, that’s not idealized here.
[00:27:17] Kevin Dieny: okay? You have a better understanding of this problem, this behavioral issue. You wanna. Okay. It’s just one thing. You have a better understanding. You’ve gotten feedback from it. You, they are, They understand clearly what’s going on. You understand clearly what’s going on. Okay, So you have this one time meeting.
[00:27:34] Kevin Dieny: Great. Well, it’s not gonna be a sustainable behavioral change unless you do the next thing that I’m gonna recommend, which is praise. Maybe you’re expecting well just pay them to keep changing or motivate them or slap a, you know, a punishment. If they don’t, No, no, no. It’s none of those things. And I’m not saying, you know, just tell ’em that their hair looks nice, , or the quality of the work is sufficient.
[00:28:00] Kevin Dieny: I’m talking about being very, very specific with praising the behavior, a positive, changed behavior as it happens. Now, this might be a little bit of a self correction. How much are you praising employees today for what they do? Okay. The most common thing that I’ve heard is, well, I praise them when we’d have these big wins, when there’s something so spectacular happens that, Wow, I’m just floored and I gotta come out there and I gotta praise them.
[00:28:31] Kevin Dieny: But, you know, for doing their job or doing their duty, you know, for, for handling things the way that they’re supposed to, I don’t, I don’t say anything. I think that’s wrong. I think that’s incorrect, and I think that is part of what has to be built in to a changing behavior is look at those duties, those responsibilities that you wrote down.
[00:28:56] Kevin Dieny: Okay? The things that are critical to your business success, the primary stuff, okay? Even the secondary stuff can be in there. Look at those things. Do you praise those things when they happen? I go, Well, that happens all the. You know, they take 40 calls a day, so I’m, am I gonna praise after every call? It’s like, okay, well figure this out in like a reasonable way, Okay.
[00:29:19] Kevin Dieny: For walking into your office every time to say, Good job handling a call. Good job handling a call. Wow, you did a really good job handling that call. No, no, no. That’s talk about is the opportunities to praise are everywhere. There’s 40 calls happening, right? There’s a lot of opportunities to praise. Okay.
[00:29:37] Kevin Dieny: There’s also some things you’d like to be changed. There’s also growth and improvement that could happen. Okay. So anytime you want to have like a serious conversation or help them or, or maybe nudge them in the right direction. Let’s say you’re, let’s say that there’s like a, uh, It’s a good way to describe this, like a piggy bank.
[00:30:00] Kevin Dieny: Okay. And every time you’re like, You know what, here’s things that they could do and improve and help and change. Think about those things, right? Like every month or so, two months, there’s something that the employee could do to be better, that would help them, okay? When you address those things you’re taking out of this piggy bank, any money that’s.
[00:30:20] Kevin Dieny: Okay, you’re withdrawing as much as you possibly can because it sort of credit against what you’re about to ask them to do. , you’re basically saying, You know, I’m gonna really need you to do something different, or you know, if this thing needs to be addressed, we need this to happen. Those are withdrawals.
[00:30:34] Kevin Dieny: Now, to make sure you’re not bankrupting yourself in this relationship and this management you have over the employees, you have to put stuff in there so that you can pull something out. And what you put in is praise. An employee does something different than they did that moves them forward in a prog in a progression.
[00:30:56] Kevin Dieny: Maybe they fulfills the duty, the role, the responsibility. There’s a task that they achieved. Something that’s done in a, in a great way, right? Think about it specifically. What did they do? How did they do it? What did you like about it? What was so great about it? That boom is a praise, and you do that often.
[00:31:17] Kevin Dieny: I’m not looking at management like all you’re gonna do is praise all day, every day when you have like 10 employees, no , right? You pick and choose your battles, but you need to make sure that you know the frequency that you’re gonna ask them to change, to improve, to grow, to reach a higher level than they’re at.
[00:31:33] Kevin Dieny: You know, to do more, to take on more. How, Think about that, like where you want them to go and where they’re at today to get there. You know, there’s certain steps they have to take. Okay, what are those steps? Are you tracking that? That’s what you know, you wanna help your employees get there and so you have to be putting stuff in to the piggy bank of, uh, praise to make sure that you’re encouraging them along the.
[00:31:58] Kevin Dieny: You’re helping them see, yeah, I am doing this, I do like this. Or, Wow, this does feel good. Or, Hey, he, he pays attention, he notices. You know, that has to be part of the culture of your, of the business to be able to foster change. Okay, So again, let’s ground ourselves here. What’s required to foster changing employee.
