What is Friendliness?


5 Steps to Friendliness and Great Customer Service

  1. Say Hello
  2. Say Thank you
  3. Look Them in the Eye
  4. Smile
  5. Go the Extra Mile

 Friendliness doesn’t happen by accident. It is a conscious thought and action by one person to make someone else happy and pleased. It is a genuine acknowledgement that someone else is around you and is your way of showing your appreciation. It is taking the time to show someone that you care and that he or she is important to you. It is a welcome that reaches out and pulls the other person in. It is treating each and every person in a courteous and respectful manner. Friendliness comes from the inside of you, but is demonstrated by how you act toward others.

Friendliness may or may not be found in other companies, but it is critical that this company is known throughout the community as a welcoming and friendly place to shop. You make the difference in whether this is a fact or only a wish. Our customers observe in your actions and behaviors and determine whether to return again another day. Friendliness comes from the pride that you take in yourself, and the pleasure you get from serving the people around you.

The 5 Steps to Friendliness and Great Customer Service is an important part of meeting the expectations of our customers. Each step is explained and examples are given. This is not a complete list of everything that should be done, but illustrates a common sense approach to dealing with each and every person who comes into our store in the friendliest way possible. You make the difference in whether this is a fact or only a wish. People are aware of the way that you act and the actions you take. The 5 Steps to Friendliness and Great Customer Service outlines what the customer expects of us.


  1. Say Hello
    • The most important impression is the first impression you make. When a customer or another associate approaches you, acknowledge them by saying hello.
    • Approach the customer first. Don’t wait for them to come to you.
    • “Good Morning”
    • “Good Afternoon”
    • “How are you?”
    • “Hi!”
    • “Is there anything I can do to help you?”
    • “Do you have everything you need?”


  1. Say Thank-you
    • The last impression that someone retains comes from the last words that you say to him or her. Make the final words they hear a pleasant and cheerful thank you…. with an upbeat, positive sound in your voice. They will keep that last thought in their mind until the next time that they return.
    • “Thank you for shopping with us.”
    • “Have a nice day”
    • “Did you get everything you were looking for?”
    • “We appreciate you doing business with us. I look forward to seeing you again.”


  1. Look Them In The Eye
    • Keeping eye contact with the person in front of you is a critical way that people judge whether you are sincere or just saying the words but don’t really mean them. Look each person clearly in the eye and acknowledge their presence… demonstrate that you recognize that they want something from you.
    • This is all about body language. This should be approached as if you are greeting a friend. You should present an open and welcoming movement; with your head directly facing the person.
    • It is important to make some positive movement to acknowledge that you see them. Then and only then do they really know that you are paying attention.
    • The right body language informs the person that they are not a distraction but that you are pleased to see them.
    • Pay attention; Listen to what they say. Don’t Interrupt
    • Discover their needs, fill them, and exceed them.


  1. Smile
    • A smile is contagious. It spreads good feelings and encourages a positive and cheerful atmosphere.
    • The smile is more than a curl of the lip and showing your teeth. The entire face lights up and becomes a part of a genuine smile. There seems to be a sparkle in the eye and the entire demeanor of the person changes.
    • If the customer is confused, a smile begins the process of bringing clarity.
    • If the customer is angry, a smile begins to calm them down so that you can take care of the issue.
    • If the person needs your help in any other way, a smile indicates that they are dealing with a friend who wants to make things better.
    • So Smile and make them welcome. Would you really want to talk to a person who doesn’t want to talk to you?



  1. Go the Extra Mile
    • Customers are not dependent on us; we are dependent on them. Take the time to make them happy.
    • Find a way to provide just a little bit extra service – to make a difference
    • Speak clearly. Never eat, drink, chew gum, or smoke while on the job.
    • Take the extra time to help them find the item they are looking for.
    • Deliver a little bit more than they wanted.
    • Help them when they are lost
    • Help them with the paperwork related to their orders
    • Find ways to make it easy for them to do business with us
    • Solve the problem – don’t wait for someone else to do it.
    • Deliver a product or service that they forgot to order
    • Read a label or a sign if they can’t read the small print
    • Clarify the rules
    • Answer the questions like it is the first time even if they asked it 10 times before
    • Help them understand how the system works
    • Show them to the shortest way to get their products or services delivered
    • Go to whomever you have to make it happen for the customer
    • Do whatever it takes to keep yourself, your customers, and associates safe from accidents and injury. Pick it up; don’t pass it up…. Papers, trash, products, food, ladders, equipment and anything else that is not where it belongs.
    • Know your company and the products and services you sell.
    • Find a way to turn each small interaction with a customer into a great example of friendly customer service.


