8 Ways to Improve Employee Performance

Posted by Allan Steinmetz/Harper Reid - Guest blogger on 30 July 2019

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8 Ways to Improve Employee Performance

Adjust leadership styles

The relationship between employees and company leaders can define the success of a business. This is particularly important when considering the corporate culture you want to generate. No two companies are the same. More importantly, with a diverse workplace, no two employees are the same. Is your leadership style suitable for the context in which your employees operate? What do your employees expect of their bosses? Try to adjust your leadership style to fit with the expectations of your employees. The result is a more satisfying and ultimately productive corporate structure.

At Inward, we see this all the time. In fact, this morning in the Wall Street Journal there was a fascinating article about handling a “Tornado Boss”. It discusses the challenges of working for a disruptive leader and how it requires an extra level of tact and strategy. It seems everyone wants to cast themselves as a disruptive leader and with that comes differing traits that have an impact on the company and its culture. Disruptive cultures and leadership styles can be inspiring or destructive. So, what kind of leadership styles do you and your company aspired to be?

Promote wellness in the workplace

In today’s fast-paced world, it’s important to remember to take care of your health. As an employer, you can play a role in looking after the wellbeing of your employees. Taking this initiative is mutually beneficial. They will appreciate the concern for their health, while you enjoy the benefits of healthier, more focused workers. There are several ways you can incorporate healthy and active habits into your office’s day-to-day operations. From incorporating fruit days and standing desks to allowing employees to keep fit at work through daily and monthly fitness challenges. You might also think about sponsoring employees’ gym memberships or establishing a social sports team for the office. The mental health of your workers is just as important. So, be sure to incorporate mindfulness activities into the workplace. Whatever the activity, you must establish a safe place for your employees to practice them.

This is a personal item for me. Over the last 6 months, I have lost 60 pounds to be more fit and reduce stress on my body and on my mind. Health, wellness through thoughtful healthy eating, mental mindfulness and meditation, and relaxation helps improve your wellness and reduces stress in a very significant way. (At least for me).

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Excursions outside the workplace

To work together effectively, your employees need to get to know each other. Facilitating opportunities for them to socialize outside of work is worth the investment. This can be as simple as taking your employees out for a relaxed dinner after work, or a weekend getaway of team-building exercises. You can find a range of team-building retreats offered that can be customized to your company requirements. With both indoor and outdoor activities, including water-sports, rock climbing, and cooking classes, the retreats can be single or multi-day. If your employees are comfortable and friendly with one another, they'll collaborate better while at the office.

At Inward, we made it a custom in all of our offices to go out together on the last Friday of each month for lunch. We called it, “Freaky Friday”. The goal was to find the most authentic “Dive Restaurant” we could find and sample their food together. The competition for finding the most authentic dive restaurant was always fun. It brought us all together and allowed us to talk about other things besides work. We got to know about their tastes in food, about their families and the restaurants that they love to go to. I always said that the best way to find out about the person is to find out what their favorite meal was.

Offer employment benefits

It goes without saying that offering employee benefits such as health insurance, vision insurance is a great way to attract new talent and foster employee loyalty. There are a range of options for providing these kinds of benefits to suit the scale of your business. This lets you choose what you can afford and customize benefits to your employees’ needs. You can even look into employee benefit plans that offer family cover. By having a customised employee benefits plan in place, you’re likely to increase employee satisfaction, and thus employee retention as a result.

We have worked with clients that offer umbrella benefit programs that are much like a concierge plan. Employees basically pick and choose the benefits that they need and eliminate ones that they do not need. For instance, one spouse may be covered by another health care benefits package and would like to see their dollars spent for extended vacation stays or incremental training and development programs.

Set clear goals

Goal-setting is a proven way to increase efficiency. All the research that we have quoted over the years basically says that it is impossible for people to be inspired or change their behavior if they don’t understand what the corporate strategy is or understand how the company works.

By having employees understand how the business works and makes money, setting clear outcomes for your employees, they know exactly what is expected of their time. This strategy is most effective when goals are realistic and manageable. Try establishing a long-term goal, then break that down into small, definitive chunks for your employees to achieve. Breaking down tasks motivates employees by giving them a clear sense of direction and progression.

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 Allow opportunities for feedback

As an employer, you must provide feedback and suggest improvements for your employees' performance. Likewise, management should be open to the same feedback from employees. Working on the frontlines every day means your employees know intuitively what works and what can be improved. Ignoring their input risks losing out on valuable information, as well as losing employee satisfaction. Willingness to put employee suggestions into practice will also give your employees a sense of investment in the company culture. This improves loyalty and employee retention.

 Over the last 3 years we’ve seen a dramatic shift from annual employee satisfaction and or engagement studies to a rolling 15-30 day index of employee satisfaction and engagement which provides a constant leading indicator (or KPI). This way companies do not have to wait for a point in time to get feedback. It’s constant and evolving and provides opportunities to make adjustments in real-time. The scores are shared with staff and managers are required to report back to management what actions they are going to take for poor-performing indices.

Provide professional and personal development

Everyone brings an array of skills and experience to their professional role. This could be directly relevant to an employee’s responsibilities, such as up-skilling in a programme they use every day, or a first aid course. Alternatively, consider offering opportunities for personal development such as language classes. Encouraging development produces well-rounded people ready to apply their knowledge to any task. This keeps your workplace dynamic and your employees constantly improving.

We have seen that one of the leading causes of talent defection is not having a clear line of sight for their career development and growth opportunities. It is an easy fix when time and attention is devoted to career development that is incorporated into annual appraisal systems and processes.

 Review the tools of your workplace

Overhauling your business' software and hardware can be arduous and expensive. But it’s worth asking whether these tools are still fit for purpose from time to time. Are your employees doing their work on outdated software, sluggish computers, or clunky machinery? If so, it might be time for an upgrade. Improving the systems your employees use will give your employees the tools to work faster and produce better outcomes.

Also, in my opinion, companies should consider how they use technology for internal communications and how it allows employees to collaborate and innovate with each other and with management. In the last several years new developments in social media, crowdsourcing, and hangouts have facilitated ways for companies to establish user groups and form collective opinions. For instance, there was a mass employee walkout at Wayfair a few weeks back when it became known that the company had secured a contract for beds with the Immigration Department on our southern border in the United States. A Facebook posting inspired over 2000 people to walk out during lunch and force the company to reconsider their decisions to sell furniture to the US government. The company should enable the use of internal social media platforms such as yammer, Google Hangouts, Workplace by Facebook and others.

In summary, there are a lot of factors that companies and managers should take into account to enable and effective employee engagement was. In our opinion, the most important factors are, establishing a conducive culture, the leadership style that is open, transparent, communicative and being open to new and fresh innovative collaboration and ideas.

If you would like to discuss how to implement employee engagement and cultural transformation program please give us a call.

Allan Steinmetz CEO - Inward Strategic Consulting 617-558-9770

Harper is a freelance writer from the beautiful City of Sails- Auckland, New Zealand. She has written articles for numerous blogs and Kiwi sites on a range of topics including productivity, business, and lifestyle. Follow her on Tumblr. In addition, the blog post was augmented and supplemented by Allan Steinmetz, CEO of Inward Strategic Consulting is black can be reached@inwardconsulting.com/blogs