There are many ways of improving performance at work, but all need sustainable good working practices. And, all the measures you need to take to improve performance require total commitment from everyone.
Quite often it is the managers who are responsible for the poor performance in the workplace. They have the power to make decisions and take the right actions but lack responsibility.
Managers have to take full responsibility for their pivotal role in causing bad performance at work and fix it.
How to Improve Performance at Work?
Overall, to improve performance at work you must focus on ensuring that every employee is committed, happy, motivated, engaged, and feels that their job is meaningful to them.
It is not about holding people accountable, increasing the workload, pushing them to work harder, working long hours, or putting them under pressure. You cannot artificially improve performance at work and think it will be sustainable.
Everything from leadership to the culture must be organic and right to induce continuous improvements in the workplace that benefit everybody. And it all comes down to one thing, managers need to manage their employees appropriately by dealing with the issues below.
Here are 7 ways of improving performance at work:
1. Communicate Clearly all Expectations
Performance expectations are goals or tasks that need to be accomplished. They are necessary for the team to improve performance at work.
If a manager does not tell employees what they need to deliver weekly, monthly, yearly, there will not be a goal for them to achieve.
Do not use business jargon when communicating the goals, they cause confusion and always leave employees in two minds.
Most employees, particularly the good ones want to work smart. But, if they are not sure of what you want, they are going to work dumb.
If your language is confusing your employees will not know what you mean. And chances are they will not ask you to clarify your directives. So, be as clear, specific, and let them know how the performance will be measured.
You can also test their understanding by providing them with the opportunity to ask questions and discuss what is necessary to the goals.
2. Let Underperforming Employees Go
Low performers undermine team effort, they increase the work burden on high performers and contribute to a work culture where poor performance is tolerated.
Managers spend their valuable time and resources supporting poor performing individuals who cannot improve. It is understandable when they do that because as a manager, you owe every employee the opportunity to succeed.
But there must be a point where you stop handholding people who are not showing any sign of performance improvement. Don’t let poor performers distract your best employees.
Firing a member of your team is not something a lot of managers find easy to do. But it is also important that you don’t keep someone who is not pulling their weight, particularly if you are serious about improving performance at work.
So, after providing all the necessary support for poor performers to improve and there are still performance issues, it may be time to let them go.
Replace them with strong employees who will just get up and run as if they have been with you for months.
To improve performance at work, you need everyone on your team to keep challenging themselves and do the best job possible.
3. Protect Your Team from Burnout
Don’t let your employees work more hours than they should. Because working harder is not the key to improving performance.
The increase in effort or the higher number of tasks completed can deceive everyone in the workplace into thinking that they are being productive because they are working long hours.
Productivity is not a measure of the number of hours of work done in a period, but the value created. Your employees can work long hours every day, completing more tasks, but the value they create is very low.
In the most efficient workplaces, people don’t work long hours, but they are very productive.
Overworking employees can hurt performance when everyone starts taking days off because of fatigue and related sickness.
To improve performance at work everybody must stop wasting time on the unproductive tasks and activities you all do over the course of the day. People spend valuable time doing tasks that don’t return any value.
To improve performance at work, your team needs to use their time on the most important tasks that create value and cut out all distractions.
4. Review the Effectiveness of Daily Meetings
When managers look for the sources of poor performance in the workplace, they rarely evaluate the cost of meetings.
Meetings can increase productivity in the workplace, but the majority are a waste of time, money, and resources. One thing to think about is no one is employed to just to sit and talk in meetings.
Everybody who comes to attend has a job to do and needs to be aware of how much that meeting is contributing to the company.
If it is necessary to have meetings, ensure that you have an agenda and clear objectives. Every meeting must have an owner who arranges and leads it.
It is always better if every member of your team can run a meeting without you. When inviting participants, limit attendance to relevant people who can make decisions and take action. And let them know the purpose of the meeting before you start.
You should set a time limit and make it known to everyone. Productive meetings start and finish on time. Managers tend to waste 10-15 minutes of each meeting waiting for people who come late.
Start the meeting on time and do not allow those who turn-up late to attend — they will learn to be on time at the next meeting.
You should also not waste time on things that are going well, just the issues that need course corrections. This will eliminate a lot of non-value adding discussions — and put all focus on the purpose of improving performance at work.
5. Delegate to Suitable Team Members
Nothing frustrates employees more than a boss who insists on making every decision or wants to approve everything at work.
Rigid controls can limit what your entire team is able to achieve. Managers who do not delegate are bottlenecks that restrict the workflow.
In every work team, there are individuals who can deputize the boss. Do not keep them down with your management bureaucracies. All you need to do is to empower them with the authority to do the best job without your unnecessary controls.
Giving employees autonomy is key to their growth and gaining confidence if you still provide the support and guidance they need. Looking over their shoulder just stifles innovation and reduces performance
Giving employees the autonomy and responsibility is key to their growth and gaining confidence if you still provide the support and guidance they need. Looking over their shoulder just stifles innovation and reduces performance.
6. Don’t Micromanage Your Top Performers
If people keep stopping their work because they need to get approval from a manager for every step of the job, that is micromanaging.
People who micromanage employees miss the fact that their style of management causes more harm than good to employees’ confidence and performance. Such managers also degrade the ability of a team to make decisions independently.
There are times when a manager needs to get involved, especially when the employees are struggling to move the work forward.
It makes sense not to stay hands-off when the work is not being done well. However, your involvement as a manager must be temporary to offer support.
Do not stay longer than needed unless you don’t have the right people who can work independently. The right employees can produce great performances without the need of managers showing them what to do.
7. Give Constructive Feedback
Most employees want to perform at the highest level they can. But often they feel let down by the lack of regular feedback from their managers. Constructive feedback helps individuals to improve and achieve set goals.
So, you must let everyone who works with you, to know what is right, they are doing, and what could be improved on. Don’t give artificial praise to them because that will help nobody to improve.
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