Modern ways to improve employee performance
Why would business owners continue to utilize a conventional method to measure and improve employee performance that literally drives people to tears? Research from Adobe has found that annual performance reviews have resulted in tears for:
- 34% of millennials
- 25% of men of all ages
- 18% of women
Clearly, the employee review questions and the format of annual appraisals may miss the mark in terms of improving employee performance because of the stress involved. Traditional performance reviews focus on past failures rather than future development. As a result, annual appraisals are counter-productive in terms of improving how employees perform. Despite the immense amount of paperwork that’s involved in annual performance reviews, the feedback is normally limited and outdated. This explains why 50% of survey respondents stated that they would scrap the annual review.
Employee evaluation questions continue to be an effective method to determine performance and developmental needs. However, this process needs to be modernized to meets the needs of a contemporary workforce. Modern employees have come to expect workplace values such as:
- Growth and Development
If your business fails to meet these demands, it will be difficult to empower employees to improve performance. Adopting modern ways to improve employee performance will empower workers and will facilitate the focus on encouraging multi-channel and regular feedback.
In order for your modern employee performance system to be fit for purpose, the following elements need to be present:
- Purpose – Explore the reason for the employee doing the work and assist them in achieving their purpose.
- Autonomy – Involve employees in setting goals and objectives.
- Well-timed feedback – Provide timely feedback on a regular basis (formally or informally).
- Transparency – Design your performance management process as clearly as possible, so that employees know what to expect.
- Growth – Prioritize your employee’s career progression, growth, and development.
If you’re aiming to transform your employee performance procedures, the following tips will help you to modernize and improve your process for a motivated and dedicated workforce:
- Review your current system
- Prioritize engagement
- Encourage self-assessment
- Promote regular mini-meetings
- Introduce gamification
- Conduct 360 reviews
- Demonstrate gratitude
1. Review your current system
Before you start to identify modern ways to improve employee performance, you should conduct a review of your existing system. Auditing your employee performance management process will help you to determine the old methods that no longer work for your business. To help pinpoint gaps and strengths in your current process, you need to objectively measure:
- What is working well
- How employees feel about the performance management process
- Which areas need to be improved
After you’re aware of the areas that necessitate updating to make the biggest impact, you’ll be in a better position to implement modern ways to improve your employees’ performance.
2. Prioritize engagement
When onboarding new starters and training current workers, employee engagement should become a top priority. Given that highly engaged employees are 22% more productive, it’s a proven method of improving employee performance. Engaged employees have enthusiasm and passion for their work that translates into better business performance. On the other hand, disengaged employees are generally unhappy at work and portray this unhappiness by creating problems and trying to undermine management and the team.
Focusing on disengaged employees to improve performance can be an uphill struggle. However, this is an area that you need to get to grips with if you want a thriving business because, according to Gallup’s State of the American Workplace report, only 33% of U.S residents are engaged at work.
If you want to implement proven strategies to boost your employees’ engagement, download Deputy’s Employee Engagement eGuide. This 13-page guide gives you seven ways to encourage employee engagement while enabling you to concentrate on generating more revenue and profits.
3. Encourage self-assessment
An employee self-assessment is a modern way to improve performance because it enables the employee to take ownership of their growth. Encouraging an employee to evaluate their performance also facilitates two-way dialogue. This approach is a welcome departure from the old school way of talking to an employee. Encourage employees to reflect on the positive contributions they have made to the team as well as areas of growth. Managers should use the following prompts to enable employees to get the most out of self-assessments:
- What is the achievement that they are most proud of?
- Which aspects of the role would they change and why?
- In what ways has the job changed since the last assessment and how have these changes affected them?
Research by the American Psychological Association found that 93% of employees who feel valued are motivated to do their best work. Therefore, taking a collaborative approach will help to improve employee performance because your employee will feel like their opinions and contributions count.
4. Promote regular mini-meetings
Check-ins or one-on-one regular meetings are a variation of the traditional meeting. Managers meet with individual employees for a short time to:
- Catch up on recent developments
- Discuss challenges
- Strategize about how to approach the upcoming week
Holding mini-meetings can save time in the long run because employees feel supported instead of being left to their own devices. In turn, managers will spend less time dealing with issues that go wrong because they’re up to speed with their employee’s progress and challenges.
The following are further benefits of regular check-ins:
Relationship-building – Managers and employees are able to strengthen their relationship when the message (that they’re working towards the same goal) is constantly reinforced.
