No Surprises

Employees don’t always like surprises and, in most cases, you really don’t want to surprise your employee unless you’re handing them a bunch of money. Don’t be surprised if nearly every other surprise could become a problem.

We are currently seeing legal attempts to eliminate surprises on medical billing from insurance companies. Too many people have been unpleasantly surprised by receiving unexpected charges from medical providers and hospitals. However, this isn’t the only type of surprise that can be a problem.

Providing a performance review that includes negative feedback shouldn’t be a surprise. If the manager is communicating properly and regularly with the employee, the performance review or performance improvement plan should really be more of a summary of previous conversations. Slapping them with a bad review once a year is rarely going to achieve your desired results. And only giving positive feedback on an annual review isn’t likely to keep them excited about working for you.

The employment relationship ends for a number of reasons. However, unless the company is in a dire situation that requires immediate action, terminating an employee shouldn’t come as a surprise to them. If you are terminating due to poor performance, why didn’t you try to change their performance in a way the employee understood their job was at risk? Ideally in this situation, the employee isn’t wondering if they will be fired, just when. They should already understand they haven’t been working at the level you want or need.

Even a raise shouldn’t necessarily be a big surprise. Raises are usually given to good performers and your positive comments to them should have prepared them for the possibility of a raise. Any surprise from the employee should be based on the amount of the raise, not just on the fact they are getting one. If you aren’t providing positive feedback regularly, don’t be surprised if those good employees start looking elsewhere for acknowledgment of their skills and/or knowledge.

Whenever you see an employee surprised by what just happened to them, take it as a sign you didn’t prepare the employee by giving them sufficient feedback along the way. Changing bad behaviors and encouraging good behaviors works much better with continuous feedback. It’s those small comments to your employees that will help them achieve what you want.

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