Effective employee management is at the core of company success. After all, employees are the backbone of your organization; as a business owner or manager, it’s essential to understand how to manage and treat them effectively to maximize their productivity and happiness levels.
Strong employee management practices can ensure that employees are fulfilled, efficient, and engaged in their work. Good management carried out by great leaders will positively impact the bottom line and help reduce turnover rates.
Below, we will explain what employee performance management is, work through some of the challenges you may face, give you some top tips on how to improve productivity, and include some suggestions on what to look for in a manager when you have performance in mind.
What Is Employee Performance Management?
Employee performance management is the process of setting goals and tracking progress to ensure that employees are meeting expectations. This system can help identify areas where employees need improvement and provide feedback so that they can work on these areas.
When done correctly, employee performance management can:
- Improve communication. By setting specific goals, managers and employees can have regular conversations about progress and areas of improvement. This can help to prevent misunderstandings and provide clarity on expectations.
- Increase productivity. By tracking progress, employees will be motivated to work harder to meet their goals. Managers can also use this information to identify areas where employees may need extra support.
- Boost morale. When employees feel like they are meeting or exceeding expectations, they will be more engaged in their work. This can lead to higher morale and job satisfaction.
- Identify training and development needs. By monitoring employee performance, managers can identify areas where employees may need additional training. This can help to improve job satisfaction and reduce turnover.
That last point needs a spotlight: reducing turnover. For a business to thrive in today’s marketplace, they need to spend money to attract the top candidates for a role. They do not, then, want to be losing them yearly (or sooner) to their competitors.
By having an employee performance management system in place, businesses can identify any issues that are causing employees to leave and put measures in place to address them. This could be anything from poor communication to a bad manager/employee relationship.
Challenges you may face
There are a few challenges that you may face when it comes to managing employee performance.
- Communication breakdowns: Miscommunication is a leading cause of employee dissatisfaction and can often lead to errors or inefficiencies in work.
- Lack of clarity around expectations: If employees are unclear about what is expected of them, they will likely not be able to meet your expectations. Make sure you are clear and concise when communicating what you need from your team.
- Unclear goals: Employees need to have a clear understanding of the company’s goals so that they can align their own goals with the organization’s. When goals are fuzzy, it can lead to a feeling of aimlessness and decreased motivation.
- Inadequate feedback: Feedback is essential for employees to understand how they are doing and where they need to improve. Without regular feedback, employees will not be able to improve their performance.
These issues can lead to frustration on both the part of the manager and the employees. To overcome these challenges, it’s important to be clear and concise in your communication, set achievable goals, and ensure that everyone is on the same page from the start.
15 Tips for Increasing Performance
It can be difficult to know where to start when encouraging employees. How do you motivate them without knowing exactly what it is they are looking for? Do you incentivize them with money or praise? What about more responsibility?
Here are 15 tips that will help you increase employee performance with strong management policies:
- Create an Employee Handbook to Outline Company Policies and Procedures
- Set Goals That Are S.M.A.R.T.
- Measure the Performance of Employees Regularly
- Offer Training Opportunities for Your Employees
- Reward Good Work With Bonuses or Promotions
- Promote From Within When Possible
- Be Open-Minded and Flexible
- Be Transparent With Your Employees About Company Goals
- Be Respectful of Your Employees’ Time
- Check on Progress Regularly
- Provide Feedback
- Celebrate Success
- Avoid Micromanaging
- Promote Healthy Life/Work Balance
- Be a Role Model
Let’s dig a little deeper and see what these tips are all about.
Create an Employee Handbook to Outline Company Policies and Procedures
An employee handbook is an important guide for employees to use when they start with a new company. This helps ensure that all employees are on the same page, thereby reducing confusion about how things should be done.
By covering most policies and procedures across departments within your organization, an employee handbook can help your business save time in training. Well-structured handbooks also lay out the guidelines for employees to follow, holding them accountable if they break company rules.
Having an employee handbook can help improve morale by making all employees feel like they are informed members of their team in possession of all the facts.
Set Goals That Are S.M.A.R.T.
Setting goals is crucial because it helps employees feel like their work matters and have a clear idea of what is expected of them.
Goals should also be SMART — specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound. That way, people will know exactly how to reach the goals you set for them, which will increase the likelihood of them succeeding. Let’s break down this concept further.
First, it is crucial to set specific goals so that your employees know exactly what they need to accomplish and how it fits into the bigger picture. Goals should also be measurable so you can track progress over time.
