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by Razor Suleman | December 20, 2011
When it comes to workplace trends, more and more businesses are moving away from the nine-to-five workday in an effort to boost business performance and put more emphasis on employees' results.  

Employers are beginning to find that the “work until you’re done” attitude produces better outcomes than those workplaces that still exercise a nine-to-five mentality. By increasing the importance of producing results, without overlooking the journey, employers have seen major increases in productivity of close to 50 percent in comparison to workplaces that reward presence over results.

In effective workplaces, management has struck the fine balance between recognizing effort and rewarding results. This isn’t easy to do: building a corporate culture, while identifying and focusing on results, calls for expertise in both areas. In light of this reality, many employers have adopted formal solutions to heighten employee engagement in a results-oriented culture.

Command-and-control environments actively disengage employees, especially now that the workplace has evolved beyond a “flexible” mentality. Today’s employee needs her results, not her flexibility, to be managed. When businesses marry results and engagement, they don’t support work-life balance; they support work-life blend. This mentality empowers employees to get work done in an environment and method that works for them, while engaging through coaching and recognizing milestones along the way.   

Shifting your company’s focus is no easy feat: it calls for focused conversations around expectations, followed by recognition and rewards for the desired outcomes. The best performers serve as models of what constitutes success. When shifting from a command-and-control situation to an engaged and results-driven environment, consider the following tips:

1. Emphasize desired outcomes and the right activities.
There is a direct correlation between hard work and results, but effort alone is not what should be celebrated. Today’s workplace gives pats on the back for both effort and results, when the reality is results are what is most crucial to success. Don’t discount effort, but emphasize the significance of results and make examples of your top performers.

2. Be prepared for underperformance and don’t encourage this behavior.
Companies who abandon authoritative environments and adopt a workplace with autonomy typically notice a difference among the workforce quite quickly due to the fact that employees are being stimulated beyond their base needs. It should be expected that a few employees will not step up to the plate with the shift, and their underperformance will become more evident.  

3. Conduct focused conversations around results.
Communicating clearly the expectations of the results your business needs is an extremely important component to the new, flexible workplace. It creates alignment and inspires success. 

4. Validate effort and results with recognition and rewards.
Employers who only recognize and reward the employees who come in first and leave last are operating on a false sense of security. Means of achievement and results are typically directly related, but employers need to focus on goal attainment to maximize results. Implementing a formalized rewards and recognition program helps applaud milestones and reward successful outcomes.  

5. Don’t micromanage, use coaching techniques to motivate your workforce.
Begin a shift from command and control in your workforce by immediately instilling autonomy and accountability—the two most significant contributors to an engaged workforce. Too many businesses still exercise a parent-child relationship between managers and employees. Managers and employees can have a strategic relationship where managers use coaching strategies to help the workforce achieve success.

Razor Suleman is the CEO and founder of Achievers (formerly I Love Rewards). Achievers is passionate about employee rewards and social recognition. Their software helps engage employees and drive performance globally. Achievers is on the web at www.achievers.com