There is no doubt that improving employee performance and increasing engagement will have a measurable impact on a company’s productivity. However, because every experience is unique, it’s extremely difficult to create a surefire recipe when it comes to how to improve employee performance. In this short article, we will tackle the issue by providing useful definitions and a list of StarMeUp’s best practices, including 10 easy-to-implement tips to improve employee performance.
What is employee performance?
Employee performance is about how workers accomplish their job-related tasks and activities. In a nutshell, the question is: were they well executed, or poorly done? Usually conducted on a semi-annual or annual basis, annual performance reviews are one of the opportunities to ask this question, make recommendations, and highlight areas for improvement. But organizations should ensure that there are frequent opportunities for employees to receive ongoing feedback about their job performance and recognition for a job well-done.
The link between work performance and engagement
The easiest way to answer the question about how work performance and employee engagement are connected is by defining what an engaged employee is. They are workers who are focused, take initiative, are flexible, and continuously strive to contribute to the organization’s overall objectives. Hopefully, they also find their jobs to be pleasant and enjoy the work they do. From an organizational point of view, engaged employees perform better than disengaged workers.
According to a Manpower study, only one out of 10 employees defines success at work as high performance and productivity; 45 percent of respondents ranked work/life balance as their number one career aspiration. The top definition of workplace success was enjoyment/happiness.
“Talent shortages for in-demand skills persist and have caused HR departments worldwide to rethink how they develop and motivate individuals to meet performance goals. To attract and retain top talent, organizations must make development a priority and enable their leaders to mentor employees to expand their skills, capabilities, and experience.” Mara Swan, global leader of Right Management and executive vice president of ManpowerGroup.
The task ahead for companies as they drive change throughout their organization is two-fold: bolster individual employee’s performance by harnessing their unique strengths and addressing areas for improvement, on the one hand; and creating company-wide engagement initiatives that guide collective employee behavior, on the other.
Individual interests: crafting citizenship behavior
Organizational citizenship behavior (OCB) is a particularly useful concept in this scenario. It refers to an employee’s voluntary will within a company that goes beyond the contractual tasks of their employment. It is an indicator of what an employee is willing to do to go above and beyond to meet the expectations of their employer. These types of behavior might include: helping other co-workers, volunteering, innovating, or putting in extra hours if necessary.
Achieving this level of engagement is a delicate task. An employee should feel motivated to go the extra mile, not pressured to do so. If it is perceived as an obligation, the result could be undesired consequences like stress and frustration, which can lead to burn-out and overall fatigue.
Organizational citizenship behavior can be slowly crafted in order to respect each employee’s unique personality. If an employee has great hard skills but is shy and quiet, avoiding unnecessary meetings while providing other channels for participation could be particularly beneficial. Citizenship crafting is based on the notion that an employee can shape their job in order to meet (and even exceed) expectations, playing to their strengths. Careful consideration of the employee’s soft skills can help. All of this should lead to higher engagement and better performance.
Collective interests: going back to basics
Although there is no magical recipe, today’s organizations can implement different initiatives to improve employee performance and engagement based on HR best practices. Once steps are taken to establish a framework for more engaged and motivated employees, it will be easier to address and develop citizenship behavior in the workplace.
The basic best practices are no more (and no less) than the following:
- 1. Pinpoint the cause of underperformance
- 2. Encourage communication
- 3. Deliver ongoing feedback
- 4. Offer new challenges
- 5. Focus on learning and job training
- 6. Set clear expectations
- 7. Create a good workspace
- 8. Offer competitive compensation and benefits
- 9. Make recognition part of day-to-day work
- 10. Support career path objectives
To make it easier to keep these basic concepts in mind, StarMeUp’s team created an infographic based on our own HR best practices with tips to improve employee performance and drive engagement.
Does your organization have a best practice that we left off our top ten list? Share your tip for bolstering employee engagement in the comment section.