Goals should also be achievable so that people don’t get discouraged if they feel like their goals are too challenging to reach in the time frame you set for them. Setting realistic goals will help your employees stay motivated and encouraged while working toward something, rather than feeling like they will never reach it.
Finally, goals should also be time-bound so that people know exactly how long they have to accomplish a specific task or goal. This will make them feel more motivated and encouraged as opposed to someone who has no idea when their work is due.
Measure the Performance of Employees Regularly
Measuring the performance of your employees regularly is essential to ensure they are meeting expectations. Employees should be aware that their work will be evaluated, as this can motivate them to improve in areas where they fall short.
Measuring employee performance helps you set baselines for how well each person is doing at their job. Another way to do this is by conducting regular performance reviews with each of your employees where you review their strengths and weaknesses.
By regularly measuring performance, you can give timely feedback to help improve output and morale. When employees know that there is room for growth, and they have the time and support they need to achieve that growth, they will likely be motivated to excel.
Performance measurement can also help to reduce turnover rates, as the changes you make to your business in response to employee feedback will create a workplace that is better set up to support your team.
Offer Training Opportunities for Your Employees
Offering training programs to your employees is an excellent way to help them grow within the company. It is also helpful for retaining staff because it gives people opportunities to learn new skills and increase their value as an employee.
Quality training programs give employees the tools they need to succeed at their jobs and increase their output, and at the same time, it shows your team that you appreciate them enough to invest in their potential.
When you train your employees and assist them in improving their skill set, they will likely feel more supported in their role and reach new heights as a result.
Reward Good Work With Bonuses or Promotions
Rewarding your employees for a job well done is a great way to boost morale and show that you care. Rewarding good work when it is deserved shows appreciation, which increases happiness among staff members as they feel valued and respected.
By showing people the types of behavior you value, you set a model for the way they should behave and work to receive praise and bonuses. This isn’t like a bribe or coercion; it’s setting an example for how your employees can reach their full potential through a positive work ethic and attitude.
For example, you could give bonuses to those who always finish their output on time, or you could provide monetary rewards to employees who come up with good ideas that help your company.
Promote From Within When Possible
Where possible, aim to promote from within rather than hiring new people who are unfamiliar with your organization’s work culture. This is more convenient for you, and it’s a great way to reward your employees for the hard work they have done during their tenure at your company.
A benefit to this approach is that it allows your newer employees to learn additional skills and develop within their role, helping to build morale among existing staff members.
Promoting people already employed at your organization is an excellent way to show that you value their contributions. It’s also a kind approach to take, as it allows current employees to stay in a secure position where they are happy rather than sending them out to find a new job.
Existing employees already know your company’s work culture and processes. They have a better idea of what it takes to complete tasks efficiently, so by promoting from within, you are contributing to the overall success of your company.
Be Open-Minded and Flexible
Effective managers must be willing to change things up and take risks to help their businesses succeed in the long run. A big part of taking risks is allowing yourself to take an open-minded approach to management.
Being open-minded and offering a platform for your employees to voice their opinions and concerns shows that you care about what they have to say. Employees will appreciate an environment where they feel like their input matters.
It is important to be open-minded and flexible with your employees because it shows that you value them as people, even if things aren’t working out exactly how you expected them at first.
In an open-minded environment, people see that there is room for growth rather than feeling stagnant or discouraged. Engaged employees feel like their contributions are valued and have the freedom to try out new ideas.
According to Forbes, engaged employees are most likely to increase their profitability by 21%.
Be Transparent With Your Employees About Company Goals
Employees will appreciate an environment where they know exactly what is expected of them and how their work fits into the grand scheme. By showing that you respect your employees enough to tell them about big-picture things, you create an atmosphere of teamwork and camaraderie that is integral to success.
Trusting your team with ‘behind the scenes’ information can also help increase the quality and quantity of your company’s output, as people tend to do their best work when they know what their efforts are ultimately contributing to.
Be Respectful of Your Employees’ Time
Your employees have personal lives and private matters to prioritize, just as you do. It is important to respect your employees’ time by not requiring them to work overtime or answer emails at all hours of the day.
Respecting their time will show that you truly respect and care for your team members as human beings, rather than just a cog in the machine that is your business. It can also assist employees who are burnt out and overworked by giving them the time and space to deal with personal matters.
