No matter where you invest your money, you always want a great ROI for it. The best thing about investing in humans is that your ROI could be in millions. Also, the only way you can build a meaningful business is with the help of motivated and class employee performance. Every business owner wants their employees to give their 100% at all times. Unfortunately, it is not always possible because of a variety of issues. If one of the issues is because you haven’t created a stellar work environment, then it behooves a business owner to make amends.
How to Improve Employee Performance: 30 Simple Tips
Employees are the backbone of your company. There’s no denying that. Of course, you need stellar employee performance to see your business thrive. Here are 30 techniques that will surely help you improve employee performance of your organization. Dive in.
1. Effectively communicate
Communication is the cornerstone of every relationship, especially so in an employer-employee relationship as a lot of things could go wrong if communication is not up to the mark. Thanks to technology, you can even be thousands of miles away but still, work together in tandem as if there was no distance.
There are a lot of project management tools like Trello, Jira, which can be used to communicate effectively with the employees and ensure that everyone is on the same page at all times. Even a simple phone call made back and forth can clear a lot of issues. The problem stems when none of these channels are employed and the employees have to fend for themselves.
2. Have clear goals
If most of your employees are not performing, then there is something inherently wrong with your systems. More often than not, all of the problems could be attributed to something that the employees are doing or something that they are not allowed to do. If you want your employees to be effective, then you need to set goals for them and give them an opportunity to prove themselves. If there is no direction, you will leave the employees unmotivated.
3. Know your employees’ skills
If you are a wise employer, you will assign jobs to employees according to the skill sets they have. It does a great deal of good in improving employee performance. There are no two questions about it. You cannot ask a full-stack marketer to code in Java. While that was a ridiculous example, hope you understand the point. A creative and extrovert person will be a great face to present in front of clients while an introvert who is not great with small talk might not be the best salesperson for your team.
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 efficiently. While some of those emotions arise because they are emotionally invested in their business, nothing could be farther from the truth. Always find people who are good at a particular skill set and let them do their jobs with full participation. Your only job should be to delegate and ensure that your company is running in the direction based on your plans.
5. Offer incentives
Do you think only your customers should remain loyal to you? Do you assume that all loyalty programs are for customers? It is as effective to retain your employees as it is to retain your customers. If you want to give one more reason for your employees to give their best, then offer them exciting incentives. While offering incentives round the year is not advisable, you should be strict about the number of times you might want to employ such an exercise.
6. Re-skill them
If you think your employees are not up to the mark when it comes to the output they are providing, instead of getting a quick fix like firing them, find out how you can better the situation. When your employees are found wanting, talk to them, understand why they failed to meet the expectations, and re-skill them if necessary. Remember, it is much easier to teach an existing employee on the job rather than going through the terrible process of hiring again.
7. Performance Appraisals
Do take note of this point if you really want to boost employee performance. Imagine one of your under-performing employees is told only once in a three-year period that their performance is unsatisfactory? The kind of poor workmanship you would receive from that person would be incredible. In fact, a performance interview should be done every three months. It can be a simple ten-minute meeting where the employee can have an open dialogue with their reporting manager. Give them targets to achieve and show them a path to do the same. This will give them one more chance and they will stay loyal for a longer time.
8. Invest in employee development
Your employees are human beings who deal with a lot of things on a daily basis. They might be going through a rough patch with their family, in cases like this, it will be a relief if you provide emotional counseling for your employees. It is a sign that you care about your employees. Give them goals, plans, and a roadmap for their entire career. They will be forever grateful to you. Put your employees in front of opportunities that will help them achieve their full potential.
9. Improve their morale
Building on the previous point where we spoke about counseling for your employees as a benefit, you can offer more benefits too. Create a work environment where there is mutual respect for everyone and everyone is treated in the same way. Understand your employees and give them opportunities to feel better. Remember, your employees always want to give their best, the onus is on you to give them the opportunity and an office which makes them put in the work.
10. Use technology
If you could spend an extra $100 every month for software and it would mean that you save 20 hours every month for your designer, what would you do? If the answer to that question is to save your designer’s time, then you have it in you to build a great company. Technology is a great boon for businesses as it makes most of the mundane tasks that required tonnes of patience and hours of time earlier, to be completely automated. This means that you will save up time to concentrate on core tasks.
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 an iota of say in decision making. They should be given the freedom to make certain decisions. In short, they shouldn’t feel-” Oh, I have to send an email to get a paper clipper.” They should be able to get it directly from the storeroom. If they need a resource A, they shouldn’t have to wait a few hours for it or email five people about it.
12. Investigate issues
When there are a lot of people working in an 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 and address the problem directly without getting personal. Maybe there wasn’t proper training given to them or there was a lack of resources- it 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. It is impossible to work efficiently when there is chaos all around.
13. Create a positive environment
Imagine the employees walking into the office with a smile plastered across their faces? Isn’t it great? It is no news that happier people produce consistently superior work. When the entire environment reeks of positivity, people are happy to have a happy face too. Even if they had a bad day at home, they will get their joie de vivre, and that’s what you want as an employer.
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 welcomed. It is also the time for you to train the new employees and make them understand how the company runs. Keep training your employees on a regular basis and don’t overload them with information at the beginning itself.
15. Encourage growth
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
It 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 make their stay 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. Have core values
If you are a business, you should strive for success, but your journey should be based on certain core values that are important to you. It will be the cornerstone behind everything- your hiring, marketing plan, sales techniques used, 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 everything.” This helps businesses immensely as the employees are motivated by it and everything else becomes easy as they know how to navigate any issue because of the guidelines.
18. Have realistic deadlines
Most of the companies that keep falling 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 at this point. Ensure that whenever you want to close a deal, let you not 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, that’s the cruelest thing you can do as an employer. 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. All you need to do is let them know about your expectations, offer them the needed support in terms of resources and technologies.
22. Praise more, criticize less
While this is a dictum that applies in life, it gains importance in the office 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 them 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 show their completed 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 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 agree that it is because they don’t feel a part of it anymore or their values are in violation of what your business is. But ensure that you invest proper time and effort to make your employee stay.
25. Train 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. It 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 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 their effort into managing low performers that they forget to incentivize their best performers. This will obviously lead to a feeling of being ignored and the fact that their hard work won’t be rewarded.
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. Now that we know that remote work doesn’t equal slacking, we are sure that companies won’t hesitate much after the working conditions become normal 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’s. 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. 360 reviews
It is a recent concept where employees receive confidential feedback from their colleagues and immediate boss on a variety of parameters. It will help provide a picture 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.
We are sure that the above thirty tips will have opened you up to create newer experiences for your employees helping them improve their performance. The traditional approaches to keeping employees engaged will not work anymore. A lot of things have changed drastically in the past decade, we have a lot of channels and technologies available to make a difference to people who keep your business running.
Your employees, at no point, should feel less valued than a customer. As a business owner, it is your job to keep your employees happy, motivated, and energized to face every day at work. Don’t bark orders nor show them your authority in action or by words, it can be drastic for your business. There are a lot of options available for your employees and they wouldn’t think twice about leaving you.