How to improve employee performance

Motivating employees to perform

Now that you have a better grasp of how to assess performance and engagement, it’s time to start pushing those employees in the right direction. An obvious form of motivation is through positive reinforcement. If an employee does something great, let them know and reward them for it. But that’s just scratching the surface.

Let’s start from the beginning. If you want high-performing employees, you need to make sure they’re the right fit for the job they’re doing. Even if a person has a skill set that matches a job, they might not be a match behaviorally. When hiring or promoting a person, consider setting both a behavioral and cognitive target for jobs. With those targets in place, you can make sure employees match the role they’re considering. Those previously mentioned performance development/evaluation meetings are perfect opportunities to plan possible promotions. Use these meetings to build out a career plan tailored to choices that best suit the employee’s natural strengths.

Be open in these conversations about what’s required for the job and where employees stack up behaviorally. This will build trust, so you can have a productive conversation about the role and align on whether they’re still the right person for the job. If they’re no longer a good fit, candidly explore other options within the organization or support them in finding a job elsewhere if no other internal options are a fit.

Let software do the work:

You can also turn to tools like PI’s Management Strategy Guide. This guide will help you understand how your individual employees will best respond to motivation and direction based on their behavioral preferences.

Once you know those employees are in the right positions, it’s time to focus on them and how they can improve. Remember, even your highest performers have room to grow. Sit down and create a plan for their personal development. Determine what their strengths and weaknesses are, and create goals they can strive for that align with the overall company objectives.

Tools like the Personal Development Chart will help make this easier for you by generating that information based on this employee’s behavioral preferences. Regardless of what you use, be sure to continuously revisit these goals and gauge how that employee is doing–especially more than just once a year.

Lastly, be sure to address those engagement responses we mentioned earlier. Many of the actions we recommended, such as tying a job to behavioral targets, will alleviate disengagement concerns, but that won’t always be the case for every individual. It’s important to collect as much people data as you can to make an informed decision. This way, your employees have the right tools, environment, and skills to perform their duties, and have a set path to continuous improvement.

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