[00:32:21] Kevin Dieny: A culture, a culture of praise, a culture of acknowledging success, acknowledging problems, being able to come together and figure out ideas for changing things, right? Getting feedback, a feedback culture. All of that is involved and all of that needs to be sort of culturally on level for the business as well.
[00:32:43] Kevin Dieny: Maybe for you as a manager, for you, for the business, if you’re an owner. Okay? All of this is important. So where do you start? Right. Again, pick an employee behavior, maybe the most problematic employee with the most problematic behavior. . Pick something. Okay. Figure out, define the. Duties, the roles, responsibilities, what they’re doing, what’s what’s required.
[00:33:08] Kevin Dieny: Make sure you have a better understanding of what’s triggering and causing that problem to occur. Have some empathy. Talk to them, get feedback. Figure out how you could address this together. Figure out if the, how well they understand the problem, right? And then, okay, come up with a plan of how you, how you’re gonna move forward.
[00:33:25] Kevin Dieny: Now, I think I’ve been told that this take, this can take like a month that. You can get, boom, you can knock out a change. I feel it’s closer to like six to six weeks plus. I don’t think it takes that long. I think you might, you might be surprised right now, going six weeks. , I’ve been telling them for years they’re not gonna change.
[00:33:48] Kevin Dieny: Uh, no. Let’s be very clear. You could knock this out probably in four weeks. . Well, let’s stick to six weeks. Okay? Um, you go through the step, Okay? So day one, identify these things, write them down, have that meeting with your employee address and talk about what needs to happen, what needs to change. And I’m thinking of this as a manager to their employee, so, right, So a manager talking to an employee when the employee’s got a behavior that needs.
[00:34:17] Kevin Dieny: Adjustment. Again, using that special phrasing there, the changing of an employee behavior for the better, right For them, better for the company, better for you better, right? Win, win, win. So those are the types of things you’re gonna pick. That one, you’re gonna just try to understand it better, get to the bottom of it, help them understand what’s going on from your point of view, really try to understand their point of view.
[00:34:39] Kevin Dieny: And then it’s like, okay, here’s the plan. You might say, Well, what ideas do you. For fixing this, solving this, addressing this. And the employee might go, Well, wow, they’re valuing my opinion. You know? That’s, that’s really great. That’s so interesting. They wanna know what I think. Um, maybe I’m new to the job, I just need more time, you know, Maybe, So I’m pushing myself.
[00:35:01] Kevin Dieny: There’s a lot going on at home. There’s a lot you could learn from getting feedback, having a one on one, and I’d really suggest one on one for this. Okay. And. You can go from, Man, this problem bugs me to, Wow, we’re on the same team now. We’re both fighting for this thing to change for this, gosh, for this problem, behavior to go away and it fills you.
[00:35:28] Kevin Dieny: And then with optimism, I have been surprised by this process how much, sometimes you bring up something, you start talking about it, you get in and they’re like, This has been really impacting. This has been hurting them. Not just you, but maybe way more. This has been way more of a problem for them than it is for you.
[00:35:46] Kevin Dieny: And so now you’re just lifting off all this weight. Gosh, how good that feels. Right? Now let’s look at some alternative ways that you can change employee behavior and why they’re problematic. Okay? This is the ways you don’t go . I would suggest you not. Okay. Um, sure you can motivate people with money. You can motivate people with time off, with vacations, with flashier equipment tools, a truck, uh, their own, their own.
[00:36:22] Kevin Dieny: Territory customer list. Um, gosh, I think it sky’s the limit, right? You could do those things that are very much aligned with the growth of the company, but are they gonna help the employee achieves? Like, are, are you really setting up the employee for success outside of just what their. Responsibilities are like, how are you gonna help them achieve those?
[00:36:46] Kevin Dieny: And if there’s problematic behaviors in a small area, it’s probably gonna be greater when you scale up things for them. So you kind of wanna address everything as quick and as fast as you can, nip it and then have it, you know, nip it as fast you can so that these things are addressed. It is not so confrontational as it sounds.
[00:37:09] Kevin Dieny: But, and while those things are motivators, strong motivators, Hey, if you do, you know, if you change this, then you know, I’ll give you an extra day off every quarter for every month or something. Or let you leave early on Fridays. That that could be a really, that could be amazing motivator, but there’s still the behavior that’s not addressed.