Productivity – Check-in meetings will reduce the time that is spent going back and forth by email and on other informal conversation.
Feedback – Managers can give their employees’ real-time feedback about their performance and provide the opportunity to course-correct in a timely way.
Transparency – Check-in meetings build trust between managers and employees. Where managers have a track record of following through with the actions that have been agreed upon, employees begin to trust that the manager will deliver on their promises.
5. Introduce gamification
Games are a useful way to build team morale and to encourage employees to let their hair down at work. This relaxed atmosphere helps to create stronger bonds between colleagues. Traditional games, like a Lego tower challenge, are fun and easy. However, a modern way to use games to improve employee performance is through gamification. These games are used to achieve a specific business outcome, like sales training. Gamification involves the use of game technology via a website, service or application to drive employee participation.
Gamification uses rewards and points to help make routine tasks more interesting. For gamification to improve employee performance, managers must set clear outcomes of what needs to be achieved. The evidence that gamification encourages engagement and improves performs is demonstrated by the following statistics:
- LivingSocial and Spotify swapped annual reviews with mobile gamification and 90% of employees took part voluntarily.
- Ford (Canada) experienced a 417% increase in the use of its learning portal after introducing gamification.
- T-Mobile’s customer satisfaction increased because of the use of gamification which helped to motivate its employees.
6. Conduct 360 reviews
The concept of a 360 review is where employees receive confidential feedback from their colleagues. The process normally involves peers, managers, and direct reports completing anonymous feedback in relation to a range of key competencies. Traditionally, 360 reviews were only used when managers were under evaluation for a promotion or where there was a concern.
The use of 360 reviews can be extended to provide a more balanced and less biased view of employee performance. Evaluating the results of a 360 review can become complicated and time-consuming if done manually. However, there are tools that assist in automating the feedback received. Software such as selfstir.com and spidergap.com measure anonymous responses, based on a rating scale.
Using a 360 review tool provides managers with the insight to identify learning priorities based on feedback from those employees work closely with. Employees may receive the feedback from a 360 review more positively than comments from management. Realizing that colleagues perceive certain behavior in a negative light might provide the motivation to change and improve an employee’s performance.
A well-organized 360 review will improve employee performance by:
- Measuring behavior and competencies.
- Providing feedback on the perception of team members.
- Addressing different skills, like listening, and planning.
- Focusing on character-based traits, like teamwork and leadership.
7. Demonstrate gratitude
Acknowledging and showing gratitude for the efforts of employees can improve performance. Researchers have found that a culture of gratitude is accompanied by higher job satisfaction. Managers who actively recognize employees for the work they have done well will encourage them to perform at a higher level. A study by the O.C. Tanner Institute found that 37% of employees said that more personal recognition would motivate them to deliver higher performance.
Here are some effective ways to show your gratitude to your employees:
- Acknowledge your employee’s positive contribution both in private and in public, for example at the team meeting.
- Give a business-related gift, like a gift card, to say thank you. This token of appreciation should go above and beyond normal bonuses.
- Take the team out for lunch or to a special event to give them time away from the office and to show that you appreciate their efforts.
- Offer a gift certificate to a restaurant or for an activity that your employee would enjoy.
Showing your employees that you’re grateful for their contribution will help them to become more invested in their work. The old-fashioned mindset where some employers believed that employees should be grateful for work is changing into a reciprocal relationship where managers show employees that they’re grateful for their positive contributions.
Invest in modern tools to benefit your bottom line
Modern employees will need modern ways to keep them engaged and to improve their performance. Traditional approaches may be less effective as employees are more likely to demand more in terms of being fulfilled at work. An employee who is performing below par may stay at your company and erode team morale and even negatively affect customer satisfaction. In order to prevent this scenario, consider implementing modern methods using modern tools to increase your employees’ performance.
You’ll require the use of modern software to assist in the improvement of employee performance. Employee engagement is key and your tools should have the functionality to keep all of your workers updated on the latest developments. A tool that improves employee performance will facilitate keeping your employees on the same page, even if they work different shifts and on different days. Deputy’s News Feed allows you to communicate with a group or an individual employee.
Keeping employees in the loop – irrespective of how many hours they work – is an important aspect of making them feel valued. Try Deputy for free and see how employee scheduling software can help you to modernize your communication with your employees with little effort.