It’s fair to say it’s a manager’s dream to work with a high functioning team that excels in getting stuff done. And it’s pretty obvious that the more engaged and happy your employees are at work, the greater their productivity levels – and the better your bottom line.
If you’re in the people management game and would like to implement some fresh strategies to improve employee performance, we have you covered with these seven key management techniques.
1. Create Clear, Realistic and Measurable Goals
When it comes to working out how to improve employee performance, a smart place to start is to carefully review the goals you’ve set for your staff. To give team members the best chance of success, goals should be clear, realistic and measurable. When reflecting on these goals, ask yourself:
- Is the goal clearly defined?
- What steps are required to meet it?
- How much time will each take?
- Are the steps broken up into specific milestones to accurately measure progress?
- Can it realistically be achieved within the timeline set (factoring in the employee’s or team’s overall workload)?
If you answer ‘no’ or struggled to answer a question, this might mean the tasks and overall goal needs some adjusting.
Pay particular attention to the timeline question, as this is an area that causes employees the most stress, leading to a less-than-stellar performance. If your team feels they have adequate time to do their best work and meet their goal, they will less likely feel frustrated or overworked (two traits that aren’t conducive to increasing productivity!).
2. Maximise Communication Methods
At one time or another, we’ve all faced the twin towers of an overflowing inbox and a seemingly insurmountable ‘to-do’ task list. But if you drill down into that electronic inbox, you’ll likely discover plenty of ‘to and fro’ emails that could’ve been solved in minutes with a quick conversation. And if you find them, your employees will too.
This is where maximising your communication tools can be of real benefit. Encourage staff to utilise real-time messaging systems, video chats, phone calls or face-to-face interactions instead of relying primarily on email. It’s a great way of enhancing team performance as it frees up time that can be better spent on tackling those ‘to do’ lists.
3. Encourage Feedback
Whether you’re managing a team of outbound sales superstars or a band of savvy front-end developers, they’re a goldmine of information. Sitting right on the front line, they directly interact with customers or stakeholders, so they’re often the first to hear about an issue or pain point.
By actively and regularly seeking out their feedback, you’re able to respond in an agile manner and avoid delays and the inevitable frustrations they cause. More importantly, you’re clearly showing your employees that their opinions and ideas are not only valued, but acted upon. This does wonders for their engagement, and their desire to do more and better.
In a similar vein, you can let employees know that you’re open to suggestions for improvements in other areas of the business. An example might be in the way you lead. Are they happy with the amount of guidance you give them? Do they feel kept in the loop about important issues? What would they change? This is a great way to demonstrate that you understand part of managing employee performance is being willing to tweak the way you lead them.
4. Foster Growth
One of the most valuable strategies to improve the performance of employees is to invest in their growth. It could be by helping them expand their current skillset with an industry-based course, or learn new tricks of the trade through job shadowing or mentoring. It might even be as simple as increasing the scope of their responsibilities. All of these things will allow them to do more in their current role, not to mention more for the company at large in future. It’s also a smart way to build up their loyalty stores.
As career growth is highly personalised, establish a clear progression pathway with each employee. Set goals together and create small milestones for achieving them. You may also like to use this meeting to review their current performance and let them know what they’re doing well, alongside areas for improvement. Part of their progression pathway might be to focus on upskilling in these spheres.
5. Embrace Autonomy
As a leader of a team, you’re responsible for the end result. And in some managers, this pressure can lead to an awful lot of micromanaging. This can have a detrimental effect on productivity – from excessive approval processes creating workflow bottlenecks, to unhappy employees who feel like they have no control over their daily tasks.
If you really want to know how to improve team productivity, then consider becoming the Dean of Delegation! This doesn’t mean you have to take a total step back, but rather wisely assign tasks to the most qualified staff, and then let them do their thing. You can then check-in at crucial points to provide support or guidance as needed, or when requested.
Part of this involves ensuring staff have the right resources to be able to move forward. Things like removing process obstacles, or giving them access to key stakeholders or managers for approvals. You’ll be well rewarded with satisfied staff with new-found leadership skills, which can only be a good thing – for you, them and the greater company.
6. Become a Master of Recognition
One of the easiest ways to boost productivity is to provide recognition for a job well done. Feeling appreciated has huge flow-on effects – from an increase in motivation and self-confidence, to a willingness to innovate.
There are plenty of forms of employee recognition, both monetary and non-monetary. Interestingly, the latter is often more valued, thus impactful. It could be a private or public ‘thank you’, an award, or even time-in-lieu. No matter the form, it’s all about ensuring your employee knows how much you value the work they put in.
7. Equip Yourself with the Right Team
To get the most out of your employees, it’s essential to understand their individual strengths and weaknesses, and assign tasks accordingly. While you might be lucky to have a Jack-or-Jill-of-all-trades on your team, most people excel in one or two specific areas. The key to achieving that vital boost in productivity is to match the right person to the right task.
Getting the correct mix of people takes considerable time and effort. Often mistakes are made in the earliest stages of recruitment and aren’t realised until you’re quite far down the track. Working with a professional recruiter, like us here at WOW Recruitment, solves this conundrum. We have oodles of experience in matching the right candidate to the right role, so you can sit back and enjoy those productivity gains. Please get in touch to learn how we can help.