Do each of the steps in the 5 Steps to Friendliness and Great Customer Service with everyone that you meet every time. This is true for each of our customers and each employee in the store. A great company will come from doing the right things over and over again.

Learn the 5 Steps. Live the 5 Steps. Our customers will appreciate it by visiting us again. This company will be a nicer place for everyone to work.



5 Steps to Friendliness and Great Customer Service

  1. Say Hello
  2. Say Thank you
  3. Look Them in the Eye
  4. Smile
  5. Go the Extra Mile

A quote to relate to breaking free from old ideas and our fear of change

Henrik Ibsen – Ghosts

“But I’m coming to believe that all of us are ghosts… It’s not just what we inherit from our mothers and fathers.  It’s also the shadows of dead ideas and opinions and convictions.  They’re no longer alive, but they grip us all the same, and hold on to us against our will.  All I have to do is open a newspaper to see ghosts hovering between the lines.  They are haunting the whole country, those stubborn phantoms – so many of them, so thick,  they’re like an impenetrable dark mist.   And here we are, all of us, so abjectly terrified of the light.”


From Rosabeth Moss Kanter   in her book  the Change Masters  p 34-35

“Individual” and “Team” are not contradictory concepts in the innovating organization.   Teams – whether in formal incarnations of as an implied emphasis on coalition formation and peer cooperation – are one of the integrative vehicles that keep power tools – information, resources, and support – accessible.    The use of participative mechanisms helps ensure that segmentalism will not prevail, because individuals must constantly seek additional viewpoints, more pieces of the puzzle, solutions that have payoffs for others as well.  At the same time, more individual with ideas to contribute above and beyond their own job have a way to do this.

Participation in team projects above and beyond the rote requirements of the job is a device for tapping unexpected individual contributions.   It helps read people for change by giving them broader outlook and more skills.  And it ensures that people have information beyond their limited purview.

Good teams are action bodies that develop better systems, methods, products, or policies than would result from unilateral action by one responsible segment, or even from each of the team members working in isolation from the others.   The results are likely to b more innovative and more easily used.   And the individual involved are more empowered by the access to the additional power tools the team offers than they would be even if exercising their clear and unquestioned authority within one segment.




From “What’s Working”   February 4, 1998

The critical question may not be:  “ How do we make a team work?”  but “Do we need a team for this work at all?”

Ask yourself,   Does this project really require collective work?   If you can just as easily see a project being divided into parts, assigned to several individuals and then given back to a leader who integrates the completed parts, a team is probably unnecessary.

Collaborative work is better when your company is tackling brand new projects where the added creativity sparked by teams is key.

Do team members lead various parts of the project?    When a team leader makes all the key decisions, it’s not a team.  On true teams, each member should have the lead responsibility for one aspect of the project.  If the team members have discovered that’s not the most effective tactic for getting the work done, chances are you should disband the team.

Do people in the group hold each other accountable?    As above, if the team members answer to a “team leader” and not each other, then the group isn’t really a team.


How to Make Meetings Work !

Why have meetings in the first place?

  • People need to communicate with each other to get things done, and face to face interaction is often necessary.


  • The creative dynamics of the group can develop new alternatives and solutions.
  • The results from a group can often be greater than the sum of its parts.
  • A meeting is an excellent place to think together, and not just exchange words.
  • A problem that requires the knowledge and experience of several people can often be solved best by bringing them all together in a meeting.
  • When group meetings work well, people will tend to work better back at their desks. They feel productive and that encourages them to work better on their own.
  • Thoughts can be shared that allows each group member to do their own job with greater efficiency
  • Ideas can be developed
  • Problems can be identified and solved
  • Rumors can be squelched
  • People can be informed
  • Assignments can be delegated
  • Productivity is improved.
  • Mutual respect and understanding can grow
  • Opinions can be changed
  • Information can be quickly disseminated
  • Praise can be given



What happens when a meeting doesn’t work?                                                      

  • People are frustrated and angry.
  • They take the frustration back to work, and waste other people’s time griping about what happened.
  • The unresolved conflicts spill over into other parts of the business.
  • The work has to be done again. Another meeting has to be called to accomplish what should have been accomplished the first time.




