As a company expands, so does its workforce. With this expansion, it is often easy to lose the hands-on employer approach the company used in the beginning, leaving some employees floundering and not progressing in their positions. How can a company encourage optimal employee performance and beat the growing pains of corporate success?
1. Set performance goals
Have each employee sit down one-on-one with either their department head or human resources manager to set clear, action-ready goals consistent with the company-wide goals and expectations. Each employee should know exactly what the company’s vision for greater growth is; each employee should know what his or her role is in that big picture and trust that they will be supported in that role.
In setting goals, employees should be encouraged to be innovative and specific. Goals should be measurable with rewards set up to incentivize the employee toward successful completion by a specific time. Conversely, there should be well-known consequences for lack of improvement. But as employees come to know they are valued and have actionable goals to work toward, they are more motivated, and employers will see the progress and positive changes they desire.
A great way to track employee progress is through HRIS. What is HRIS? HRIS stands for Human Resource Information System and is used by a company as a way to store employee information and keep it searchable and trackable. When setting employee goals, an HRIS is exceptionally beneficial. An HRIS allows for faster feedback on goals--day-by-day or goal-by-goal--keeping employees motivated and on track to success. Reports drawn from an HRIS allow for more accurate performance reviews and less chance of an employee’s hard work being overlooked.
2. Effective communication
Effective communication is key to an employee’s success in his or her position. And effective communication goes both ways. If an employer isn’t clear on what he or she expects from their employees, the employees will struggle and be more likely to fail; if an employee isn’t clear about problems or concerns that may arise, his or her job satisfaction and performance will suffer because the problems will persist. Without effective communication, employers simply won’t know what issues need fixing.
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Some specific ways to encourage good employer-employee communication is to build engagement and trust in a respectful way, clarify problems needing addressing, field criticisms without taking offense, provide immediate positive feedback over concerns or issues, show how employee feedback is being used to enable change and how problems are being solved, collaborate with employees and share in the problem-solving process, and encourage further communication when necessary. When problems arise – and they will! – lack of communication or no communication at all will cause damage to the employer-employee relationship, lower morale, and lower employee performance.
3. Positive work environment
For most full-time employees, at least a third of each weekday is spent “at work.” Whether in the office or on the road or in the home, the time working should be a positive experience. No employee wants to waste a third of his or her life working a job that makes them miserable. As an employer, how can you create a work environment conducive to employee satisfaction?
For those sharing a physical office with other employees, many employers have tried to create a work environment where employees have places and opportunities to unwind and interact in a more casual way. Basketball courts are becoming commonplace as a way to release a little pent-up adrenaline. Massage chairs are being offered as a way to relax and reduce stress. Free snacks and beverages, and weekly lunches, keep employees fed and happy and better able to concentrate. Some offices even allow employees to bring their dogs to work!
For employees who spend a lot of their work days on the road, visiting remote clients, or working from home, there are still ways employers can create a feeling of community and a sense of belonging. Regular work meetings, virtually (through Zoom, Skype, Google Hangouts, or a similar service) or in person in the office, will help foster team spirit and allow for collaboration and relationship building. Regular meetings also are great opportunities to celebrate achievements and encourage employees to meet their goals.
Don’t let growing pains affect the care and concern you show toward your employees; don’t slack off when it comes to encouraging your employees to progress and achieve clear, actionable goals. Take advantage of the resources available to track employee progress and reward successes as employees reach career milestones. Keep the lines of communication open and respond to issues in a timely, respectful manner. Help your employees feel at home in the office and a part of a supportive community out of the office. Do these few things, and you will see employee performance rise to new, positive levels.