Improving Employee Performance

How to speak so an employee performance chat produces results

You can improve employee performance by taking these actions and holding conversations regularly.
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If you want to improve employee performance, think about your daily conversations with employees. No better opportunity exists to reinforce and help refine excellent employee performance. You discuss new projects, talk about overdue assignments, give updates about completed tasks, and more.

Use these conversations to reinforce the importance of doing a great job. How? Link the employee performance to a workplace result.

Examples of Linking Employee Performance to Results Requested

  • "When you submit your reports on time (improvement you want an employee to make), we are able to meet our deadlines for submitting the monthly reports to the field office ( a result of improvement)."
  • "Entering clients' medical records into the database by 5:00 PM every day (improvement you want the employee to make) helps us achieve our strategic goal of quickly responding to health issues ( a result of improvement)."
  • "When you order the janitorial supplies on time, (improvement you want the employee to make) that allows the maintenance employees to do their job in a timely manner ( a result of improvement)."
  • If you attend the community meetings ( the action you want an employee to take), you will have an opportunity to interact with all of the senior managers in the company ( a result of the action)."
  • "By participating in the project ( the action you want an employee to take), you will have an opportunity to learn more about the organization's strategic plan ( the result of an action)."

Why does this approach to improving employee performance work?

The main reason these results-based approaches work is because you are able to explain the value of positive performance from different perspectives. You can talk about results that are important to employees and results that are important to the organization.

You are also able to use multiple reasons to explain why something is important or why something is not important. So if employees react negatively to one result (i.e. impact another employee), you can use a different result (i.e. impact customer service) to illustrate your performance conversation. That means you don't have to say, "Do it because it's your job."

What type of results can you link to employee performance?

At the individual level, you can link employee performance to desirable outcomes such as greater autonomy, less stress, reduced workloads, or increased visibility. These results emphasize personal and professional interests.

On a broader level, employee performance can be linked to organization mission, office goals, customer service, or team performance. These require employees to look at the larger impact of their performance results. Just make sure you include results that reflect personal interests of your employees as well as results that are important to your organization.

Examples of linking employee performance to results

  • Link Performance To Job Enrichment: Employees want to feel that what they do is important. Doing more challenging work or working with different employees are just two examples. Investigate things employees like about where they work. Determine what makes them excited. Use this information to explain how effective employee performance can lead to greater job enrichment.
  • Link Employee Performance To Learning And Development: Consider your employees' strengths and weaknesses. Would new knowledge, skills, or abilities be helpful? Or, maybe the employees can obtain certification in a job-related area. Use this information to show how positive employee performance can result in enhanced capabilities.
  • Link Employee Performance To Career Advancement: Think about how certain actions give employees greater opportunities for advancement on the job. Perhaps you can consider possibilities for a job rotation or a high-profile assignment. Use this information to connect employee interests to performance, highlighting the impact on upward mobility or desired lateral moves.
  • Link Employee Performance To Money And Rewards: Identify the monetary perks that exist for employees. Go beyond the regular paycheck. Include anything from cash payments to tickets to the theater. Use this information to link employee performance to financial rewards or other types of benefits.
  • Link Employee Performance To Other Employees' Performance: Identify who employee performance impacts? Consider managerial staff, technical staff, support staff, and others. Use this information to emphasize how one employee's performance can positively or negatively impact another employee's performance and results.
  • Link Employee Performance To Office Achievements and Results: Look at an organizational chart of your company, agency, or association. Examine workflow processes and the products or services you provide to other offices or departments. Do they depend on materials or information from your employees? If so, consider what happens when they get what they need or when they don't get what they need. Use this information to explain why effective performance is important.
  • Link Employee Performance To Organization Success and Results Measures: Think about how your organization measures success. Some organizations use sales quotas as a guide. Others track the acquisition of new customers. Look at strategic plans and operational goals for direct or indirect links. Use this information to explain the broad-level impact of doing or not doing certain activities.
  • Link Employee Performance To Guiding Principles: Look at your organization's vision, mission, and values statements. This information tells you the kind of fundamental practices that are important. Examine instructions on "how" employees should do things as well as "what" they should do. Also consider rules, regulations, and policies. Use this information to support the importance of certain types of employee performance.

    Make your conversations matter

    Talking about employee performance and performance results are something you do every day. Make the most of these discussions. Give employees a reason in your conversations for doing a great job and they will produce results for you.