Steps to a Better Meeting

Before the Meeting                                                                                           

  • Plan the meeting carefully:
  • Why do we need a meeting?
  • What is the topic?
  • Who should attend?
  • When will the meeting occur?
  • Where will the meeting occur?
  • Room set up
  • Chairs
  • Tables
  • How the room is arranged?
  • Are refreshments necessary during breaks?
  • What audio visual equipment will be necessary?
  • Prepare and send out an agenda in advance. This could include an outline of the objectives of the meeting and any other information important to the success of the meeting.
  • The facilitator should come early and set up the meeting room.



At the Beginning of the Meeting                                                                     

  • Start on time – show respect for people in attendance and the value of their time.
  • Review the agenda.
  • Clearly define roles. Review the ground rules such as one person speaking at a time, amount of time each person has for a response, and restricting personal issues to another time.
  • Be sure the facilitator is identified and a recorder for the meeting is selected.
  • Review action items from the previous meeting It is usually not necessary to review all the minutes from the last meeting – only the action items that needed to get accomplished for this meeting.   Review only those portions of the previous meeting if some critical information is needed for this meeting.
  • Set clear time limits for the length of the meeting. Meetings should rarely go beyond 90 – 120 minutes.  This reduces “tune-out” and mental overload by participants.
  • Get participants to introduce themselves and state their expectations for the meeting.



During the Meeting                                                                                          

  • There must be a common focus on content – one meeting at a time. Focus on the same problem in the same way at the same time. Do not allow several topics to be discussed at the same time by different groups.
  • Maximize participation from the entire group. Get everyone involved. Someone must be responsible for maintaining an open and balanced conversational flow.
  • There must be a common focus on the process – abide by the rules established.


Common problems encountered in all kinds of meetings

  • Rude behavior
  • Separate conversations occurring in another area of the room when others have the floor and are speaking.
  • People walking out of the room in the middle of discussions.
  • Accepting telephone calls in the middle of the meeting.
  • Passing notes to other people in the room.
  • Working on non-related projects in the middle of the meeting.
  • Arriving late for a meeting.
  • Interrupting someone else in the middle of their comments.
  • Personal attack – Attacking individuals rather than their idea.
  • Repetition and wheelspinning – Going over the same old ideas again and gain. Focusing on the problem, but not on finding the solution.
  • Poor meeting environments – Can’t hear, can’t see, too stuffy.
  • Communications problems – People not listening to or understanding what others are saying or making faulty assumptions.



At the End of the Meeting                                                                                

  • Review the group memory – What did we really agree on doing?
  • Establish action items: Who will do what, and when will it happen?
  • Set the date and place of the next meeting and develop a preliminary agenda.
  • Evaluate the meeting. Did we meet expectations? Was the meeting worth our time?
  • Close the meeting crisply and positively.
  • Clean up the coffee cups and trash and return the room back to the way it was found.




After the Meeting                                                                                              

  • Prepare a memo to the group summarizing what was accomplished and what the action plan should be in preparation for the next meeting.
  • Follow-up on action items and begin to plan the next meeting.






How can you know when a meeting has worked?                               

  • First, what happened?
  • What got done?
  • What problems were solved?
  • What decisions were made?
  • What were the net results after you spent the time?
  • Second, the process of the meeting.
  • How did problems get solved?
  • How did decisions get made?
  • How did the group work together?
  • How did people feel about the meeting?
  • Did everyone get a chance to talk?
  • Were people stimulated and challenged… or …was the meeting a battle of egos and unresolved conflicts?




6 Human Tendencies that work against a meeting of the minds.

  1. People resist change and are cautious about exchanging their ideas.
  2. The inner thoughts of the listener tend to draw their mind away from the conversation at hand. It has been said, by many, that even the most attentive listener “tunes out” at least one second every ten seconds.  Those “blank” moments can lead to vast misunderstandings and errors in communications.
  3. People often start talking before their ideas have been clearly formed. As a result, their thoughts can change direction.
  4. People hear what they want to hear, and do not necessarily face all the facts presented to them.
  5. The speaker assumes a lot about what the other person knows.
  6. People withhold information about what they are thinking and what they know, under the impression that the less others know, the better. There can be hidden agendas that are not apparent to the rest of the audience.

The result is often an exchange of words and not communication and understanding.




A particular caution should be raised against “group-think”.   A group that meets regularly may develop a group way of thinking that decreases their objectivity and their openness to new and diverse ways of thinking.  Members’ statements begin to be “policed” by others to be sure that no one strays too far away from the way the group is proceeding.  It can become a kind of self-censorship to prevent deviation from established norms.  This can happen by some who try to protect the group from adverse ideas, to prevent potential conflict, or to quickly get to consensus at the expense of quality thinking.