Check on Progress Regularly
Check-in meetings are effective ways to acknowledge your team’s efforts and reassure them that they’re moving in the right direction.
As a manager who prioritizes effective employee management, you should aim to check in with your employees at least once a week or month, depending on how often you interact. You can do this by having people submit updates through email or in a shared document to ensure everyone is on the same page.
Remember to monitor employees who are working independently to double-check they are staying motivated. This will allow you the chance to clear any roadblocks or problems that could be holding them back from reaching their goals.
By checking in regularly, you can allow your team members to ask questions about projects and make sure you are both on the same page in terms of your goals and timelines.
It’s not enough to just check in for your own sake, the employee has to get something out of these meetings too. Providing feedback is a key element of effective employee management.
Your employees need to know what they are doing well and where they can improve. This way, they can work on their weaknesses and become more rounded, productive team members.
To give quality feedback, you should:
- Be specific in your praise. Rather than just saying “good job” try to point out exactly what it was that impressed you so that the employee knows what to replicate in the future.
- Be clear about areas for improvement. Be sure to avoid giving criticism that is vague or could be interpreted in different ways. It’s important to be clear so that the employee knows exactly what they need to work on.
- Make a plan. After you’ve discussed areas of improvement, agree on a plan of action with the employee. This way, they will have specific goals to work towards and you can measure their progress.
These feedback sessions don’t have to be long, but both parties should come away with them knowing what the next steps are, and how they will achieve them.
It’s important to celebrate successes, both big and small, as a team. This will help build morale and keep everyone motivated.
You can do this by:
- Organizing team-building days or outings. These don’t have to be expensive or time-consuming, but they should be fun!
- Giving employees recognition. This could be in the form of awards, bonuses, or simply verbal praise in front of their colleagues.
- Encouraging a positive work/life balance. This means ensuring your employees have enough time off to enjoy their personal lives and hobbies outside of work.
Have a party, make a plaque, and do something to let them know you saw their success and realize its importance.
Micromanaging is when a manager closely controls and monitors an employee’s work. This can be counter-productive as it can lead to feelings of frustration and inadequacy.
If you think you may be guilty of micromanaging, try to step back and give your employees more autonomy. You may be surprised by how much they are capable of! Remember — you hired them because you believed in their ability to do the job.
Promote Healthy Life/Work Balance
This doesn’t just mean giving the office Friday afternoons off once in a while. This should be active participation and encouragement in their life away from work, recognizing and respecting the time they need to stay healthy and happy.
If one of your team members is running in a marathon, sponsor them! If another is expecting a baby, give them time off to prepare and recover.
Be a Role Model
As a manager, you should be setting an example for your employees to follow. If you are constantly late or taking long lunches, they will likely do the same.
Be punctual, stay focused during meetings, and take your work seriously — but don’t forget to have some fun too! Your team will start following your lead in things like:
- Work ethic
Setting up a quality corporate culture is imperative for any good manager. Gone are the days of leaving the employees to clean up after your mess!
What to Look for in a Manager
If you are bringing in a new manager or promoting from within, there are a few key characteristics you will be looking for — especially if you have increased productivity and morale in mind.
- Communication skills: A great manager will be an excellent communicator. They will be able to articulate expectations, give feedback effectively, and provide direction when needed.
- Motivational ability: A good manager should be able to motivate their team and help them see the importance of their work in relation to the company’s goals.
- Organizational skills: A strong leader will be organized and efficient in their work, setting a good example for their team. They will also be able to help their team members stay on track and prioritize their work.
- Conflict resolution skills: Occasionally, conflict will arise in the workplace. A good manager will be able to diffuse tense situations and help employees resolve their differences.
- Emotional intelligence: Finally, a successful manager will be emotionally intelligent. This means they will be able to understand and manage their own emotions, as well as the emotions of others. They will be able to create a positive work environment where employees feel valued and respected.
This is not an exhaustive list! Make sure that you take the time to assess what qualities are most important for your organization and that you find a manager who possesses them.
Employee management is all about fostering an environment where people feel like they are seen as human beings — not just a number another employee. A sure-fire way to improve employee morale and increase output, effective management is one of the most important aspects to keep in mind when operating a successful business.
With the right manager in place, you can develop a team of highly engaged and motivated employees who are committed to achieving company goals. Remember to look for key characteristics such as excellent communication skills, emotional intelligence, and motivation ability when selecting a leader for your team.
With these things in mind, you’ll be on your way to increasing productivity and morale in no time!