Constructive Strategies To Boost Workforce Performance
The success of a business greatly depends on employee performance, so most organizations want to build a productive and efficient workforce. However, achieving the goal is easier said than done because performance bottlenecks are more common than you imagine. Unskilled employees, faulty processes, conflicts, and managerial lags are a few potential causes of the workforce not giving its best. Overcoming these challenges should be your top priority as a manager or business owner because it can help boost the company’s bottom line.
But managers often struggle because employees fail to take negative feedback well.
For further reading on managers & their need for negative feedback see our piece: The Key Elements For High Levels Of Productivity In Any Business
They may even turn hostile and leave the organization instead of improving themselves. Even worse, they could hurt your employer’s brand by posting negative reviews about your work culture and environment. A constructive approach is an ideal solution because it focuses on driving improvements with positive actions to maintain loyalty and retention in the long run. Here are a few valuable strategies to boost workforce performance.
Create a feedback culture
Workplace culture is a business buzzword, and most organizations focus on creating a positive environment where people feel safe and valued. Consider going the extra mile by encouraging employees to be receptive to feedback. At the same time, managers and business leaders should provide constructive criticism instead of negative comments to people lagging. Employees feel a lot more comfortable with this approach and develop a growth mindset. They are ready to do their bit to work on their weaknesses and consolidate their strengths. Set the expectations that they will get consistent feedback as a part of the job, so they are more open to it.
Establish trust with transparency
Managers should establish trust with transparency to keep the workforce on their side, even when they share feedback. For example, implementing direct reports and having open conversations can foster strong relationships within your organization. When people have a clear view of what managers think about their performance, they are ready to accept their shortcomings and embrace steps for overcoming them. In fact, you must take these measures even when there are no issues or bottlenecks. It helps you to build a relationship where you are in a position to give advice when performance issues actually surface.
Have purposeful communication
Seamless communication is a cornerstone of successful people management, regardless of the size and scale of an organization. But it should also be purposeful if you want to enhance employee performance with a constructive approach. Being purposeful is about giving your team members an actionable description of their responsibilities. It also entails providing a view of gaps and suggesting relevant solutions. When managers communicate ineffectively, employees often feel confused and disengaged. Conversely, meaningful and clear communication helps them understand expectations and deliver to them. They are more likely to achieve the targets you set for them.
Set regular check-ins
Besides maintaining purposeful communication with the workforce, managers should also set regular check-ins. Consider your needs and challenges to determine the ideal check-in schedules. For example, you may have daily standups to encourage employees to share the obstacles they encounter at work. A weekly demo day is a good option for people to show their accomplishments during the week. Managers can bring up performance issues during demo days. It helps them give constructive feedback without the pinch and motivates the team members to overcome their challenges.
Implement 360-degree reviews
Another constructive strategy to enhance workforce performance in your company is to implement 360-degree reviews. A 360 review differs from conventional reviews as it gets input from multiple reviewers to assess an employee’s strengths and weaknesses more accurately. These include managers, direct reports, coworkers, and anyone else the employee works with. Since feedback serves a developmental purpose, people are more open to embracing it. Although gathering information from multiple sources sounds complicated, you can use a Free 360 Review template to ease the process. Typically, these surveys include questions to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of individuals. So you can rely on the results to get a clear perspective of potential areas for growth.
Document performance metrics
Documentation safeguards valuable information and makes it accessible anytime later. You can create a spreadsheet at the start of the year to track the positives and negatives of each team member’s work. The record helps you maintain facts and refresh them before feedback meetings and discussions. The information regarding the accomplishments and shortcomings enables you to put your case strongly during discussions. You can reinforce statements with specific data and instances. The approach makes things more convincing for employees, even when you ask them to improve.
Make feedback discussions a conversation
Employees often dread feedback discussions because they expect managers to dissect their work and point out negative things. However, you can ease the experience by making it a conversation where people can share their perspectives. Avoid doing all the talking, and let team members evaluate themselves and suggest how they can improve. Also, ensure they understand the issues and pay attention to their responses. The conversation becomes far more comfortable and effective with a two-way dialog. Moreover, people will likely chase improvements when they realize their mistakes and shortcomings.
Be direct and honest
Being direct and honest is another proven constructive strategy to maximize the performance of your workforce. You may feel uncomfortable providing criticism, but not giving it all can do more harm than good. Consider the right words to provide feedback so that employees get clarity on how they can improve. For example, share personal experiences about a challenge you faced and how you overcame it. Also, avoid making too much hype about blunders because they are a part of the learning process.
Include something positive in the discussion
While being direct and honest about an employee’s shortcomings is crucial, you must also include something positive in the feedback discussion. Every person likely has some strengths, so be generous with praise to keep them motivated. Positive points make the conversation easy to digest, even if you say a few negative things. Moreover, talking about them demonstrates to people what they should continue doing. Try starting the conversation with the positives to get people to lower their guard first.
Manage your expectations
Besides handling the review discussions strategically, you must also manage your expectations from the team members. Maintain a realistic perspective because going too far can stress people out and affect their productivity and efficiency. Be clear with your directions, provide specific objectives, break them down into actionable milestones, and design benchmarks to measure your team’s success. Also, be open to allowing them a wiggle room with deadlines so that they do not compromise the quality of work.
Train and develop your workforce
Nothing is more constructive than training and developing your workforce when it comes to performance improvements. Telling people where they lack and sharing recommendations for improvement do not set them up for better performance. You must do your bit by running a training and development initiative for them. In fact, an ongoing training program for the entire workforce can drive productivity and efficiency. Besides helping the team perform better, training and development give them a reason to stick with your company. You get the additional benefits of employee loyalty and retention in the long run.
Run incentive programs
Another surefire to keep your workforce on top of performance levels is to run incentive programs. Knowing that good work will be appreciated pushes people to give their best, so you need not even ask them to improve. Consider thoughtful invectives to recognize employees producing excellent work. You need not spend a fortune on the initiative because even verbal praise can do the trick. Also, think beyond monetary bonuses and get creative with measures like additional paid time off, late passes, meals, gift cards, professional development opportunities, and wellness programs. Besides encouraging the performers, these incentives boost non-performers to go the extra mile.
Align projects with employees’ skills and talents
Aligning projects with employees’ skills and talents is another constructive measure to ramp up your workforce for the better. People inherently do well at jobs that match their interests and aptitudes. For example, a person may not be great with sales. But they may have the ideal skills for customer support. Consider moving people to roles and projects that suit them better. Even the underperforming workers may pick up on their productivity levels instantly once they get the right role. The best part is that they enjoy their work, so they are likely to stay with the company for the long haul. You can ask people directly about their interests or take a hit-and-trial approach to fit them in relevant roles and projects.
A high-performing workforce is an asset for an organization, but building one takes a lot of work. Corporate teams are often a mix of high performers and laggards, and identifying them is a good start. But providing employees with constructive feedback is the key to maximizing their performance, productivity, and efficiency. You can follow these strategies to encourage them to give their best.