To prevent this from occurring, see that the group reviews the pros and cons more than once. The diversity of viewpoints is the great strength of a group. Keep all lines of communication open and bring out as many of the hidden agendas as possible.


 Quality of the group’s decisions are higher when:

  • People present their views; listen to others; but don’t try to argue their own views until all have a chance to be heard.
  • It should not be assumed that someone must win, and someone must lose in the course of reaching a general consensus on direction for the group. The group should strive to find the best approach for moving the organization forward.
  • We should not change our minds simply to avoid conflict and to reach agreement. If people are forced into accepting disagreeable outcomes (from their viewpoint), they will find ways to resist the implementation later on.
  • We avoid conflict-reducing techniques such as majority vote, averages, coin-flips, and bargaining. Meetings work best when a common consensus is reached. When a dissenting member finally agrees, don’t feel you have to reward them with some win later on.
  • Differences of opinion are natural and expected. Seek them out. Involve everyone in the decision process. This will lead to better results later on.


Some other thoughts

  • Bosses shouldn’t run their own meeting. They need to be a participant and a leader in the discussions.  It is hard to do that and run the meeting at the same time.
  • Every meeting needs a facilitator – someone to guide the conversation among the participants. This person’s role is to be sure that everyone gets a chance to participate, and generally ensure that the meeting accomplishes the objectives laid out in the agenda.
  • Every meeting needs a recorder – someone to take the minutes of the meeting. It should not be the facilitator. The facilitator has enough to do keeping the flow of the meeting going.   The recorder should work with the facilitator and the leader of the meeting to develop the memo to the group.







Roles of the participant in a meeting

  1. Supply needed information, useful experiences, and opinions that are appropriate to the solution of the problem.
  2. Contribute to the conversation without dominating the conversation. A clear, concise statement is more effective in making a point than a long-winded monologue.
  3. Be an active listener. Analyze what the speaker is saying and compare it to what has been said before.  Listen more than you talk, and it will help to improve the quality of your talk when you do contribute.

 Content Roles

  1. Propose a goal; define a problem, suggest a procedure or solution.
  2. Request additional facts or relevant information.
  3. State the facts as you know them to expand the knowledge of the group.
  4. Provide alternatives.
  5. Clarify by interpreting or summarizing related ideas.
  6. Test for consensus by checking with the group to see how much agreement there is.

Process Roles

  1. Recognize others contributions in a positive way
  2. Share your feelings with others.
  3. Reconcile the disagreements. Explore the differences by reducing the emotional charge of others.
  4. Offer to change or adjust your position in a conflict.
  5. Gate-keeping – Keep the lines of communication open by facilitating the participation of everyone in the group.
  6. Evaluate by expressing standards for the group to achieve, or by measuring results, or evaluating the degree of group commitment.

A successful meeting means that members accept and practice team roles – both content and process to achieve agreed upon objectives.



Principles of proper delegation

  1. Establish the responsibility
    • Make sure it has a proper description of both the tasks required and the behaviors needed to do the project or job successfully.
  2. Establish the appropriate authority level
    • 1st level is “Do it. Don’t tell me.
      1. For example, “You can spend under $50 and, as long as you remain within your total budget level, you do not need to tell me you spent the money.”
    • 2nd level is “Do it. Tell me after you spend it.
      1. For example, “You can spend between $51 and $100 but I want you to let me know you spent the money.”
    • 3rd level is “You are not authorized to make that decision until you consult with me first.”
      1. For example, “If you want to spend more than $101 dollars you must come to me; outline the amount you want to spend; what you want to spend it on; and why it is important to spend the money now.”
  1. Once you have done steps one and two and it is clear to everyone, then you can hold that person accountable for their results.


One of the big problems is many managerial / employee conflicts is that someone is given the responsibility for doing something, held accountable for the achievement, but they never know whether they can proceed on their own or have to constantly check in for permission. When they proceed, they are told they should have checked in. When they hesitate, they are told they should have moved faster and gotten things done.  The parameters have not been properly set at the beginning and so only “20/20” hindsight provides the answer and then it is too late.  It leads to frustration and dysfunction throughout the organization.

EMPLOYEE Performance Planning and Development (PDP)

This manual has been developed to help supervisors and employees use the Performance and Planning Development process (PDP) more effectively.  As in any new system or program, there will be questions and concerns that develop over time. It is important that each person knows what to do. Ask questions to clarify your concerns.


