No matter where you invest your money, you always want a great ROI for it. And the great thing about investing in humans is that your ROI could be in the millions. That’s why finding and hiring talent is only the beginning. Once that’s done, naturally, your top priority is employee performance.
How to Improve Employee Performance: 30 Techniques
- Communicate often
- Make clear goals with joint accountability
- Know your employees’ skills
- Delegate, delegate, delegate
- Offer incentives
- Re-skill them
- Do frequent performance appraisals
- Invest in employee development
- Check in on your employees’ well-being
- Automate the mundane
- Give them authority
- Investigate issues promptly
- Create a positive environment
- Simplify onboarding
- Encourage growth
- Ask for feedback
- Create core values
- Have realistic deadlines
- Practice accountability
- Listen to your employees
- Trust in their ability
- Praise more, criticize less
- Every employee is unique
- Know when to part ways
- Train your managers
- Review hiring procedures
- Reward high employee performance
- Offer remote working options
- Be better
- Do 360 reviews
1. Communicate often
Communication is the cornerstone of every relationship – especially in an employer-employee relationship. In today’s remote and hybrid workplaces, a lot of things can go wrong if feedback isn’t regular. Thanks to software, you can be thousands of miles away from your co-worker but still work together in tandem. However, the lack of visual and physical cues means that communication has to be regular and frequent.
There are a lot of project management tools which you can use to ensure that everyone is on the same page at all times. Even a simple phone call can clear a lot of issues. Employee performance suffers when these channels aren’t utilized, and the employees have to fend for themselves.
2. Make clear goals with joint accountability
If employee job performance overall is dipping, then that could point to the lack of a clear goal. When the leadership presents too many dissimilar goals, employees tend to stick to their comfort zones and work only on the goals that they have the most influence over. That’s why it’s important to create organizational goals with joint accountability, using frameworks like SMART goals.
3. Know your employees’ skills
Should you play to your strengths or fix your weaknesses? Regardless of which side of the debate you fall on, a 2015 survey by author Michelle McQuaid found that employees perform better when they and their managers focus on building their strengths. So the first step is would be to do a 360 degree survey review to understand your employees’ strengths and weaknesses. Then, address them with a personalized development plan that takes their career goals into account.
4. Delegate, delegate, delegate
Many entrepreneurs walk to their offices every day with the belief that if there is something that needs to be done, only they can do it well. While part of it is because they are emotionally invested in their business, nothing could be farther from the truth. As a leader, delegation is important because you cannot – and should not — do everything yourself. It empowers your employees, builds trust, lets them grow, and lets you know who is suited for that particular job.
5. Offer incentives
Do you believe that loyalty programs are only for customers? Think again! According to a survey of over 300 HR professionals by the Michael C. Fina Recognition, employees love workplace recognition programs and incentives. The best part is that they cost very little to implement; from flexi-work options to curated e-gifts, there are lots of personalized and affordable ways to appreciate your employees. It helps employee performance and your bottom line as well.
6. Re-skill them
When an employee learns additional skills to be better equipped for their job, that’s up-skilling. When an employee learns a new set of skills to do a different job, that’s re-skilling. Both have become more important as automation and AI take hold; some employees need to be taught how to use new tools while others aim to fill vacancies that lack skilled labor. What’s more, re-skilling has become a cheaper solution than hiring when an employee has persistent performance issues in their current role.
7. Do frequent performance appraisals
“Employees crave accurate, growth-oriented feedback – and they don’t want to wait until an annual job review to get it,” said Rachel Ernst, vice president of employee success at Reflektive. In fact, according to a study by the same company, a whopping 72% of employees prefer feedback at least once a month. So support your annual performance review with weekly check-ins, monthly reviews and quarterly business reviews. Or even a ten-minute meeting will do.
8. Invest in employee development
Lack of career growth is one the top reasons people leave their jobs. And career growth is only possible through professional development. Give your employees opportunities for professional training and development; they will reward you with better job performance and increased loyalty to the company. What’s more, your company will also be able to attract the talent you need to grow as a business.
9. Check in on your employees’ well-being
Create a work environment where there is mutual respect for everyone, and everyone is treated in the same way. Create strategies to boost morale and reduce the risk of mental health issues – like encouraging frank discussions, providing free screening tools, monitoring wellbeing with anonymous mental health surveys, and supporting their efforts to get help for their issues. Morale boosting activities like team sports, impromptu games, fitness time outs are also great tips for employee wellness.
10. Automate the mundane
If you could spend an extra $100 every month for software, and it would mean that you save 20 hours of your designer ‘s time every month, what would you do? This is a no-brainer; your designer is now free to concentrate on core tasks – the ones that yield the returns. Research suggests that companies using business automation have more than doubled their revenue growth – and this bigger helping of the profit pie is not just for giants like Amazon.
11. Give them authority
No, we are not advising you to give them authority over every decision – that would be stupid. Give them a level of authority where they feel as if they have a say in day-to-day decision making. If they need a Resource A, they shouldn’t have to wait a few hours for it or email five people about it. In other words, they shouldn’t feel ”Oh, I have to send an email to get some paper clippers.” They should be able to get them directly from the storeroom.
12. Investigate issues promptly
When there are a lot of people working in a closed environment, mistakes are bound to happen and people will lose their cool. Every time there is a problem, there should be an open discussion about it to address the issue directly without getting personal. Maybe it was a misunderstanding or there was a lack of resources – the cause could be anything. Remember that if they aren’t given the support that they yearn for, you are making it difficult for the employees to work properly.
13. Create a positive environment
It is no news that happier people produce consistently superior work. While it can be taxing to always maintain an air of joie de vivre, maintaining a positive, friendly work environment is actually not all that difficult. A strong culture code, comfortable workspaces, regular opportunities for feedback and training, and regular breaks can go a long way.