[00:37:29] Kevin Dieny: Right. Why are they doing it that way? Why it’s important, why they wouldn’t, Like, why can’t you just say, Hey, this thing is a problem. Can we fix this? And they go, Yes. Oh, I’d love to fix that. Doom. Boom, it’s done. Right? What’s keeping you from just getting to there? And the, And those are the things that I think you need to work on with praise, with the proper understanding through feedback of what’s going on.
[00:37:49] Kevin Dieny: And that way you can address the true cause and problem at the source. Okay. Now, what does praise sound like? Okay. When you’re say, Hey, do this thing, you get money, do this thing. Right? It’s sort of a transactional thing. It’s coming from you. It’s not their idea. Okay? Praise sounds like, Hey, this thing that you are struggling with, you’re really doing well at this.
[00:38:19] Kevin Dieny: Like you’ve made improvements. Wow, look at this. This is where things are. This is where they are. Like, Yeah, this. These are areas where like, it’s tough, but look what improvement you’ve had here. Like this is really good. Um, it’s specific, it’s concise. It needs to be done as soon as possible. Okay. So, I don’t wanna say plug, but basically we have a service where we listen to phone calls, okay?
[00:38:46] Kevin Dieny: And we grade the employees, we grade the call handlers. So you can see how you’re doing on the calls. Now, what’s really valuable, okay? What could be a really valuable takeaway here, You get an employee, they handle a bunch of calls in the day. You, at the end of the, near the end of the day before that employee leaves, can you look over a few and see some that were, that where they scored really?
[00:39:07] Kevin Dieny: You know, and you go, Wow, look at this. Like they’ve made improvements in these areas. Maybe in the greeting, maybe at this part of the call, maybe in the ask part of the call, and then you can walk over and say, These calls, you did this, You followed up really well. This is really great. I like the direction things are going really well, like you’re doing a great job.
[00:39:23] Kevin Dieny: Right. This could be at the end of the week. You know, something specific you want them to improve in this example would be their appointment setting skills or call handling skill. But that’s where you want to address it quick, right? You want to be able to talk to them at the PO near the point where the thing that they’re trying to change has happened.
[00:39:42] Kevin Dieny: If it is. Let’s say it’s, you know, being rude on the phone and you’re sitting next to ’em and you go, I’ll just sit with you for a little while, and you hear them take the call and you go, Wow, that was a great way you answered that. Okay. , right. When they have done it is a great time to emphasize praise.
[00:39:58] Kevin Dieny: Okay? If you say, Hey, that thing you did five years ago, that was so good, , you can see how that’s problematic, right? It’s like, well, I don’t remember why I did that, or, Well, I, that’s a long time people. Really gonna be best to influence right in real time or right around the time where they’ve done whatever it is that you want them to do better.
[00:40:18] Kevin Dieny: Okay? And anything they’ve done better is pray is worthy in that problematic direction. Okay? So, It’s like, man, this person always leaves their food in the fridge. That’s the thing I want to change, you know? And then come, you know, at the end of Friday when they’re leaving and you see their food’s on, there you go, Hey, look at that.
[00:40:35] Kevin Dieny: Your food’s on in here. Thank you so much. Like I know that it’s hard to remember and you’re busy on Friday, but I really appreciate that. I might be banging right there. as a praise sounds like. Okay. And. What’s so great about that is it’s like, wow, someone’s, Someone’s paying attention. Okay? . Someone’s really focused on helping me, and that makes a big difference.
[00:40:56] Kevin Dieny: That’ll help employees. Encourage them to have sustainable changes, right? Because that was the third point. Hey, you can change behavior in employees, but none of it’s gonna stick around. Okay? Having the culture and praise continually turns behaviors into habits, turns everyday tasks into purpose, right?
[00:41:15] Kevin Dieny: Helps people identify, this is why I’m doing this, Reminds them, keeps the thing going until it’s second nature, right? Praise is so functionally valuable. It sounds like a gimmicky. Maybe to you. It did to me when I was first starting about it. Praise. You know, I don’t do, I work off praise. Everyone essentially needs guidance and direction and reminders, feedback on how things are going, and they’re going in the right direction that things are going well, and that is what praise gives.
[00:41:47] Kevin Dieny: Now, the last time, let’s say, think of the last time you praised your. Praise the specific employee. Praise the employee that you’re thinking of. That’s problematic. Alright, let’s go there. When was the last time I go? Well, I do it all the time. Okay. Well, again, if we’re focusing on changing one specific type of behavior, let’s really focus on praising those things that an employee does along that, that line of that change, and that might require you to be a little more hands.