The performance planning system is a formal framework:

  1. For having a dialogue with your boss and reviewing your performance over the last year,
  2. Setting goals and objectives for the next year,
  3. Developing your plans for expanding your own personal capabilities, and
  4. Determining your personal involvement in achieving our business results.

This document provides a forum to hold frank discussions relative to our expectations concerning your role in managing the business. The goal is to continuously improve our company by delivering improved results through implementing best management practices. Our conversations will be held within this framework and will be kept confidential from the rest of the company. Of course this information may be used by senior management as a part of their regular review of individuals and their roles within the organization.


The Process

We will set aside time aside to discuss your performance. You should review this performance format and rate yourself for each section of the document before the meeting with your supervisor. Your analysis should be turned in to your supervisor at least two or three weeks before the meeting. Your supervisor will make a separate determination on the same indicators. During the session your supervisor and you will review each measuring factor, discuss the key issues for each, and most importantly focus on the gaps that may exist between the ratings. This should be a two-way conversation that will create a clear understanding of your strengths, areas of development, and objectives going forward based on an agreed-upon game plan. This plan will include a time frame for regular checkpoints on your progress.


There are 3 major components to the PDP.

  1. Tasks of the Position- These are the tasks that you are expected to do within the job you are assigned. All of the tasks that you are responsible for are listed in the PDP task list. The details of each task are further elaborated in the Job Description and the Learning Checklist. If you wish to find out more about how each task is measured and the specifics of how that task is supposed to be accomplished, refer to Learning Checklist under the task in question.
  2. Position Behaviors – These are the behaviors and skills that you will be rated on to indicate the way that you carry out your job. Every job is a combination of what you do (the tasks) and how you do it (the behaviors). The behaviors are critical to the job and how our customers and your fellow employees react to you.  You may know how to do a particular task or job very well, but not be as strong in some of the behaviors. The behaviors are what the customer sees and experiences.  The discussions will be held between your supervisor and you to be sure everything is clear and understandable about what is expected. You will have an opportunity to express your thoughts and ideas about how to improve your behavior based on what the customer requires.


Development Plans – The final area in the PDP provides a place to discuss your personal development needs. If you are not growing and learning, then the company cannot grow or be better. This section is very important because creates plans so that you can do your job better in the future.

Under each section of the PDP, both Tasks and Behaviors, there is a section for you and your supervisor to write down what you plan to do to improve for next year. Under the Tasks, select those items that will make the most sense in improving your capabilities.  What will you do differently next year?  How will that look?  How do we know it when we see it? How will the customer and your fellow employees see the change?  What is the action plan to make it happen?

Under Behaviors, you should have at least 1 or 2 non-financial goals you will work on over the next period of time. These personal goals, once achieved, should have a positive impact on the business and your ability to perform within the organization.


Summary of Performance and Development Planning

On the last page of the PDP you will find the summary of both parts of the PDP. There is one combined rating that summarizes how you have done. There are 5 overall rating choices …Outstanding, Significant Impact, Proficient, Below Expectations, and Unacceptable.  A definition of each rating choice is on the form itself. This final rating is not necessarily a result of adding the two sections together and dividing by two.  One area in either the tasks or the behaviors may be so important to the customer and to the total business that it carries a much greater weight and could lower or increase your overall rating. You need to discuss this thoroughly with your supervisor to fully understand his or her reasoning.

In addition, there is space for both the reviewer and the associate being reviewed to make comments. The associate does not have to agree to the final comments of the reviewer. Your signature is required, however. It indicates that the review was conducted, and you have been given an opportunity to present your feelings and thoughts. The final decision on your performance rating is up to your supervisor.



The PDP Process – Step by Step:

  1. Your supervisor will set up a meeting with you to discuss your performance in the company. There should be approximately 3-4 weeks’ notice provided. At that time a blank copy of your PDP will be given to you.


  1. You should fill out the PDP form in its entirety. All blanks and areas should be completed included your personal evaluation as to the level of your performance in each of the sections and a final overall rating as well.  This should include any specific comments and examples that illustrate why you believe this to be so. You get the first chance to tell your supervisor what you think. If there is anything you wish to say, now is the time to say it clearly. Use extra sheets of paper to provide examples of what you are presenting. This is not necessary, but always helpful.

