How to Improve Employee Performance
It does not matter if you have a great business strategy, offer excellent services or even have abundant resources; the main factor for your company to be successful lies in its workforce. Employees are vital when it comes to boosting productivity levels and generating greater profits in any company.
Therefore, making sure employees are engaged in their jobs and perform in a committed and productive way is of the utmost importance. The question is, what can we, as managers, do to make sure employees are giving their best and feel comfortable and valued in their positions?
The first step to improving employees’ performance in your company is to understand what causes your workforce to perform poorly. Most times, you can boost your employees’ performance by changing all the underlying factors that make them disengaged and prone to resigning, which can negatively impact employee turnover rates.
Why Do Employees Perform Poorly?
There are many aspects that can lead employees to perform poorly.
In many situations, it is the employee’s fault. Problems with punctuality, time management, working relationships, dependability, project management, negative attitude are more common than we think. And even though there are some actions you can take to prevent these problems, such as having a strict attendance record, they still can happen.
However, there are many problems that affect employees’ performance that happen because of management problems. For example, giving new tasks to employees that are not prepared to perform them, not encouraging a healthy work environment failing to communicate a common goal. These are all aspects that can directly affect your employees’ job.
Conducting a performance appraisal can not only give you, as a manager, the chance to identify these causes but also to give constructive criticism to help your employee better his or her performance. Constructive feedback can be hard to give in some situations, but it is crucial for problem solving.
It is not always easy to identify the causes of poor performance but as a leader, you must come up with creative ideas to address poor job performance. Having good listening skills and interpersonal skills can certainly help you to recognize what is causing employees to perform under the expected. Let’s go over some of the most common causes of poor performance so you understand what to look for in your next performance evaluation:
1. Lack of Decent Employee Experience
When employees find themselves in a company that does not offer a satisfying employee experience, they tend to feel demotivated. This often leads them to perform poorly and consider joining other companies.
In order to provide your employees with a positive experience at your company, you need to make sure to offer some important benefits and aspects that will make employees feel valued and acknowledged. Some of the creative solutions you can add to your company culture are:
- Mentoring and coaching
- Engaging training sessions
- Monthly recognition to best performers
- Work flexibility
2. Lack of Competitive Salaries and Benefits
According to SHRM, 44% of surveyed employees claimed they had resigned due to a lack of competitive salaries and they had moved to companies that pay them better. These statistics show how important it is to stay competitive in whatever industry your company is immersed in.
When employees are underpaid and they don’t get enough benefits, they will soon lose interest in performing well and will end up whether resigning or decreasing productivity levels significantly.
A way to reverse this situation is to offer unique benefits such as help paying off student debt. For instance, you can join FutureFuel as a manager and work with a modular SaaS platform to offer this benefit to your employees.
3. Confusing and Unclear Tasks and Goals
One of the main reasons why employees feel demotivated is not knowing where their effort and energy is going to. Not having clear goals and not knowing what their mission is in the company can be a disengaging factor for many employees.
As a manager, you need to make sure your team is aware of their role within the company and how their actions have a positive impact on the company’s operations. Otherwise, employees will feel easily replaceable and isolated in many cases.
You must come up with innovative ideas regarding how to clearly communicate that to your employees. Giving specific examples of how their responsibilities will impact the company as a whole is a good practice. This will give the employee some extra motivation and a positive attitude to achieve their performance goals.
4. Lack of Technical and Interpersonal Skills
This might sound beyond unacceptable but in some cases, employees are not qualified to perform certain tasks. This often happens when employees are transferred to areas they were not originally hired for.
For some employees, it might be difficult to say no to a superior when they are transferred or promoted. In some cases, this leads workers to accept a new position they are not prepared for, which often results in a dramatic decrease in productivity and motivation levels.
Before transferring or promoting any of your employees, you should have an interview with them. This with the purpose of discussing the possible change thoroughly and determining if the change is productive or if it’s going to have the opposite effect. Promoting an employee that needs a lot of development might take too much time of others — whether it is worth it or not, depends on the case. If the employee is a team player and is always looking for growth opportunities, it might be a good idea to give him or her a chance. A good way to start the development process is by letting the employee participate in team meetings or group projects that he or she didn’t use to. This will give the employee the chance to have a fresh idea regarding what’s about to come his or her way.
As I mentioned before, the first step into improving employee development is pointing out the factors that might be leading employees to lose motivation and engagement levels. By doing so, you will solve the majority of problems that are affecting your company’s productivity levels.
In addition to this, you can also consider conducting surveys so you can get input directly from your staff. This way, you can work directly on the problems that are causing your staff to perform poorly.
How to Give Feedback Correctly in the Workplace
Up to these days, there are managers who don’t even consider giving feedback to their employees. These managers often think feedback is not something that can make a difference, or they simply don’t know how to do it.
When it comes to improving your employees’ productivity, engagement, and satisfaction, giving feedback in a timely manner has proven to be effective. According to a survey conducted by Gallup, employees who received feedback showed lower turnover rates and greater productivity levels.
The question is, how to give feedback effectively so your employees feel recognized for their achievements and can successfully improve weak aspects in their day-to.day tasks?
1. Use the Right Approach
Apart from written feedback, for which you can use the employee performance review phrases listed above, you should have a face-to-face interview with your employees.
The purpose of this interview is to recognize the person’s achievements and guide them into discovering the aspects they can improve in the company.
Having a face-to-face meeting with your employees is not about telling them what they did wrong and expecting that not to happen again. You don’t need to blame others to get what you need. Instead, you should focus on analyzing every step that led to the inconvenience.
Analyze the reasons why that strategy did not work, and more importantly, devise a new strategy in conjunction, so staff members can achieve the assigned tasks successfully.
2. Give Detailed and Honest Feedback
It does not matter if you are giving positive feedback or you are showing employees room for improvement. When we give feedback, it has to be detailed and honest.
Random phrases such as “good job” or “well done” are useless. Instead, pinpoint specific parts of the employee’s action plan and let them know how that helped achieve the task successfully.
When it comes to feedback for improvement, telling employees they did poorly or that the strategy they devised was useless won’t work.
A better way to help your employees improve their performance through feedback is to show them why the strategy didn’t work, the specific changes they should do next time, give them examples, and encourage them to learn from their mistakes.
Check out this post if you want to learn how to give positive employee feedback.
3. Always Keep a Positive Approach
Feedback is useless if not given using the right approach. The idea of giving your employees regular feedback is to encourage them to keep learning from their mistakes and also praising them for a job well done. Whatever the case is, feedback is about learning, improving, and getting recognized.
Something every manager should know is that feedback is never about telling your employees off. When you use feedback sessions to reprimand your staff for something they did wrong, it will have a negative effect on them. Therefore, try to avoid judging, scolding, or making your employees feel uncomfortable.
Remember, everybody is supposed to experience a learning curve at work, and managers are there to help employees with this process.
Always encourage learning, honesty, and values among your staff if you want to have a healthy, successful organization that everybody would like to work at.
Best of luck!