Managing Performance / Setting Goals

Managing Employee Performance With Peak Results

Jennifer Goldman asked:

By utilizing the proper management tactics, you can get your employees to contentedly perform at an optimal level of productivity. There are eight main tactics that you can employ towards this end:

1) Establish an ongoing dialogue with your employees.

This means keeping your employees abreast of changes and new demands through clear and detailed explanations. Your employees need to be kept in the loop in order to work at their maximum level of effectiveness. Your failure to keep them informed about amendments to policies, protocols, rules, etc., can result in counterproductive actions that will create more work (and frustration) for everyone in the long run.

It is also important to facilitate communication between you and your employees by making yourself accessible. This means exercising patience and taking the time to listen carefully to questions, complaints, and/or concerns. Maintaining a healthy rapport with your team members also requires that you follow through with supportive action in response to team members’ recurring issues.

You can get to know your employees and allow them to get to know you by rolling up your sleeves and getting in the trenches with them. There is no better bonding experience than sharing hands-on experience. You will also be demonstrating that you’re not afraid to get your hands dirty. Your staff will see that you’re down to earth. Your team members will also be assured that you have a clear picture of what their work entails, and a firsthand understanding of the challenges their jobs present.

2) Be a role model.

Taking the time to work with your employees will enable you to serve by example. Not only will this help you set standards (which we will discuss later in this article) but it will also help you gain the respect of your employees. If you regard everyone on staff with mutual respect and open communication, you’re apt to receive the same. Subsequently you will be fostering an environment conducive to the free exchange of ideas, leading to innovative improvements.

3) Invite your team to participate in the decision making process.

Asking your employs for their input regarding pending decisions can work wonders for their morale. Employees whose opinions are valued take pride in maintaining a conscientious work ethic. Furthermore, they are more willing to cooperate with plans when they have a say in them! Permitting your team members to offer their suggestions inspires them to work towards a common goal—a goal that is part theirs—instead of feeling like they’re breaking their backs solely to serve your agenda.

4) Set standards.

If you want to get the best bang for your buck when it comes to your employees, you must vocalize and/or document clear standards regarding goals, responsibilities, expectations, and performance requirements. When employees know exactly what is expected of them, they can focus all of their energies on achieving those goals, rather than on trying to determine precisely what those goals are. As a result of having clear goals, the staff member avoids condemnation, or the message that she can’t do anything right, according to some invisible set of rules. Rather, the employee experiences a gratifying sense of being on track; since she can recognize her own successes. And, a feeling of success is a huge motivating factor in getting your employees to put their best feet forward.

5) Foster a friendly, competitive spirit.

Set goals according to your strongest worker’s level of productivity and watch your employees rise to the occasion through the spirit of friendly competition. You can even establish fun contests, where the most productive are coined “winners” and rewarded with some special treat.

6) Provide suggestions for improvement.

Don’t be afraid to offer constructive criticism to your employees. You may initially bruise an ego or two, but most employees strive to improve, especially when constructively criticized, and will therefore implement your suggestion. The crucial element of constructive criticism is that instead of focusing on what the employee is doing poorly, it concentrates on what they can do better and HOW. Make sure you explain the benefits of doing things according to your recommendation. Understanding on the employee’s part is key to his or her motivation. It is much easier to work hard towards a goal if a person understands the meaning and purpose of their work. Don’t forget to demonstrate how to implement the change. In the process, you may actually realize that the suggestion wasn’t all that practical after all.

7) Offer opportunities for learning and advancement.

Challenges keep people stimulated. If you offer your employees chances to learn and advance, you’ll keep them from burning out on monotonous activity. Additionally, in the workplace, people frequently respond to being entrusted with increased responsibility by striving to please their employers and ultimately prove their own capability. Presenting opportunities for advancement may also increase your awareness of your employees’ hidden skills, and henceforth utilize them to their ideal capacity. Give them the opportunity to undergo some Microsoft Excel training or Adobe Photoshop training.

8) Acknowledge and reinforce a job well done.

Last but not least, you can inspire ongoing productivity tenfold, by simply acknowledging, on a regular basis, a job well done. Acknowledgement can come in many forms, ranging from a “thank you” or “this looks great!” to a complimentary lunch. You’d be surprised just how far a simple word of praise can go in keeping up your employees’ spirit.

And, spirited employees invariably make energetic, on-the-ball employees, who have every reason to give their jobs their all.


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