This part of the process is not always easy.  Be honest with yourself and don’t judge yourself too easily or too hard. Try to be realistic about what you did right and what you could do to improve. And that is an important point. This process is not specifically concerned with finding out whether you did something “wrong”. It is about communications and the good flow of information between the supervisor and employee. Use examples and illustrations to demonstrate your points.


  1. Approximately 2 -3 weeks prior to the meeting date, you should turn in to the supervisor your completed form. Put it in an envelope with your name, date, and “PDP” clearly on the outside.


  1. The supervisor will complete a PDP on you independently of your assessment. He or she will then compare the two documents and prepare his comments and thoughts for the meeting. It is recommended that the supervisor gives you both his evaluation of your PDP and a copy of your PDP back to you a day or so before the appointment. This will mean you have the opportunity to read, understand, and prepare for what will be discussed. Please do not discuss the reports before the actual meeting time. Your supervisor will be prepared when the time comes, but it is not fair to discuss this before your actual meeting.


  1. During the meeting on the agreed upon date and time, your supervisor will conduct a thorough review of his or her assessment of your performance and compare it with your evaluation. Note particularly the gaps between the two perceptions. Also take notice where they are the same, where you are higher than the managers, and where the manager’s perceptions are higher than yours.



Outline of the PDP discussion process between supervisor and employee:

  1. First discuss your strengths. What have you accomplished over the last year that should be noted and acknowledged? The company wants to build our plans off of our strengths.


  1. Discuss where the perception of the supervisor differs from your evaluation of yourself from last year’s performance. Each of the major areas of the PDP needs to be discussed – both the tasks and the behavioral traits.
  • If the supervisor’s opinion was lower than the opinion of the employee in any area, what was done that was not up to expectations?
  • Find specific examples of what occurred to illustrate the point.


  1. The next step is to come to a common agreement between you and your supervisor on the targets for your performance for the next year. What has to be accomplished to meet the company’s goals?
  • Discuss your plans to improve what you do based on the goals of the company and your role in making those goals a reality. What plans do you have to improve your skills and knowledge? What new things will you learn? How can you be better? Is there something new you would like to try or a new job that you think you can do for next year? Is there some part of your job that you think you can do better that will make a difference? Do you see something somewhere else that you think needs improvement where you may contribute?
  • Be specific about what the most important things that have to be done next year are. It does no one any good, neither you nor the company, to put down a statement such as “Do better in this area next year” What does “do better” mean? How will I know it when I see it?
  • Don’t try to do too much. Limit the plans to one or two things that you know you can accomplish.
  • Make every statement clear and measurable so that next year you can tell whether you accomplished the improvements you plan.
  • There should be two development plans created… one for tasks and one for behaviors. Sometimes these are very closely linked and not so easy to do. Try to put down at least one item under tasks and one under behaviors.


  1. You should sign the PDP even if you do not agree with its conclusions. Your signature indicates that you saw the evaluation and that a discussion was held with you. If you do not agree with the conclusion and the development plan to be implemented, there is a space for you to write your comments and thoughts.


  1. The final step is to agree on the date when you will review you progress on the plan. You should set the initial follow up meeting for 3 months into the next year. Continuing follow up sessions should be every 3 months after that. These meetings can last as little as 10 – 15 minutes if you have prepared and come ready to have a focused conversation on your progress. They are a quick summary of the accomplishments to date, the obstacles that have been overcome so far, and the concerns or issues that have developed since the original meeting and goal setting. It may be a time when new objectives or plans are created. This can happen because the needs of business change.


  1. This process should be repeated each year to assure continuity between the business needs and the needs of the individual. The goals need to be integrated and coordinated to assure maximum effectiveness.

Communication between and between the management and the other employees is so critically important to the successful running of the company. Your input is vital to making that happen. This is one of the tools we intend to use to be sure that all levels of the company understand and are committed to making the changes to keep us competitive and strong.

Rating yourself on the PDP  

There are 5 ratings steps on the PDP. They are grouped into 3 general areas.


The first group is Unsatisfactory – This is a “1” on the form. This means you are not doing the task or acting in a manner that is satisfactory to the organization. This is a serious situation because if you do not take immediate steps to improve your performance or your behavior, you may be asked to leave the company.

