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Building a successful organization is never an easy, straightforward process. The progress of any organization depends on several different factors, from excellent customer service and expert management teams to talent acquisition and employee retention.
However, if your employees are not driven to contribute, the organization is bound to feel it, and all your other endeavors may seem futile.
Motivating the employees to promote productivity in the workplace is one of the main goals businesses focus on to ensure the long-term company objectives will be met.
The fact that happy employees are known to perform 12 percent better than their counterparts should be a reason enough for your team to invest in boosting office morale.
However, boosting morale and empowering employees is easier said than done. Different people are motivated by different things, and one person’s reason to try extra hard may not affect someone else.
This is why you need those performance management methods that have proven the best consistency and work towards boosting team morale and improving employee performance instead of just focusing on individuals.
Employee performance relates to how well workers can conduct their required job duties. Evaluating performance is an easy way to pinpoint the need for additional training and mentoring to improve your workforce. - Ashley Donohoe
How to improve employee performance: 13 practical ways
As your team's performance is vital for your organization’s future, here are the top thirteen best practices to improve employee performance in practical ways.
1. Define goals that are clear and achievable.
Seamless communication is essential to keep any goal transparent and feasible in every team effort. This is why delegating explained and objectively achievable tasks are one of the most important aspects of boosting productivity at a workplace.
Whenever you provide concise instructions and clear feedback on what you expect, you save your employee (and, as a result, your organization) a lot of time that they would otherwise spend trying to decipher what needs to be done in the first place.
2. Provide them with adequate work equipment
Providing your team with the resources that would be helpful for their day-to-day efficiency at the workplace will significantly help in improving the overall productivity and performance of your team.
You must provide your team with adequate work conditions as well. Properties of the office impact behaviour, perceptions, and productivity of workers.
Failing to provide employees with adequate equipment strips the employer of the right to expect peak performance, similarly to underpaying them. In a scenario where we’re not just talking about office work, proper equipment can also reduce the risk of injury.
The safety aspect is essential, and it’s something closely tied to the ethics of being an employer. Each time you skimp on equipment and try to get something on the low-end, you’ll expose your employees to a certain amount of risk.
In a scenario where they’re aware of it or see it in the same way, you’ll directly impact their morale, even increase their abandonment rate by quite the margin.
Some of these gadgets and tools are there to help your team be more efficient, while others are simply there to help them avoid spending too much time and effort on menial tasks.
Proper hardware and licensed software are the least you can do—either way, what works in your case works.
For example, teams that need to communicate without interruptions and can’t afford to leave their stations often perform better with the help of some of the best communication tools.
On the other hand, employees who struggle with creating written content could benefit from service providers.
3. Identify emotional vampires
Some people simply draw the life force from everyone in their vicinity. They’re not directly impacting productivity by underperforming or sabotaging the rest of your team, but they might just undermine the office’s morale daily. It is necessary to provide a healthy work environment.
Studies even suggest that these individuals have a much more profound impact on their coworkers than was previously assumed.
You see, the problem in spotting these individuals may lay in two things.
- Your employees might be reluctant to bad-mouth their coworkers (even if they dislike working with them).
- They aren’t necessarily underperforming or performing badly in your employ.
So, make sure that you develop an efficient feedback system and have the trust level with your employees so high that they’ll feel comfortable telling you these things.
Once you identify the emotional vampire, you can do two things.
- Fire them not to have them undermine the productivity of your entire staff.
- Offer them a chance to work from home or place them in a position where they have as little interaction with the rest of your team as possible.
The first option is a lot more reliable because an emotional vampire can still substantially damage office morale, even in the virtual environment.
4. Show your team that you care about them
One of the biggest mistakes that many entrepreneurs make is assuming that the customer-is-always-right principle applies in every scenario.
If someone is rude deliberately and for no reason, the chances are that they won’t stay a customer no matter what you do, and in the long run, they’ll not be worth keeping as a customer.
There’s a point past which a customer costs more effort and resources than they’re bringing, thus causing you to do business at a net loss.
This phenomenon is recognized by science as the concept of customer bullying. In your efforts to try and keep them, all you’ll do is drive your team away and show your valuable staff members that they never come first.
This can be a massive productivity and morale killer. Another way to show your team that you care for them is always to have time to hear them out.
Now, once your business grows past a specific retainer size, you won’t be able to have regular one-on-one meetings with your staff. However, while the team is still relatively small, this is a practice that you should stick to as much as you can.
This level of personal care and attention simply can’t be made up for in any other way, and it is something that the majority of other entrepreneurs can’t or won’t offer.
In other words, it’s something that will earn you a staggering amount of loyalty, other than immediately raising the level of morale within the office.
While you’re having these face-to-face meetings or, at the very least, interacting with your staff, you need to start paying full attention to what they’re saying and trying to memorize as much as you can.
For example, asking about a specific task they’re performing and its progress. Or ask about their spouse and children by their first names? If they are facing any trouble in communicating with their teammates.
It’s a lot of work, but it’s just a part of being an effective leader.
