An organisation is only as good as its’ people. So, if you are in a managerial position, you should always have a clear idea of how to get the best out of your employees.
Managing a team requires diplomacy and patience, and it’s highly likely that in a single team you’ll have several personality types and working styles to contend with, at times it may feel like an impossible task to please everyone at once.
Driving performance is not always easy, but there are some simple things you can do to increase the motivation and productivity of your workforce. We’ve listed a few of the best ways to achieve this below.
Provide a Clear Progression Structure
If your employees feel there are limited opportunities for advancement, they are unlikely to remain with your company for very long.
It’s human nature to continually strive for improvement, and this is something to be celebrated, not quashed. You should always ensure your best and brightest employees are recognised and allowed to progress up the career ladder with ease when they excel.
Company hierarchies have changed considerably in the last 30 years. It was previously normal to have a pyramid structure, where making company decisions was limited to a few senior managers but affected an entire organisation. These days, organisations work on a far flatter structure, where everyone is expected to contribute ideas that will influence decisions and company objectives.
Particularly in small companies, there are only promotional opportunities available when someone retires, and this can be extremely demoralising for younger ambitious employees. By providing clear, defined progression paths that employees can aim towards is a fantastic way to drive performance and motivate the individuals in your team.
Provide Regular Feedback
Another easy way to increase productivity within your team is to provide regular, constructive feedback.
Constructive feedback is not synonymous with criticism and it’s more important to praise someone for their achievements than to point out their mistakes. If mistakes are made, feedback should be given in a way that lets them know exactly how they can avoid similar errors going forward. Negative feedback should always be provided in a private space away from other team members to avoid unprofessional conduct and humiliating the employee.
Positive feedback can be highly motivating and is excellent for team morale. Opposite to criticism, praise should be delivered publicly so other members of your team can see what actions receive recognition and learn by example. Drawing attention to someone that has gone above and beyond in front of the rest of the team will also mean the individual gets a wider recognition for good work and this promotes more collaborative working.
Providing regular feedback significantly increases efficiency and recorded levels of job satisfaction. Not only this, but it also gives tangible evidence to employees on how they are doing and gives them confidence to achieve more.
Set Achievable Objectives
Setting intelligent, achievable objectives is an important duty of any leader.
If the objectives you set are too difficult, this can be detrimental to your cause as even those employees who are trying their hardest will feel as if they have failed if they do not hit their specified targets. This can lead to a loss of energy within your team and leave members feeling disillusioned with you as a manager and the entire organisation.
On the other hand, setting objectives which are too easy means employees will never extend themselves beyond their comfort zone and new ideas and initiatives will never be discovered. Objectives that are too simple are self-limiting in a number of ways.
Therefore, you must find the right balance in the objectives you specify for your team. A good guideline to setting objectives is to follow the SMART principle which stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely. If you take the time to develop smart objectives, you will quickly be rewarded with a content and industrious team.
This can be the hardest point to follow when driving performance as it is tempting to view your team as a single, cooperative unit. However, treating people as individuals and recognising their potential outside of the wider team is just as important as promoting collaborative teamwork.
Your 1-2-1 meetings (minimum quarterly) with members of your team should demonstrate to them that they are being valued and listened too. These should be treated as equal meetings where you can take away and implement as many suggestions as possible from your team, as well as imparting your own advice upon them.
If an employee feels listened too, they are more likely to feel validated and subsequently more likely to perform their daily tasks better.
Provide Regular Training
Providing regular training opportunities is important for employees at every stage of their career from new joiner to experienced senior management.
There is always something to be learned and by regularly providing the opportunities to learn new skills, employees can make themselves more marketable in their current role and any roles they may wish to work towards in the future.
Training will enhance the existing skill sets within your team and keep them performing the best they can be.