The second group has two ratings – Satisfactory and Proficient. Both of these are positive ratings and generally most employees will find themselves in one or the other of these ratings. To be considered Proficient (a “3”) you are able to do the task assigned in a fully capable manner. You are skilled at this task. You know what you are doing and can be counted on to perform that as required. This does not mean you are average. The average person is probably doing satisfactory work. To be considered Proficient is to be meeting the standards of this company. Our internal standards are higher than the rest of our industry. If you are Satisfactory (a “2”), this means you are doing a reasonably good job. You may be just coming into the company and are learning how we do it here. You may be doing an average job that meets many of the requirements of the position. You are falling short of the company’s standards. This does not mean you are a poor performer only that there are clearly some areas where you need to work in order to meet the standards of Proficient. Be clear with your supervisor what you need to do to upgrade your performance to meet our Proficient standards.

The third group has two ratings as well – Significant Impact and Outstanding. These are ratings reserved for people who have mastered all aspects of the position and then have demonstrated performance in excess of our standards consistently. Significant Impact (a “4”) means that you exceed our already high standards regularly. You are clearly above the norm and regularly seek to find ways to improve what you do. Outstanding (a “5”) means that you have taken your position to another level. Besides exceeding the requirements of the position consistently, you are a role model to the organization. One of the ways to be Outstanding is to have made suggestions and implemented improvements that stand out from the rest of the organization. You have taken your work to another level that has clearly made a difference. This has to do with a level of intensity as well as the level of your skills.



  • Dress code: If you meet our dress code every day you should be considered To receive a higher rating, you take the dress code to another level. Perhaps you have your shirts dry cleaned and pressed. Perhaps you have your shoes shined every day so that they are “military spit and polish”. If your customers were asked to rate your performance, they would list you as one of the best dressed people they see regularly.
  • Answering the phone: If you answer the phone with a pleasant tone and you give the company’s name each time, you might be considered You complete the task as you are asked to do. To get a higher rating you would be cited by our customers as one of the reasons they call us. You provide a welcome that is better than people come to expect when calling into a business. The intensity and level of how you do your task stands out in everyone’s mind. To be Proficient is to do your job well. To be Significant Impact or Outstanding means you take your job to another level that is both measurable and specific.


Filling out the form: 

When you rate a “3” or Proficient it may not be necessary to provide examples. It will mean you meet the standards. You do your job skillfully and it is appreciated. If you rate yourself either a “1” or a “2” where you do not meet the standards, there should be a specific example of what was done or what was not done to clarify the rating. If you are a “4” or a “5” you also need to be very clear as to how you specifically improved upon the standard or took your performance to another higher level that stands out.

You should give an example of why you believe your performance is not up to standards or why you think you are better. Be specific.

The rating system is not designed to be an average of all the items, tasks, or behaviors. Some tasks are more important than others. It may be possible to be a “4” on 90 % of the tasks and a “2” on the other 10 % and get an overall rating of “2”.  That would happen if the tasks where you are rated a “2” are so critical to the success of the job that it overwhelms the other tasks you accomplished with great skill and intensity.


The PDP is a tool for you to have a discussion with your supervisor regarding your performance. It is meant to be a dialogue. You need to express your opinions and well as your supervisor. Participate in making your time and work here at the company both productive and interesting. The PDP is one of the many ways that we use to make that happen.

How to Document Employee Performance

White Paper published by The HR Specialist, copyright 2009

It happens to every manager: You sit down to prepare a staff member’s review and realize you can remember only what the person has done the past few weeks. Or you allow only a single incident (good or bad) to color your assessment.

Supervisors should never rely solely on memory to evaluate employee performance. That makes appraisals far more difficult than necessary. Instead, it’s best to institute a simple recording system to document employee performance.

The most useful, easy-to-implement way is to create and maintain a log for each person. Performance logs don’t need to be complicated or sophisticated. They can simply be sheets of paper in a folder or a file on your computer. Choose whatever means you’re comfortable with.

The key is to establish a system that you will use regularly. No matter how you take notes, make sure to keep them confidential.

Many employee lawsuits can be quickly dismissed if performance logs can clearly demonstrate a history of performance problems leading to the firing.

Recording employees’ performance: 8 tips

To begin the process, create a file for each employee you supervise. Include in each file a copy of the employee’s job description, job application and resume. Then follow these steps for recording performance:

1. Include positive and negative behaviors. Recording only negative incidents will unfairly bias your evaluation. Make a point to note instances of satisfactory or outstanding performance, too.

One way to ensure a balanced reporting: Update employee performance logs on a regular basis, instead of waiting for a specific incident to occur.  Ironically, failing to document a positive performance can strengthen an employee’s claims of discrimination. A file of all-bad comments may look like a setup.

2. Date each entry. Details such as time, date and day of the week help identify patterns that may indicate an underlying problem before it becomes more serious.

