How to Maximise Employee Performance

Exceptional leaders go out of their way to encourage, support and develop their staff.

When people are properly managed, it’s amazing what they can accomplish. There is a positive affect on productivity and a drive to succeed—for both themselves and the business.

Today we hear from guest blogger Karen Doores of KD HR Solutions. With a 30 year career in HR Karen knows only too well the challenges facing businesses and shares her wisdom about the impact that maximising employee performance can have.

I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve heard leaders complaining about an employees’ performance. Don’t get me wrong, on most occasions there has been an issue; but what has also been the case is that the leaders has never stopped to ask themselves why. For me this is the million-dollar question and it’s also where the solution lies.

So, what do we mean by ‘performance’? Well. I like to describe ‘performance’ as ‘the sum of capability and attitude’. To be a good performer an employee needs the required skills (capability), and the appropriate mindset (attitude) to use these skills effectively.

If you’ve got an employee who’s not performing well, you should explore which one of these elements is missing and why.

So, how do we achieve good employee performance? We tend to have what we call ‘performance management’ frameworks or approaches, but these also tend to be associated with poor performers or the paper work you complete. It’s not though; ‘Performance Management’ is about creating a culture that encourages the continuous improvement of employees’ skills, behaviour, and an employee’s overall contribution to the business.

If you want this type of culture (which of course you do), you need to ensure your employees:

  • know and understand what is expected of them

  • have the skills and ability to deliver these expectations

  • Are supported to develop the capability to meet these expectations

  • Are given regular feedback on their performance

And make sure you:

  • Set sensible and achievable tasks and targets for your employees

  • Understand the impact of your own behaviour on the people you manage

  • Identify and display positive behaviours so that you are always leading by example

OK, there will be times when, despite that wonderful culture of continuous improvement you have created, you need to deal with an employee’s poor performance. When this does happen ensure your employee has been:

  • Made aware there is an issue with their performance, and the improvements required

  • Given sufficient time to improve (This will depend upon their job role and how long you can reasonably wait for such an improvement)

  • Given appropriate support to improve

  • Provided with regular reviews to monitor and discuss their progress

  • Informed that if their performance does not improve you may have to consider disciplinary action

So, my one piece of advice is at the very beginning of this blog – if you have an under performer stop and ask yourself why.

Remember though, poor performance must not be confused with misconduct, which is about ‘inappropriate’ behaviour breaching company rules; or Gross misconduct, which is a ‘single act of misconduct that amounts to a breach of trust and confidence, and immediately renders the employee unsuitable for further employment’.

As you can see from this article, leading performance is about striking a careful balance in how you address capability and attitude.

As a leader, not only can you keep relationships intact but you can also build confidence and enhance productivity by taking the right approach to managing the performance of your team.

My thanks go to Karen for an insightful and helpful article.

About Karen

As professional HR Consultant Karen helps leaders of small and medium-sized businesses with the ‘people’ element of their growth plans. She is a trusted colleague and friend and you can learn ore about her by visiting her Website.

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