There are many pieces of the puzzle when it comes to determining how your business performs. A company’s productivity depends on many diverse things. Like the technology in use, ongoing processes & systems. It is also also shaped by the techniques used in different functions. For example, how do you bring leads in, nurture and convert them into paying customers.
One key piece of this puzzle is the team you assemble.
For any business to succeed, teamwork remains the heart of everything. Thus it’s important to know how to manage your team effectively. You want to be able to optimize the processes to improve their work performance. You also want to make sure that they enjoy spending time at work. And that they relish what they do at work. This is important because it is a pre-requisite to increase engagement. In fact, people who report being happy at work tend to be at least 20% more productive and dedicated than those who are not happy.
This article focuses on providing you tips to improve performance of your team at work. These tactics will help you ensure your systems run as effectively as possible. They can also help you create a happy and motivated workforce. Follow them to ensure consistent, optimal level performance of your employees.
1. Help employees focus
Focusing is hard for any professional today. Did you know that some studies show that the human attention span is shorter than that of a goldfish? In 2015, research performed by Microsoft showed humans generally lose focus after 8 seconds.
A short attention span can be bad when it comes to workplace productivity. Especially for the knowledge work tasks that demand full attention. To optimize team performance, invest in tools and platforms that actually help focus.
May be consider providing tech platforms that are not web-based. That might help employees avoid temptation of distractions. Think about setting up “heads-down” periods. These are the times when everyone in the office is stay away from interrupting each other. No physical, verbal or digital communication.
Plan the work so that people don’t have to multitask. To improve work performance of employees help them focus on one job at a time. Research has shown time and again that multitasking is inefficient.
Finally, encourage breaks. Knowing they’ll be able to take a break from work makes it easier for employees to focus while at their desk.
2. Offer incentives to keep morale high
An office with high morale isn’t just one that feels good to be in. It’s also one where people work harder.
Want to optimize performance of your employees? Consider taking steps to boost morale and reward productivity.
There are many ways that bosses and managers can offer incentives to boost morale. For regular, routine work that is excellent, managers can offer positive feedback. There are many types of feedback at work. Choose the one that is most appropriate in the current context. It could be a simple pat on the back with ‘nice job’. Or something more involved like an employee of the week award.
Try implementing systems that help sustain the workplace morale high. For example specifically designed continuous feedback software, workplace benefits & perks platform. There are software platforms available today for tracking productivity and giving rewards for achievements. Employees can gather points as they work. Then, they can exchange those points (or acknowledge those benchmarks) by obtaining a reward. Some common rewards offered are gift cards, tangible gifts, experiences and more. When employees know they can get recognised for hard work, they are more inclined to do so.
3. Be transparent in communicating performance
Transparency is essential to a workplace that operates well. Team members should know how they are performing. That way, they can gauge whether there is a scope for improvement or if they are performing to the company’s expectations.
To ensure that your employees know how well they are doing, consider engaging in frequent one-on-one meetings. Communicate with them regularly about their work & your expectations. You can give transparent feedback about performance with regular evaluations and productivity reports.
Help your team members visualise with charts, graphs state of their performance. Help them reflect on their productivity levels and how much they accomplish. Also, write commentary on how well they complete tasks and where they thrive. Mention how they could improve their execution.
When employees know how they are doing and what managers think of their performance, they can more easily tweak it to improve.
4. Make expectations clear
It’s hard for employees to meet your standards when they don’t know what those standards are. So, take the time to make expectations clear. Meet with employees before projects begin to explain what you need from them.
Consider sharing a written document outlining expectations for the general workplace. Give constructive feedback if you don’t think employees are meeting your expectations. Documented expectations aka goals go a long way in bringing in objectivity to this discussion.
5. Give them the tools
You can enable employee performance by investing in the proper tools and technology. The right tools make work easier and more efficient. However, investing in tools doesn’t just smooth out processes. It also shows that you care about them and their experience at work.
A recent article in Inc. by entrepreneurship specialist John Boitnott explains: “Giving your team best-in-class tech demonstrates you care about their success. When you don’t supplement their work with any internal resources, it speaks volumes about your trust in employees. It’s frustrating and demoralizing to those workers when they interact with people from other companies using more powerful tools.”
Foster trust and a sense of connectedness by investing into things that improve your employees’ work experience. They’ll feel more aligned with the company objectives and want to work harder to help meet its goals.
6. Provide development opportunities
A job can be a means of making money. However, it can also be a stepping stone on someone’s path of growth. To help employees improve work performance, offer them development opportunities to augment their work.
Development opportunities provide the chance to learn about their function/domain. These opportunities can also help people sharpen their skills. Ultimately, development opportunities help people advance in their career.
You may want to lead straightforward development activities. This could be something as simple as sitting with employees and demonstrating the job they need to accomplish. Walking them through steps will help them see and learn how it is done correctly.
