4 Tips for Optimizing Employee Performance

by Katie Sawyer, 4 minutes read
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Your employees are the heart of your business — but when they’re underperforming, no one wins.

And while turnover is nothing new for some industries where staff come and go, the more you can do to retain yourself will save you time and money. And one of the best ways to retain your employees is by helping them be successful in their job.

Read on for four tips for optimizing employee performance in your workplace.

1. Make communication easier

It’s almost closing time and your waitstaff is ready to head home. But did you remind them of the new closing policy you instituted last week?

If you spring something on your team last minute, chances are they’re going to be frustrated. But good communication isn’t a one-way street. Boost your employees’ performance by making sure they have an easy way to communicate with you — and each other.

  • Give regular feedback. To ensure you and your employees are communicating effectively, make sure you’re giving regular feedback. What’s working, what’s not working, and why.
  • Encourage recognition. Create an employee of the month award or celebrate staff milestones like anniversaries, birthdays, or sales goals.
  • Use a streamlined communication tool. Instead of making your employees contact you on text, email, or phone call, use your workforce management solution’s app for centralized, easy communication.

2. Match tasks to skills

If you manage a hardware store, you might have a lawn and garden department, an electrical department, and a paint department. And to be effective, you need the right employees working in the right department. Otherwise, your employee is going to be lost and you could risk losing a customer who is dissatisfied with your employee’s lack of knowledge.

Build on your employees’ strengths — and reap the benefits.

  • Set clear goals. Your staff should know exactly what’s expected of them — and what they need to do to meet those goals. Use SMART goals to make sure all goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-based.
  • Schedule the right employees for the right role. Use AI to put the right people on shift. When new employees join your team, ask them about their relevant skills. Then create tags in your workforce management system so you always know where they will be the most successful.
  • Provide ongoing training. Companies like LinkedIn and Skillshare provide training for all industries and skill levels — at a reasonable price. Invest in developing your team and watch how their performance improves over time.

3. Enforce breaks

When it’s 12:00 and the daily lunch rush comes into your cafe, your team might not know how to leave their post and take a break. And while you appreciate them wanting to serve the customers, breaks are incredibly important to keep them motivated.

To make sure your staff is working at the top of their game, enforce breaks throughout all shifts.

  • Create templates that automate scheduling and build in break times. Encourage your team to make their break times consistent from day to day to get into a routine.
  • Use a workforce management solution that notifies the employee — and you — when the employee skips a required break.
  • Create a break room that your team actually wants to use. Ask staff to pitch it to give the room a little makeover. Throw on a fresh coat of paint, get some new light bulbs, or have relaxing music soothe your team throughout their break.

4. Empower staff to swap shifts on their own

When your employee gets stuck on the bus or comes down with the flu, they need an easy way to find a replacement for their shift.

Previously, that employee would need to call their manager — and it was up to the manager to find a replacement. And the employee likely hated calling in, knowing that it was going to frustrate the manager who had to find a replacement.

When your staff has the opportunity to adjust their schedule easily, they’ll come to work happier. That means better customer service — and more sales.

Here are three tips for making shift swapping easier — for both staff and managers.

  • Offer open shifts to selected employees or entire departments. And if employees want extra hours, let them pick up the extra shifts that work for them.
  • Allow employees to swap shifts automatically through your WFM software.
  • Tag employees’ profiles with skills that make it easier for coworkers to find replacements.

Keep your team motivated

Whether it’s the end of your busy season or things are just ramping up, help your staff be superstars. Keep motivation high and develop skills with the right workforce management solution. Try a free trial of Deputy to see why so many managers and employees work better and are happier when they use Deputy.