[00:42:19] Kevin Dieny: Okay, , do I have to sit with them when they answer phones? Do I have to, you know, pick out the colored paper that I want? Cuz they always use blue and I don’t like that. Yes, you may need to be a little more hands on. In the short term, right? Help them understand, get the right feedback, have that discussion so that in the long term you’re not having that problem continually repeat, okay?
[00:42:44] Kevin Dieny: You are upfront, frontloading your issue so that in solving it and helping and arming your employees with the tools they need to be successful, so long term, you can go back to focusing on the bigger picture. That’s what this whole thing is about. Reacting to, let’s say, Okay, things are going well, and then they reverse and they explode, or there’s a behavior that’s so bad, okay, I’m not, I don’t think.
[00:43:11] Kevin Dieny: You might have a totally different culture than this. I don’t think it fosters change to belittle, discourage to break point out people’s failings. Like the, you want to be honest, you wanna have a good one on one discussion about what’s occurred. You want it to be very clear, but have it be a learning experience.
[00:43:31] Kevin Dieny: You don’t want it to be a debilitating experience. Okay. Um, that’s a totally different way of thinking. Totally different way of motivating. I’m not, That train. Okay. I think that’s going in the wrong direction personally, because I think how you react, how you model the things that you want to do, that you want in your business go a long way.
[00:43:52] Kevin Dieny: I think same thing occurs in parenting. The same thing occurs in relationships with other people is you want there to be respect and even though someone may be, you know, Roles deep beneath you from where you are. There still should be some respect and understanding there of what’s going on. If you wanna address a behavioral change, um, this is the guidance you can give managers beneath you and how you can even model it with them, right?
[00:44:17] Kevin Dieny: Teach a manager how to fish and how they’re fishing with their employees and then their, those employees aren’t right. It passes on. So, you know, some simple questions. Do you have a clear understanding of the behavior that you wanna change? Could you get that? Do you have an understanding of your behaviors, , maybe you problematic behaviors that, uh, your employees see that would help them?
[00:44:40] Kevin Dieny: Okay. That’s interesting, right? Have you tried to kind of walk around in the shoes of your employees? That’s the empathy part. And finally, how can you get more, How can you include praise, get more praise into your everyday business? Uh, It’s harder with a lot of direct reports. It’s harder when you don’t see our direct reports that often, right?
[00:45:06] Kevin Dieny: When you’re not involved in the behavior that you need to change, when there’s, when you don’t have the tools to understand how well they’re doing, uh, or the ability to change something that is problematic. There are certain things you can’t change. There might be situational things or environmental things, or just the way things are done that are not able to be changed, and that’s where hiring for the right role, making sure that it’s very concisely understood the duties, what’s required for success, what every day might look like for someone, is helpful to have clear up front, right, that you’re, you’re really helping yourself in the long run by doing that.
[00:45:50] Kevin Dieny: Reacting to when people make mistakes is first to, you know, try to try to calm it down. Let the situation be not so emotionally charged, and then you can address the problem in a logical way. Some of the problems clear up, you know, by themselves, essentially, you know, like someone does something the wrong way.
[00:46:09] Kevin Dieny: They sort of. Hopefully we’ll meet the consequences of that that aren’t too harsh and bad, but things that really matter to your business. Those are things you really should figure out a good way to address them. If you need support and resources, I’m sure there’s a lot of HR related stuff out there,
[00:46:27] Kevin Dieny: There might even be some management. Um, resources, videos, guides, tools. But I think a really great way if you’re really interested in figuring out a problem, is to talk to a mentor or someone else who, maybe someone who’s a little more experienced, someone who has, who you trust has very quality management skills, who has shown that they have a good repeatable way to help employees change.
[00:46:52] Kevin Dieny: You know, if you know half the management population of the world is divided on this, try to find someone from the belief area that they know that this, this happens, and they have maybe some examples of them doing this. And I think that’s a great resource for you. So that’s it. That’s it for the episode. I hope.
[00:47:11] Kevin Dieny: Uh, We took a serious look at this topic. We didn’t get too deep into some of the specific problematic behaviors because some of them, there’s just too many, right? And there’s a lot going on here, but I think you can grow your business if you change employee behavior. If you model that yourself and if you figure out a way to praise your employees, to encourage them to change so that it’s sustainable. And I think you can do it.
[00:47:38] Kevin Dieny: I know you can do it. And thank you for listening. That’s it for today. I hope you are encouraged to go, develop some employees into better employees. Um, Thank you for listening.