The new shift in performance management is to focus on employee behavior, rather than employee attitudes. This is a bit tricky because behavior is driven by attitude. Current HR protocol requires that we implement a behavior policy that outlines expected employee behaviors. While this is a good approach, it benefits HR professionals to keep in mind that it is an oversimplified one. Hunter Lott, an HR consultant and speaker, recommends that adhering to policy comprise 50% of the job requirements. This is a reactive approach. At first, it will appear to eliminate belligerent, uncommunicative employees. Definitely, many times work cultures permit employee’s misbehavior when managers ignore it. All communication justifies response. Bad behavior is a form of communication. Ignoring negative behavior, is clearly communicating agreement with it. As an HR professional, be sure to investigate the “why” behind the behavior. Be willing to learn if something in the workplace culture is the cause. Very often employee behavior reflects leadership behavior and stems from unhealthy culture that leadership created. If you are the HR professional tasked with disciplining the problem children in your organization do a whole system assessment. Ask questions that lead to the heart of potential existing issues. When an employee demonstrates bad behavior it’s usually an expression of a request for change of the current state. Very few employees are unhappy for no reason. Lott proposes a reward for good behavior system that allows “good” employees to receive opportunities that “bad” employees are not offered. Be careful with this approach. Again, assigning employees to categories is a blanket approach that hovers too close to the surface to effect long term positive change. Lott does suggest striking probationary periods from the employment plan. A premise with which I wholeheartedly agree. Establish trust from the beginning. You are anticipating that employees will succeed, not waiting for them to fail. A final excellent suggestion of Mr. Lott is that organizations remember that change is constant. Organizations that emphasize employee attitudes AND behaviors that embrace flexibility and adaptability will succeed, AND be comprised of “good” employees.