How to Improve Employee Performance

Employee performance is a key indicator for company success. However, understanding how to maximize employee potential can prove difficult and subjective.

We’ve compiled a shortlist of things you could try to optimize performance. Before you delve into ways how to improve employee performance, it is vital you ascertain the reasons why your employees may be underperforming. The four most common reasons why employees may be underperforming are:

  • Understanding: Do they understand the tasks they are being set?
  • Capability: Do they have the aptitude and the training to do the job properly?
  • Resources: Do they have the resources to do the job?
  • Willingness: Do they have a willingness to do the work?

In order to understand where the poor performance stems from you must keep an open mind without jumping to conclusions. Vital to this is how you communicate with your employees, allow for an open discussion surrounding any issues that may be causing underperformance and how you address them directly.

How to Improve Employee Performance

For instance, you may find it is personal/domestic issues that are the cause for the decline in performance, therefore you may need to adjust regular standards for the employee whilst they work through the issue. If this is the case, you must make sure the rest of your team know without sharing personal details why you have made these adjustments for transparency, and to avoid any suspicions of favouritism which may have a negative effect on morale.

Once you have found which aspect, or aspects that the employee is underperforming in, there are a couple of steps you can take to address the issues in general:

1. Create an engaging workplace culture.

Research suggests that employees are more engaged and motivated to work hard when they are recognized for their work, given regular feedback, kept in the loop and have the ability to collaborate between teams and employees. Moreover, your organization is a team, and just as in sport, each member must be invested in the end goal, or in other words, the company vision. Most of all employees want to feel appreciated, so take time to create an employee appreciation culture in your organization.

2. Communicate clear expectations.

Make sure employees know what is expected of them, keep communicating with them so that they stay on the right path, make sure that they can explain to you what they are doing so that you know they themselves understand.

3. Encourage wellbeing at work

Without stating the obvious, employee wellbeing is critically linked to performance. Studies suggest that good employee wellbeing is vital to staff performance and productivity. So make sure you have steps in place to both monitor and take action to improve employee wellbeing. These can be via providing a gym membership, having mental health awareness days, having a cycle to work scheme or keeping your office a social place by hosting events after work hours. Either way, you should strive to reduce stress!

4. Provide development opportunities

No one wants to be stuck in the cliché ‘dead end job’, so make sure your employees aren’t! Provide them with opportunities for lifelong learning, make sure they are constantly trained to use any new software or hardware implemented into the organization. Furthermore, make sure you have development plans organized for each employee, as this gives employees the ability to adapt their performance and achieve their objectives.

5. Motivate by performance

You need to work closely with your employees to create a motivating environment in which to work. Three ways in which you could increase motivation are by setting performance goals whether they be OKR’s or SMART goals, providing performance assistance via resources and training and by providing performance feedback, but make sure its constructive!

All of these processes can of course be digitized. This will not only improve the experience for your employees, it will make the processes in your organization more efficient. Furthermore it will allow for a more streamlined way of communication for you and your team.

Improving an employee's performance goes hand in hand with their potential. Check out our guide on how to create a talent matrix.

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