Development opportunities can be more comprehensive as well. Connect people with coaches that can help them develop. Send them to workshops or courses where they can meet mentors and network with other people in the field. Finally, offer an opportunity for development by giving employees new responsibilities than they’re used to. By expanding their responsibilities, you give them a chance to step up and lead.
When you provide development opportunities to your employees, you help them get better at their job. You also show that you care about their individual growth. What goes around, comes around. These things not only help individuals grow, but also increase a company’s chances of achieving its goals.
7. Let them be as independent as possible
No one likes micromanagement. So, make sure to give your employees as much independence as possible. By giving them the freedom to do their work on their own, you demonstrate your trust in their capabilities. You also show them that they have the authority to make decisions. When they feel empowered, employees can experience a huge confidence boost. This gets them to do better and far more efficient work.
Also, offering team members independence isn’t just a nice idea in the workplace. It’s actually critical to maintaining your team. Micromanagement isn’t just annoying. In fact, studies suggest that being micromanaged by a boss can cause someone to quit their job. 28% of professionals report that a boss who micromanages them has caused them to consider abandoning their workplace for better opportunities.
Leadership strategy expert Victor Lipman explains on a piece on employee retention in Forbes: “People leave managers, not companies, as the old saying goes, a theme I’ve written about before. When management is persistently over-involved in unproductive ways, it can quickly become a retention issue.” Avoid employee turnover and keep performance high by avoiding micromanagement.
8. Listen to their feedback
Your employees work together (and with you) day in and day out. They also have a good sense of how things operate on the day-to-day basis. This means they most likely have thoughts about how things function and responses to their experience in the workplace. To help ensure they perform to the best of their abilities, be open to hearing their feedback. This means that you should be ready to field both criticism and praise from them regularly.
While it may hurt to hear critiques from your team members, listening to their reflections may give you insight into the work processes. Once you understand how the process can improve, you can make changes. These changes can result in a better, more enjoyable work experience for everyone involved.
Also, being open to feedback means that you can hear complaints about their particular situation. There may be ways that you can improve their work experience or environment to help them perform better. For example, if they need a quieter work environment to perform better, you can help them find a new desk. Also, if they feel like they need more guidance on a task to perform better, you can provide that guidance.
Fielding employee feedback is a step you can take to show that your employees’ opinions matter to you and the organization. By showing them that they are a vital part of the organization, they will feel more driven to work harder and invest more time and effort.
Listening to feedback—good and bad—from your team members can help you improve the work experience on both the micro and macro levels. This, in turn, allows you to boost overall performance.
9. Allow flexibility
Gone are the days where people work at their desk, in their cubicle from 9 to 5. We live in the days of the agile workforce, where people’s jobs and workdays look vastly different. If you want to optimize the performance of your team members, consider being more flexible when it comes to how your employees work.
One way to incorporate flexibility for employees is by allowing them to work remotely. Studies show that the ability to work remotely has a huge impact on workplace morale. This can greatly boost productivity.
A recent study at Stanford analyzed the benefits of allowing employees to work from home. Overall, the results showed that people who work from home work more efficiently, devote longer hours, and perform at higher levels. That study found: “a highly significant 13% increase in employee performance from WFH, of which about 9% was from employees working more minutes of their shift period (fewer breaks and sick days) and about 4% from higher performance per minute. We found no negative spillovers onto workers who stayed in the office. Home workers also reported substantially higher work satisfaction and psychological attitude scores, and their job attrition rates fell by over 50%. Furthermore, when the experiment ended and workers were allowed to choose whether to work at home or in the office, selection effects almost doubled the gains in performance.”
Allow flexibility in terms of where they can do their work, and you’ll likely see an improvement in employee work performance.
There are other ways you can incorporate flexibility into the workplace. First, allow employees to set their own hours. Next, don’t cap vacation or sick days—trust your team members to take the days they need, and to show up at work on the other days. By instilling this trust in your employees, they’ll feel empowered and loyal—more likely to perform well.
10. Respond to poor performance
It’s useful to encourage hard work. It can also be helpful to discourage poor work habits.
Respond to people who are not performing well by communicating to them that in as many words. If their performance continues to falter, warn them. Eventually, if they do not improve, take some action as a negative repercussion to their poor performance. You should show that poor performance without effort to improve is not acceptable at your organization. This can serve as a good model for all employees and encourage them to regularly focus on performing well.
At the end of the day, your team can only operate as well as the team that operates it. So, take steps to ensure that your employees are happy and motivated at work.
Make sure you have invested in giving them the best tools and space possible, and that the systems you have set up enable their productivity. If you take some time to make sure you are enabling the performance of your employees, you’ll be able to see their skills and drive pay off. Your entire organization will be able to consistently enjoy the fruits of their (and your) labor.