3. Write observations, not assumptions. In all log entries, be careful about the language you use. Performance logs can end up as evidence in a lawsuit. Your log comments should only focus on behavior that you directly observe. Don’t make assumptions about the reasons for the behavior or make judgments about an employee’s character. Keep out any comments that border on personal comment or that show personal prejudice.

Avoid emotional content, including personal impressions (“I think …”), labels (“He’s a whiner …”) and adjectives (“very unproductive …”).

4. Be specific. Example of poor documentation: “Employee was late three times in the past month.” Better: “Employee was 30 minutes late on Feb. 5; reason given: traffic. Employee was 45 minutes late on Feb. 9; reason given: overslept. Employee was an hour late on Feb. 23; reason given: car problems.”

5. Keep out biased language. A good rule of thumb: Any statement that would be inappropriate in conversation is also inappropriate in an employee log. That includes references to an employee’s age, sex, race, disability, marital status, religion or sexual orientation. Don’t suggest reasons for employee actions or make connections between events without direct evidence.

For example, you may know that Dan’s wife recently filed for divorce, but don’t suggest in the log that his personal problems are the reason his work performance has slipped.

6. Be brief, but complete. Log entries should use specific examples, rather than general comments. Instead of saying, “Megan’s work was excellent,” say “Megan has reduced the number of data entry errors to fewer than one per 450 records.”

7. Track trends. If you begin to see patterns, make notes in the log or flag prior incidents of the same behavior. You don’t need to discuss every entry with your staff members. Bring your observations to the employees’ attention only after you’ve defined a specific problem.

8. Be consistent. Don’t include comments about a behavior in one person’s performance log if you ignore the same behavior in other employees. When in doubt, check to see how similar problems have been documented in the past.



Performance Logs: What to Include and What to Leave Out

  • Project assignments and deadlines met or not met.
  • Your assessment of the quality of an employee’s work. Cite attempts you make to help the employee improve.
  • Instances of tardiness, work absences or extended breaks.
  • Disciplinary discussions and actions taken.
  • Employee responses to problems and questions.
  • Positive contributions to the work effort.
  • Details of significant personal interactions with the employee.


  • Rumors or speculation about the employee’s personal life.
  • Theories about why the employee behaves a certain way.
  • Information about the employee’s family, ethnic background, beliefs or medical history.
  • Your opinions about the employee’s career prospects.
  • Unsubstantiated complaints against the employee.

Concepts in Performance Measurement

To measure the performance of an individual a firm should examine the following four basic areas during the course of a performance discussion.

  1. Results achieved
  2. Tasks accomplished
  3. Behaviors exhibited
  4. Personal Growth Plan implemented


  1. Results and objectives achieved – Key Performance Indicators

Every firm requires that all individuals perform to meet the demands of the business. The results expected from each individual will vary depending upon the requirements of the position and the level of the job. Many results can usually be expressed in numbers in one form or another. The tangible results can be easily tracked and monitored based on the key performance indicators established at the beginning of the year.
The difficulty comes when looking for numbers from the intangible indicators of success. How people feel is not easily measured or tracked for example. Surveys taken can indicate a reflection of what our customers or employees perceive and allow us to put a number to a concept.

It is also reasonable that some positions will not have regular numerical objectives or goals. There are many jobs where the scope of the position’s responsibility has been defined with just tasks and behaviors. Those jobs with management or sales goals that can be measured should have a separate area where numerical targets are set.

  1. Tasks accomplished
    Each position or job must accomplish a variety of tasks. This is what a person must do in the job. In many cases these tasks need to be done in a particular order. As an individual performs their tasks properly, they achieve the results that are required. In a good performance management system each task should be identified so that it can be appropriately measured and evaluated.
  2. Behaviors exhibited
    The difference between a superior employee and a mediocre performer can usually be attributed to their behaviors while performing the tasks assigned. Each position should identify those unique set of behaviors that drives superior performance or how they should do the job. These behavioral characteristics need to be defined so that everyone understands what they mean. When the right behaviors are applied to job tasks then good results are usually achieved.
  3. Personal Growth Plan implemented
    The individual must have a plan that is focused on their own personal growth and learning. If a person is not growing and learning at a faster rate than the overall growth patterns of the organization then the person is, in essence, holding the firm down. This plan for learning should be tailored to the requirements of the person and the requirements of the position. It could focus on expanding the strengths of the person as well as correcting any specific performance issues.  It should have the same specifics of date and measurement as any other objective.