How To Improve Employee Performance in 6 Steps
We can talk about training forever, but in the end, improving employee performance remains the goal.
Even one underperforming employee can cause a company to fall short of its potential. Identifying and correcting underperformance is an obvious priority, but it’s not always so obvious how to improve performance.
There are a lot of “carrot and stick” methods to improve employee performance, some leaning more towards the carrot, others the stick. But if you really want your cart to move faster, it might be worth it to guide your mule to a smooth road as well.
The road you set them on will have a big impact on their performance in tangent to how you motivate them.
Here, we’ve collected a list of 6 steps to address the road, the carrot and the stick.
How to Improve Performance in a Company
1. Find why an employee is underperforming
It’s important to not jump to conclusions regarding why an employee is underperforming. Rarely does a person set out to intentionally do a bad job.
The problem could be as simple as not having the proper resources or being under trained. There could be outside influences distracting them from their work. It’s possible that the employee is conflicted about company goals or has lost motivation to fulfill the mission of the company.
Whatever reason is underlying their underperformance, is important to know what it is first if it is to be improved.
2. Encourage Communication
Clearly communicating underperformance is challenging but necessary. Managers should also open the floor to the underperforming employee to articulate what barriers are standing in their way so that the manager can improve their circumstances.
Employee performance can be improved when both the manager and the employee understand where they are, where they need to be, and how they are going to get there.
In addition to the manager and employee having open communication, the entire team should be encouraged to communicate everything from progress, deadlines, expectations, and resources.
Doing this makes it easier to navigate an objective from start to finish within the framework of the team. It opens up opportunities to collaborate and can improve the performance for everyone.
3. Create a positive work environment
With open communication underway, it’s now time to review the work environment. It wouldn’t make sense to encourage communication in an environment where people are intimidated by superiors, arbitrarily reprimanded and their concerns dismissed.
Rather, work towards a work culture that allows employees to voice their opinion and reinforce that their opinions are heard. Giving employees a healthy and happy work environment will foster better results.
Employees will be more likely to contribute their good ideas and hard work to a company that wants to hear them.
4. Provide effective training
Right from the start, provide all new employees with proper training. Make sure that employees know what to do, and the most efficient way of doing it. Once the processes for getting the job done are routine, they’ll be able to contribute their unique ideas and be effective at getting things done.
But don’t make the mistake of thinking training is a one-time thing. Training should be ongoing so that employees can continue to develop their skills. Ongoing training is the way to continuously improve.
5. Don’t forget to have a little fun
Make it enjoyable to be at work. Spending 40+ hours a week in an uninspiring environment is a recipe to get uninspiring results.
Study after study has shown that performance is improved when the workday is broken up by small breaks, leisurely strolls, and fresh air. Adding in team building experiences and opportunities to laugh are sure to go a long way towards improving employee performance.
Gamifying work can also improve performance. Set goals that are attached to fun activities, bonuses, or extra vacation time. Friendly competitions can encourage employees to push their performance to the next level.
6. Acknowledge contributions
If you want to boost your employees’ morale and motivate them to give the best they can, then you have to recognize their individual contributions and accomplishments. Be generous with your praises and you’ll notice that staff will become more creative and eager to work.
But be careful. Being generous with general praise will diminish the value and impact of your praise.
Instead, make a habit of mentioning the specific effort you are praising. Rather than simply saying “Good job” say, “Good job on putting together that presentation. It really drove the message home for our client.”
Specific praise will also work towards your goal of encouraging communication. This way, employees will know when and what work is appreciated to be able to do it again.