3 Keys To Nurture Your ‘A’ Player

3 Keys To Nurture Your ‘A’ Player

So you’ve just hired an A player in a technical role – young, super “green,” and with all the potential in the world. You’ve developed and taken her through a tight onboarding program; a couple weeks of learning, training, and culture-infusion. She’s hooked and ready to start real work. Now what? Here are three things that need your attention, so your A-player keeps getting better, and so that she stays.

Be clear on the role

When you interviewed her, you presented a comprehensive job description that put all your expectations on the table. But she didn’t check all the boxes – they never do, do they? – but she’s there because she fits your culture and you’re determined to train her to help you grow. You’re most important task early on is to get clarity on the role she should play, so that she shows up every day with zero confusion about who she is and what she should be doing. To get that clarity, do these things:

  1. Have regular conversations with her about the role. Ask questions like: When you get to your desk in the morning, are you clear on what you’re supposed to be doing? Do you feel confident in your ability to contribute? What’s blocking you from being productive? Just because you have a good picture of outcomes, don’t assume she does. If you’re not hearing directly from her about where she’s at, how will you know?
  2. Summarize her role in just one sentence. When confusion sets in, it’s helpful for anyone to circle back to a simple, yet clear, summary of the role. There could be an almost-endless list of things that she does: server health checks, software installs, client check-ins, etc. What she really does – her role – is to make sure that the client has a positive work experience, and that technology doesn’t get in the way of that.

Determine what gets measured

This can be difficult to nail down, but you have to evaluate her on specific things – using numbers – to keep both her and the company growing (and to take out the guess work). And, there can’t be too many numbers; one to three is best. Quality of work, time, and knowledge transfer are three we look at. Quality of work includes communication with the client, following the process, and staying within the budget of time. Managers review each ticket and assign a score that gets logged and reported. Time is measured by the amount of billable hours achieved in a given time period. Knowledge transfer is measured by evaluating her use of and contribution to the documentation (which is also evaluated on each ticket)

Don’t confuse well-being and performance

You have good numbers to measure performance, but you also want her to feel positive about herself and her role in the company. Remember that well-being is not sacrificed for performance – and vice versa. Your ongoing challenge is to create a space where there is clarity of roles and expectations, where success from your perspective is defined by the numbers, and where success from her perspective is the knowledge that you are providing her with the necessary tools to achieve those goals.

Categories: People

By Stephen Pasiciel

January 21, 2020

Stephen Pasiciel
Author: Stephen Pasiciel

VP People


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