Updated: Dec 16, 2020
RAISE YOUR HAND IF…..You Suspect That Your Team Could Perform Better Have you ever secretly wondered if your team could be functioning better but you don’t know how to tell them? Try implementing one of these easily workable strategies and watch your team shift into optimal performance mode…..
Congratulations! If you are reading this, you have very nearly reached the end of a year which has brought about an unprecedented amount of changes, challenges, restructures, and reworks.
One of the most widespread and massive mutations for the 2020 working world was the change of the “normal” work schedule - the strenuous commute to a physical office location, followed by a long and hectic work day, and finally the rush home to retain a measure of work-life balance. Instead, telecommuting made its giant debut, replacing the typical commuting scenario, and it has been well-received by many workers. According to a recent PriceWaterhouseCoopers survey, an estimated 51% of workers have expressed that they would like to continue working from home at least a few days per week in the future. What was once considered to be an exception or a luxury to be earned is quickly moving towards becoming the standard - and remote working may be here to stay, with many leaders discussing permanent telecommuting options even after the pandemic is over.
With this massive shift in the work environment, many managers are concerned about their team’s ability to perform to their full potential. Are you one of them? Try one or more of these strategies to impact productivity of your employees:
Seek to recruit future leaders and build maximum performance into the DNA of your company. A team of high performers starts at the very beginning, long before your employee ever logs into your company system for the first time. While recruiting, career mapping, or succession planning, it can be tempting to rely heavily upon knowledgeable and experienced workers to achieve the work productivity results that you seek. In the long run, however, it is genuine zeal and curiosity that go hand in hand with innovation and optimal performance. Always remember that knowledge can be transferred and skills can be gained, but certain qualities - such as hunger, passion for the work, and initiative - cannot be taught.
Look for candidates and employees who ask questions, engage well, do more without being told, and whose interests outside of work could even lend well to the smoothly running operations of your team. Don’t count someone out because they don’t seem to understand your process or your vision immediately. Every person who works for you has a hidden motivator and you can find out what moves them by spending just a little time talking with them about their current role and asking what they want for themselves in the future.
Work hard to identify and cultivate the leadership skills out of your employees; then require them to take the initiative and work hard for their success.
Knowledge sharing without people-scaring. It is important to gain your employees’ buy-in - and it is imperative that you do this without resorting to scaring or shaming them.
Be transparent with your team about the importance of upcoming projects and bids. Make sure that they know what is expected of them and can therefore rise to the occasion.
Feel free to openly and sincerely ask for each team member’s best efforts. Invite your employees to share with you if they feel they are lacking knowledge and skills in any particular area. This gives you the opportunity to train them to where they need to be.
Share with each employee how their individual contribution can impact the make-or-break outcome of the project. This gets them more fully invested in the work and the outcome.
“Grin-and-bear-it.” If you feel members of your team lacking in effort or performance, you might think that it’s easier to follow up behind their work and grimly clean it up, but your tightly clenched teeth and not-so-subtle frustration will give off an unmistakable vibe. This can eventually lead to dissatisfaction and disengagement from your employees, which is a lose-lose situation for you and your team.
Stay quiet and hope that a potential performance problem goes away. Performance issues do not ever go away on their own. Admittedly, It does cost time and energy to address matters of performance, but in the long run having the difficult conversations and identifying the issues can be JUST the fix that you need to keep things moving forward smoothly.
Insinuate or outright threaten negative consequences on a team-wide basis and then expect optimal performance from your group - you have just succeeded in frightening your employees into frantically collectively searching new jobs….right at the crucial moment that you need their full focus and best efforts. Performance issues should be handled firmly but calmly, on an individual basis, and in a way that gives your struggling employee the dignity that they deserve. PRO TIP: For assistance with creating performance improvement plans that actually inspire your employees to work harder and do better, contact email@example.com.
Implement rewards and recognition programs to highlight and reinforce great performance. In order to demonstrate that you value good work, it is imperative that you roll out or beef up your employee recognition programs that truly make your high-performing, hard-working employees feel celebrated and rewarded. Recently, large companies such as Amazon and Walmart have really put effort into their bonus programs. Reportedly, employees are responding with gratitude. And indeed, a structured bonus program or even “spot” bonuses are a major reinforcer of positive work behaviors.
Not every company is situated to monetary recognition, but the good news is that there are a number of ways to incentivize employees to become high performers and you can be as creative as you’d like. The goal is to ensure that there is some sort of pot at the end of the rainbow - even a small pot can motivate. Most employees have not yet reached the idealized point in society where they work simply for the joy of the task...money and security are currently the main motivators for the majority of your workforce. You will find a much more energized and engaged workforce if you are recognizing and rewarding work behaviors in a fair and equal way.
PRO TIP: Struggling to come up with a total rewards program that works for your company? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for a program tailor-made for your team.
Remember: whether your workers are telecommuting or coming to a physical location, the shift in the current work environment is both a challenge and an opportunity. Being a good leader means inspiring your team to perform hard while enjoying the work - you certainly can get the absolute most out of your workforce.