5. An adequate reward for an adequate effort
It is only natural that people are more interested in what they can do for them than what they can do for you, which is why you need to start considering what the intrinsic motives of your team are.
First of all, people care about their finances, which is why the promise of a raise may be pretty compelling. Second, those who are more career-oriented may be focusing on the ability to rise in ranks, which is why some room for vertical movement may work, as well.
While the above-listed two may be great for one’s short-term motivation, the short-term motivation of your staff on a project may also be a thing worth considering. This is what the bonuses are there for.
This is particularly effective when your team is just wrapping up a major project, and you expect them to start another one just as they’re done. By handing them out a bonus, you’ll remind them why they’re working extra hard to deliver you results. On the other hand, some studies claim otherwise.
6. Don’t forget about high-performance recognition.
When an employee stands out by doing exceptional work, make sure to recognize their effort and their achievements openly.
Not only will that team member feel more inclined to continue with great work in the future, but the rest of the team will most likely follow their lead as well.
If an employee has demonstrated solid time and task management abilities others can learn from, it could be a good time to show appreciation or a pay raise on a recognition platform.
7. Assign tasks to match the skills.
Take the time to get acquainted with your employees’ working styles, strengths, and weaknesses. Knowing which tasks to delegate to which individuals mean utilizing your staff’s full potential to bring to the table.
Although your employees can’t always get only the tasks they are comfortable with, playing on their strengths rather than their weaknesses will pay off in the long run.
8. Invest in employee development.
More competent employees equal a more productive workforce. To make sure your team is always ready to tackle any challenge and keep up with the innovations in the industry, investing in employee learning and development is the best course of action.
Although this seems like a costly solution for some business owners, it’s a practice that will surely help your company move forward.
Courses, seminars, workshops, and mentoring programs will help your employees grow professionally, making them more skilled and, as a result, more efficient and productive in the workplace.
9. Motivate using incentives.
Incentives are a great way to reward the most productive employees for jobs well done, and they show the whole team you value their hard work and contributions.
Incentives can include a wide range of benefits, from paid time off, bonuses, and raises to organizing team-building activities where your staff can relax and get to know each other better.
10. Organize regular performance reviews.
Scheduling regular employee evaluations give the management valuable opportunities to provide individual feedback for every team member.
However, these meetings are also helpful in finding out what troubles your employees, what they might miss in the workplace, and what would make them more motivated and driven to fully commit to their everyday tasks.
11. Stay in the loop and communicate openly with your team.
Boosting employee engagement and performance is a process that requires long-term dedication and attentiveness.
To make sure your employees understand their assignments and do their best to accomplish them in the most effective and timely manner, stay in the loop and openly communicate with your team.
12. Team and community building
Another thing you need to keep in mind is that loyalty is an effective motivator, even if it’s not just you that your team members are loyal to.
Keep in mind that working on a project with people they hold in high esteem might place your employees in a position where they feel the pressure to work extra hard in order not to let their team members down.
In this particular case, validation of their peers means more than any kind of positive feedback on your side. This is simply a benefit of being in a harmonious and well-composed team.
Achieving this, on the other hand, takes a lot of effort on your part.
- It requires you to provide your team with some team-building activities and opportunities.
- It requires you to give your staff a chance to mingle outside of work. We’re talking about field trips, corporate parties, and other opportunities for them to get to know each other in a bit more relaxed environment.
- Most importantly, you need to make your office an environment where making friends is easy and possible.
Being constantly under pressure and feeling monitored/supervised will kill this vibe around the office. Make sure that your team members feel pleasant in the office, and the team unity will skyrocket in no time.
The last thing you need to focus on is rewarding teamwork instead of individual effort. Backstabbing and undermining colleagues due to rivalry will only happen if you make the environment in which these practices give results.
The numbers here are pretty shocking, seeing as how 29% said that there is someone at their workplace who is making their lives a living hell, and 14% claimed more than one person is making their lives miserable.
To make matters worse, this starts a vicious cycle, seeing as how about 31% of test subjects are keen to get revenge on someone who did them harm, thus escalating the matters further.
By rewarding teamwork instead and praising only the staff members who are constantly there for others, you’ll make a team-friendly environment.
Keep in mind that you can expect your employees to continuously act like this as long as you endorse backstabbing behavior in your office. In other words, you can’t expect to reward such behavior and then act surprised once it takes over your office.
Motivating your staff and improving employee performance should never begin after a company has already experienced downfalls.
These processes should move parallel with other efforts focused on business progress and well-being, as the employees are vital aspects that can make or break it for an organization.
Although employee performance is difficult to measure explicitly, your business will surely experience noticeable benefits after implementing pieces of advice given in these eight practical tips.
To see progressive results in performance reviews, the last thing you should consider is that increasing employee morale and improving performance takes time.
It’s not enough to just buy a piece of office equipment or have an occasional chat with your team members. You need to consistently make such gestures so that your staff can see that you’re seriously invested in their needs and desires.
You should also remember to make an initial push and have your team work out all the rest in some of these fields.