14. Simplify onboarding
It is a stressful process for most new employees as they are anxious about working at a new place and want to put their best foot forward. This is the time for your company to make them feel welcome – it is also the time for you to train the new employees and make them understand how the company runs. However, train your recruits on a periodic basis, and don’t overload them with information at the beginning itself.
15. Encourage growth
It’s easy to point of mistakes; turning them into opportunities for improvement is a lot harder. Measure the performance of your employees and let them know when they slip or when they are improving. You need to be honest with them when it comes to their performance. The managers should be able to gauge their personality, what drives them, etc. so that they could be encouraged to grow fast.
16. Ask for feedback
Feedback should be a two-way affair. Not only should the employees be told how they can become better, but you should also ask them how you can, as a manager, do better. While most employees will not want to divulge their thoughts openly because of fear or reprisals, you can also give them the option to respond anonymously. Encourage them to be honest with you and create such an environment. You don’t have to spend hours on this – there are various performance management tools that can help you collect feedback effortlessly.
17. Create core values
Success is important but it should also be guided by certain core values for the journey. That will be the cornerstone behind everything – your hiring, marketing plan, sales techniques, pricing, etc. When you have clear values, you will be able to tell your employees -” Hey, this is who we are and this is how we expect you to handle thins.” This helps businesses immensely, motivates the employees and gives them guidelines to navigate issues and respond to customers.
18. Have realistic deadlines
Most of the companies that keep failing have one thing in common – they overpromise and under-deliver. While you have to do the opposite of that, it isn’t what we are trying to convey. Instead, ensure that whenever you want to close a deal, don’t be pressured into accepting a date that would require your employees to put in back-breaking work every day. While the timeline for a project can be challenging, it shouldn’t sound ridiculous for anyone involved.
19. Practice accountability
While having goals and a plan of action are great, if there is no accountability, then everything is wasted. You can create accountability by having regular meetings, providing constructive feedback, milestones, progress involved, and so on. You also need to let your employees know that negative consequences are also applicable if they are found slacking.
20. Listen to your employees
Do not let your employees feel unheard. Remember that your employees are the ones doing everything, taking care of different departments, meeting customers, talking to prospects, building software, and so on. This means that they would have a plethora of issues that they need to deal with on a daily basis. It makes sense to listen to them as they would have a goldmine of information about your business and the customers.
21. Trust in their ability
What happens when a manager or the business doesn’t trust its employees to do their job well? They begin to micro-manage them. Micro-managed employees will not be happy because it will stifle their freedom and the ability to work in peace. It undermines their abilities and lowers employee performance. All you need to do is let them know about your expectations, and offer them the needed support in terms of resources and technologies.
22. Praise more, criticize less
While this is a dictum that applies to life in general, it gains greater importance in the workspace as there is a lot more at stake. It is fine to point out major mistakes that waste the company’s time or drain its resources. But you should not punish employees for small mistakes. If you think that they made a mistake which was too trivial to think about, then ignore it completely. Do not worry too much about the small stuff, people are more important.
23. Every employee is unique
Remember that some employees might want to be checked in every other hour while some will thrive when they are given the freedom to work. As an entrepreneur, you need to understand this and work accordingly. If you try a certain method with someone who loathes it, then it will only lead to poor employee performance. Look for opportunities to make your employees feel good and improve their position at the firm every day.
24. Know when to part ways
Unfortunately, not everyone will be suited to work at your organization. While it is the last resort, you need to give them opportunities until you establish clearly that there is not much that you can do. If you feel that someone is not able to produce results at all, it may be wise to part ways before they can affect overall employee performance. But ensure that you invest proper time and effort to make your employee stay.
25. Train your managers
While newer employees should be given training, remember that your managers need to be trained effectively as well. They are the ones who will be monitoring the work of your employees, and they should be in a position to do so. They need to be equipped with the right skills, technical know-how, and empathy. That isn’t something that every manager has, so it is the responsibility of the business to ensure that managers learn it.
26. Review hiring procedures
If you consistently see that the turnover rate is increasing, then there is something fundamentally wrong about your hiring techniques. Even if there isn’t a lot wrong about it, you should still ensure that you are following the best practices so that you don’t let in someone whose values differ diametrically from yours.
27. Reward high employee performance
The best performing employees will not be satisfied with a certificate or a picture on the wall congratulating them for being the best employee. They need much more than that. Based on the level of the performance they showed, you should reward them. Many companies put so much effort into managing low performers that they forget to incentivize their best performers. This will obviously lead to a feeling of being ignored.
28. Offer remote working options
Thanks to COVID-19, working from home is the new normal and you might have probably build a remote team by now. But companies will go back to working from offices and you should offer remote working options at that time as well. Flexible timings are appreciated by everyone. And now that we know that remote work doesn’t equal slacking, we are sure that companies won’t hesitate to offer remote work even in a post-COVID-19 world.
29. Be better
Please be assured that your employees will be discussing the kind of perks that are available at your competitor. What are the benefits that you provide? What is the kind of perks that you offer which your employees proudly discuss with their friends? If your answer to the questions doesn’t have anything significant to it, then you need to look at how you treat your employees. Offering perks and other benefits will help you attract the right kind of employees into your fold.
30. Do 360 reviews
Employees receive confidential feedback from their colleagues and immediate boss on a variety of parameters. This will help provide a picture of employee performance that is more balanced and less biased. In fact, there are tools like SurveySparrow that evaluate the results of a 360 review in the best possible way. You can try it out yourself with a free account.
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Traditional approaches to keeping employees engaged will not work anymore. A lot of things have changed drastically in the past decade – especially the last year. At no point should your employees feel less valued than a customer. We hope these thirty techniques will help you keep them happy, motivated and engaged.