Develop and improve the performance of your staff

No one can stand still.  Advances in client expectations, technology, innovation, regulation, working practices and competition affect everyone in your business to some extent.  Some of us also need to learn new skills in order to progress through the ranks and even perhaps run the business at some stage. 

5 Top Tips for developing and improving staff performance:

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Train new staff in your work methods and systems so they can ‘hit the ground running’

  • Many businesses fail to provide adequate training and support to new recruits.  Even if they come with the required skills, they need to understand your processes, values, people, expectations, targets, standards, and goals.  Spending some time on these issues will pay dividends in making the new recruit productive as soon as possible.  It will also help them feel supported and pleased that they have joined the right business!  The costs of a false start are enormous. 

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Actively update staff skills and knowledge so they can remain fully effective.

  • According to the US Department of Labor, 65% of today’s primary school kids will work in jobs that have not yet been invented!   We all need to learn continuously, just to keep pace with the world around us.  Developing skills and knowledge is therefore an important source of competitive advantage.  New technologies, working methods, service and communication innovations are driving added value.  What do your employees need to know – and do – for your business to stay ahead of the competition?  Make sure you are investing in those skills.
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Identify and develop staff to take your most important jobs – current and future.

  • Who are your stars of today and tomorrow?  Do you know who will take key roles in the future – even yours!  Think about who is showing that potential and work with them to understand the scale of their ambition.  Develop a plan to grown their experience and skills.  How will you incentivise them to stay? 
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Monitor staff performance and keep them on track

  • You really want your employees to be doing things that are linked to the achievement of your business objectives.  So how do you organise this?
    • Job descriptions should be written to include all of the main tasks and expectations for that role.  The content of all the roles, when added together, should give you everything you need to achieve the company’s objectives.  Are there gaps?  Are there existing jobs that don’t have relevant content?
    • What ‘output’ measures do you have to indicate performance and progress? How far down the organisation can these be carried out?  For example, is there a relevant customer service, or production, or quality measure that can be applied to individual workers or teams?  These are called KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) Being able to target, measure and communicate results to the relevant people can motivate them and help you to manage performance.  You can incentivise your staff to achieve certain levels and this will, in turn, drive top line performance.
    • An appraisal process can provide an opportunity to review all of the important issues for both employer and employee, e.g. is the role still relevant, are they focused on the right things, are they developing the right skills, are they happy in their role, are they seeking to develop their career?  It is easy for appraisals to become a piece of worthless bureaucracy – so please make sure that you use something that works for you and your business – there is no standard, ‘one size fit’s all’ approach.
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Ensure managers understand how to manage and motivate their teams and deal with any performance problems

  • It is often said that most employees don’t leave their company, they leave their boss!  The immediate supervisor has a major influence on how much each employee will deliver for the company, and how happy and motivated they will be at work.  They therefore wield huge financial power within the business.  Under these circumstances, there is a sound business case for training those supervisors to get the best out of their teams. 

Are you maximising the return on your investment in staff?

 Our Top Tips:

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