Employers: Want to improve employee performance? First improve your communication…
If I asked you what each of your employees achieved last week, how would you answer?
If you answered “nothing” or “I don’t know” you wouldn’t be alone.
It’s amazing how many employers tell us they want to “improve employee performance” - but don’t have the systems in place to enable it.
Quite simply, most businesses don’t seem to have a regular, systemised process for communicating with employees. This is not only de-motivational for employees; you, as the employer, can feel that you’re losing control because of lack of accountability; and that, in turn, can cause a downturn in performance.
You can improve employee performance by making a few important changes to your weekly schedule…
Improve employee performance: annual vs. weekly one-on-ones
Most businesses managers don’t conduct formalised reviews every week with their employees. That is, one-on-one meetings with agreements on performance.
Instead, they rely on annual performance reviews to provide feedback on employee performance.
Whilst this is better than no feedback, it’s not even a close second to personalised weekly or monthly feedback.
What gets measured gets done. And when you measure frequently, it’s easier to make small adjustments to ensure that you stay on target.
Reviewing performance once annually often requires huge corrections in performance, behaviours and outcomes. To make it even more difficult to change, it usually comes cloaked in resentment, distrust and denial.
Annual reviews are simply too long after the event. Often, unless the reviewer has taken regular notes throughout the year, they will work off anecdotal evidence, major events or incidences or limit the review to recent results only.
If they were in a position to take notes throughout the year, why not provide the feedback weekly so the employees can act on it?
KPIs reviewed weekly vs. monthly
Most organisations have an agreed set of performance standards for employees when they’re first recruited.
In many organisations, these performance standards are not regularly (or effectively) reviewed.
Often the key performance indicators (KPIs) used to measure performance are an annual measurement of results.
They have certainly not been linked to weekly or monthly performance targets and there is no review process that captures weekly and monthly performance into a scorecard type of format.
We believe that a high-performance business should have a formal weekly or monthly review with employees and there should be agreement on performance.
Why? Because a regular structured system for feedback will have the following positive effects:
Building morale - as you demonstrate interest in what your employees are doing. Reward and congratulate them when they achieve; encourage when they start to fall behind.
Helping your employees to identify and acknowledge the areas for improvement.
Building a culture of accountability.
… and this all leads to improved employee performance.
An action plan for improving employee performance
Commit to meeting with individual employees one-on-one weekly and ask:
What did you achieve last week?
What went well?
What can we do differently to do this better next time?
What will you achieve this week?
What challenges stand in your way?
You can use tools to provide structure to the review process and to make managing it easier. Ask every staff member to document in each module the two things that they will achieve this coming week.
Each week, you should also have a group meeting where these achievements are reviewed and commitments for the next week are discussed.
As each employee’s individual contribution improves, more work can be done on the collective team performance, transforming good individuals into a high performing team – which helps you run a high-performing business.
You can also use tools to gamify the review process and make it more enjoyable.
Remember, leaders need to acknowledge good work. By doing this, team members know you’re paying attention, you appreciate accomplishments, and want people to continue to share their wins as well as their challenges.