Worker performance is the heartbeat of any business. If it starts to drop, your business will fail just like a body does when the heart flatlines.
Raising performance levels can be tricky, though. Starting with a clean slate and recruiting new staff seems tempting, but it can be a costly and arduous experience. Instead, you need to find creative ways to try and get the performance levels of your current staff back up.
Every member of your team will have something unique that makes them work to the best of their ability, but here are some great universal suggestions to make your team more productive, better performers.
The modern employee wants to know they're going somewhere with their career. As a business owner, you sometimes need to realize that your business may not be your team's first choice for a career. It might not line up with their backgrounds, so naturally, they will put less effort into it if they get the feeling it's not going anywhere. This is why their personal development needs to be a constant priority.
It's vital to set clear goals for your staff to give them something to strive for. No one wants to tread water and wonder where they're going; they should have a clear idea of their expected year over year growth within their role and see it adapt as their performances improve.
A number of big-name companies are implementing creative development plans for their staff to ensure they remain engaged in the role. The healthcare product manufacturer Abbott, for example, has two to three-year development programs that are in-part personalized by the staff members themselves.
In their initial interviews, you probably asked your staff where they saw themselves in five years. That shouldn't just be a token question. It should be something you act upon, showing you care just as much about their personal development as their output.
Menial, everyday admin tasks are the bane of productivity. Any good business performing at the top of its game has found a way to streamline this kind of work. If your staff spends a significant portion of their days working on tasks like this, they're essentially running in place and wasting time that should be funneled into more stimulating work.
A lot of menial tasks are routine, muscle memory work that doesn't engage the brain. You need to eliminate that state of mind from your workplace and ensure you have a more engaged team that comes into work and is instantly proactive and creative. You'll see instant results regarding how they tackle more pressing tasks and find solutions to tricky situations.
A good place to begin to rectify this issue is to make staff calendars as clear, automated and streamlined as possible. Apps such as Meetingbird take out a lot of the admin that comes prior to meetings and client sessions. You should also think of creative ways to streamline work that is unique to different sectors of your team.
For more help, if your finance department is struggling with the number of expense claim receipts they get from staff business trips, consider investing in travel or fuel cards to keep all the driving payments in one, automated place.
Just as people need to know where they're going with their career, they also need to be praised for the things they've already done. Without proper feedback, staff members will struggle to understand what they do well and how they can build on weeks and months of positive performances.
Holding consistent appraisal sessions is essential for getting workers to perform at the highest level and harness their existing productivity. Use these sessions to clearly state what you're happy about so far and how these positives can be built upon. Try not to focus on the negatives, unless there are major ones, as you're trying to boost your staff's morale and make them feel like they're already in a place where they can perform better.
Being told by a superior what you're excelling in and what they think you can achieve is one of the best ways to feel positively about your work. Think of ways you can bring this feeling to your staff and send them skipping out of the office, diving headfirst into heir next project full of vigor.
Respond to suggestions
Installing a dictatorship in the workplace is one of the worst ways to improve staff performance. The workplace needs to be a two-way street if you're to stand any chance of creating the kind of environment that produces great results.
Accepting suggestions, criticism and advice should be commonplace within your workplace. Open up your office for drop-in meetings, or hold monthly feedback sessions about how things can be improved for your staff with a specific focus on raising performance levels. These sessions will be pointless unless you implement some of the ideas discussed. You may own the company, but these are the people on the front line who have a clearer image of the day-to-day aspects.
Open up new communication channels whenever you can, whether online or face-to-face. If you're a remote boss, apps such as WeThrive can help make the process of feedback more accessible. Make it evident you're looking to make your business more productive, but you understand employee happiness and that their ability to work in a positive environment is key to that.
There are a lot of factors that go into making a business more productive and successful. You can't expect to make one change and see sudden improvements in your team; it needs to be a combination of building on their feedback and harnessing your business knowledge and experience. Only then will you see the kind of performance you're looking for.
About the Author: Stevie Nicks is Digital Editor at Just Another Magazine – a website that covers the topics you care about. You’ll find articles about lifestyle, travel, fashion, trends and relationships on our site – each of which is written in our unique style.