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Are You in AWE of Your Employees?

Employers have become so concerned about seeming "unfair" or
worse becoming the victims of lawsuits by unhappy
ex-employees that they've stopped requiring minimum
standards of employees. This can only lead to poor
individual and eventually poor company performance. Your
best employee performers will resent the fact that you use
company money to pay people who aren't up to standard and
will reduce their own level of performance or leave.

Take back the power in your workplace and set standards of
performance. How to fairly assess each of your employees?
I use a simple three part measurement tool with the acronym
AWE or Able – Willing – Engaged.

Is the Employee Able?

This is the minimum standard of employment or continued
employment. Does the employee have the basic job skills?
Does he or she also have the people skills to be able to
work effectively? Does the employee have family or personal
issues that make it impossible for the employee to work the
expected hours? Does the employee have any emotional or
physical health issues that make it impossible to do the job
effectively? Is he or she lacking any problem attitudes,
such as racism or sexism that make them unable to be open to
customer or co-worker interactions.

If you answered "no" to any of these questions, you should
move the employee to another job where the issues aren't
going to affect their competency or transition them out of
the company.

Is the Employee Willing?

The next level up that is also a make or break issues – is
the employee willing to do the work available? Does the
employee seem happy to be at work? Does he or she genuinely
care about the welfare of customers, co-worker, and the
company in general? Does the employee get to work
well-rested and prepared so that he or she is able to be
fully present and concentrate? Does the employee gracefully
take on assigned tasks? Does the employee arrive at
meetings on time and prepared? Is the employee open to
dialogue and answering questions related to his or her

If you answered "no" to any of these questions, there may be
some resentments that have built up meaning that the
employee can do the job, but isn't willing to give 100%.
This employee needs to have the opportunity to vent
frustrations, get clear instructions on what is expected,
and then have the opportunity to recommit to the work of the
company. If the employee remains unwilling and hinders the
work of others with a poor attitude, the employee should be
transitioned out of the company.

Is the Employee Engaged?

This is the highest level of employee involvement and
commitment. These are employees who are engaged in the work
of the company take initiative. They are problem-solvers
and actively work out work problems, including
inter-personal problems. They actively seek feedback about
their performance. These employees are natural leaders and
will lead in a project whether or not they have a management
title – other just seem to follow them because of their
willingness to take risks or because of their demonstrated
expertise. They also look outside the company for sources
of good ideas and are always setting goals to take their own
work to the next level. They like to learn and will look
for opportunities to take on new tasks to learn new skills.
These employees give 100% because they are motivated to do
so internally.

It is only if a company gets in the way of superior
performance that these employees will stop working at the
highest level. If they become frustrated that management
does not support their efforts to raise the performance bar
in the company, they will disengage and eventually leave.

Final Comment

Employees who are not able to do the job shouldn't be
offered continued employment. If you can create open
communications with employees who seem unwilling, you can
often turn around their performance. Your best point of
leverage is taking employees who are willing and helping
them become employees who are engaged. The best way to do
that is to have plenty of engaged employees around. Their
work behavior can be infectious. And get out of the way of
the engaged employees. They want room to run and will only
leave if micromanaged or not allowed room to experiment with
new ideas. Follow these few simple ideas and you will be in
AWE of the contributions made by your employees to the
prosperity of your business.

Jan B. King is the former President & CEO of Merritt
Publishing, a top 50 woman-owned and run business in Los
Angeles and the author of Business Plans to Game Plans: A
Practical System for Turning Strategies into Action (John
Wiley & Sons, 2004). She has helped hundreds of businesses
with her book and her ebooks, The Do-It-Yourself Business
Plan Workbook, and The Do-It-Yourself Game Plan Workbook.
See for more information.

This article was submitted by - Jan B. King Please Rate/Review this Article - Recommend it to friends

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