You hired great people. You work for an amazing organization. Everything is in place, but your people aren’t performing as you expect them to. What went wrong?
Being a manager, a major part of your role is to make sure your team succeeds. On paper, it sounds pretty easy, but in practice, fostering high performance teams can be a full-time job in and of itself. If you’re struggling to boost your business’ bottom line while simultaneously fostering engagement and high performance, here are a few key things you should look at:
Define Your Goals
You can’t get where you want to go if nobody knows what you’re actually trying to achieve. Goals can be tricky because many leaders try to use them to set the bar far above realistic expectations, leaving team members feeling deflated and painfully aware of their shortcomings.
In order to be useful in terms of fostering performance within an organization, goals should be:
- Accepted (or negotiated) by team members so they feel they have a buy-in on the final results
- Collaborative within a team, allowing all contributors to feel valuable and competent
Involve Employees in the Goal Setting Process
The more removed you are from a process, the harder it is for employees to engage and the easier it is to delegate responsibilities without truly knowing how your expectations impact your employees. When you involve your team, however, you open up dialogue, which is key to overcoming barriers and motivating employees.
Doling out unreasonable expectations can make your staff unwilling to try harder if they know your goals are unattainable anyway. When you involve employees, you have the opportunity to learn why some of your goals may feel overwhelming or unreasonable. You can work with your front-line employees to create goals that truly foster high performance and align with the company’s overarching goals.
You never know what kind of information you could discover until you involve the people who do the work.
Provide Employees with Coaching
Once upon a time, it was completely normal for people to wait until their annual reviews to learn how they’d been doing. Thankfully, those days are gone, and wise companies provide regular, ongoing feedback to their team members. As stated by the American Management Association, “Organizations that do not perform at their peak find that over the long term, they’re unable to compete.”
Coaching helps you avoid pitfalls and stay relevant while encouraging ongoing high performance from your employees. Coaching should:
- Be interactive
- Be facilitated by a trusted mentor
- Be performed by someone who has firsthand knowledge in the employees’ jobs for which they’re being coached
- Provide an opportunity to identify deficiencies, diagnose issues, and provide solutions
- Help employees realize what’s not working so they can take steps to get back on track
- Be ongoing and not just during an annual performance review
Provide Employees with Incentives
People want to be acknowledged for their efforts and hard work. According to the Incentive Research Foundation (IRF), awards such as money or tangible incentives increase individual performance by an average of 22 percent and team performance by as much as 44%. Incentives, when implemented correctly, boost employee engagement, which, in turn, enhances productivity and loyalty while minimizing turnover costs. IRF’s study states, “Asked to persist toward a goal, people increase their performance by 27% when motivated by incentive programs.”
Fostering high employee performance isn’t easy, but it is necessary. If you want to make the most of your team’s talent, you have to understand what makes them tick and why they’re great at the things they do. Not sure how to get started? Sign up for our Managed HR Consulting Service, and let us help you make things work better at your workplace!