Proven Strategies to Increase Productivity and Motivation

By ComplyRight –

How many of your employees do you consider actively engaged in their jobs and your business? If you’re like most employers, the answer is probably “not enough.” According to a Gallup report, roughly only 30% of U.S. employees are engaged in their jobs – and this low percentage is mostly attributed to managers and their supervisory style.

Engaged employees feel appreciated and motivated to perform at higher levels. They also are loyal to their company and less likely leave when other offers come around. So what can you do to foster engagement? One proven strategy is to implement an ongoing performance management system.

Set Goals for Each Team Member

The first step is to establish clear, measurable objectives. If employees know what’s expected of them – and why – they have a purpose. With goals and objectives in place, you can have meaningful appraisals, and you can defend disciplinary decisions based on impartial facts.

One mistake many employers make is not getting every employee on board with company goals and objectives. Good managers explain why employees have certain goals. For example, “By reducing product defects, we maintain our reputation for having the highest quality in the industry. And that keeps customers coming back which leads to sales, profits and company stability.”

It’s important to explain each objective and put it in a larger context to show precisely how an employee’s work influences the organization. When you’re sure the employee understands the connection, ask for a commitment: “Can I count on you to reach your objectives?”

Monitor Performance Regularly

Monitoring performance does not mean micromanaging. Rather, it simply means keeping up with an employee’s activities. This can be accomplished in regular status meetings or informal daily interactions.

Too many managers set objectives with employees and then forget about them until the annual review. Managing performance is a weekly, if not daily, event. Brief, regular interactions are critical to meeting objectives. Each interaction gives you an opportunity to track progress, provide feedback, encourage and ultimately keep employees directed.

Be Observant

Good managers know what’s going on with their employees. And if they don’t know, they ask. If an employee seems in a particularly negative mood, ask if there’s anything wrong. If one employee seems to be avoiding another, inquire why.

As a manager, you should be aware of what’s happening with your team. If something appears amiss that could be affecting productivity or morale, you need to know.

Not only will this strengthen your relationship with your employees but it could also alert you to potential legal problems. If you discover an employee is feeling harassed or discriminated against, for example, you can take corrective action before it escalates further. In light of today’s heightened legal environment, it’s more critical than ever to keep tabs on your staff.

Give Timely Feedback

Feedback is most effective when it’s relevant and done immediately. This applies to both positive and negative input. When giving negative feedback, make sure you provide information on how performance can be improved. And make sure you make a note in the employee’s personnel file on any feedback given.

Many employees complain that the only time they receive feedback is when they have done something wrong. Try to make a habit of catching employees doing something right. And when complimenting performance, be specific. That way, the praise will deliver maximum impact.

Conduct Performance Appraisals

Ongoing feedback is valuable, but formal reviews are a critical part of a performance management solution. Appraisals give you an opportunity to sit down with your employee and give a deeper analysis of performance. Formal doesn’t mean sitting at a desk with your arms crossed. It’s carving out a dedicated time to have a genuine conversation with your employee about his or her achievements and challenges.

Here are some tips for more effective performance reviews:

• Take time to prepare. Your employees need to know you take the event seriously and that you respect them. Set aside enough time to thoroughly prepare for the meeting.

• Discuss each objective. Review each goal and discuss the employee’s progress. Give balanced feedback on both successes and any areas needing improvement.

• Invite feedback. This should be a two-way conversation. Your employee should do half the talking.

• Have an action plan. The appraisal is not only a time to reflect on the past but also to shape the future. Be prepared to discuss new opportunities and new goals.

• End on an upbeat note. Tell employees you’re confident in their ability to excel and that they are valued team members.

Document Disciplinary Issues

The final step in your performance management system is documenting discipline issues. Addressing employee misconduct is uncomfortable at the best of times, but with the right tools and an action plan, it is possible to turn the situation around. Take control of employee discipline with the Progressive Discipline Smart App from HRdirect. This web based app will serve as your guide to building a consistent documentation process that enables you to have smarter, more constructive conversations with all employees.

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About ComplyRight: ComplyRight’s mission is to free employers from the burden of tracking and complying with the complex web of federal, state and local employment laws, so they can stay focused on managing and growing their businesses. ComplyRight tracks federal, state and local regulatory activity, creates practical, affordable solutions that streamline essential tasks, and complements these solutions with educational content and actionable guidance. From hiring and training, to time tracking and record-keeping, to labor law posting and tax information reporting, ComplyRight’s innovative products and services address the real-world challenges employers face every day.