Growing performance

Ways to grow employee performance include setting expectations, rewarding success, and developing and keeping high performance or potential as well as dealing with performance issues.

Employees need to clearly understand what is expected of them at work and how their work contributes to the organisation achieving its outcomes.

Achieving employee performance

Employees will be more productive if they:

  • know what they are required to do and how to do it
  • participate in setting their own goals and standards
  • believe they will be measured against those goals objectively.

Great managers don’t just tell employees what’s expected of them and walk away. They:

  • make sure employees have the tools and development needed to do their job
  • give employees the opportunity to grow in their job
  • often talk with their employees about their progress
  • don’t save feedback and issues up for a once-a-year performance review.

Barriers to good performance

An employee may be capable of reaching the required levels or standards of performance, but things have got in the way. These things may include:

  • management problems eg poor direction, unclear expectations, not enough training, or lack of constructive feedback and communication
  • unsuitable technology, tools, resources and equipment
  • work processes which are poorly designed or cause confusion and frustration
  • working conditions that are unhelpful for job performance, including noise, lighting, space, interruptions (eg telephone calls, emails, visitors), ergonomics and discomfort
  • workplace issues such as interpersonal differences, cultural misunderstandings, unhealthy work culture, workplace bullying
  • lack of authority to do necessary tasks
  • unclear priorities and conflicting demands for time.

Employers who work proactively with employees to remove or minimise barriers to good performance will save time and money on managing performance issues.

How to grow performance

Growing and assessing performance in a fair and clearly defined manner can help avoid problems if an employee doesn’t meet agreed standards later. It’s an ongoing process.

Apart from the employment agreement, position description, workplace policies and written routine duties, there is real value for employers and employees to agree on things like:

  • clear objectives and milestones for the employee to achieve and whether there will be extra reward or recognition for exceeding them or going the extra mile. These can be recorded in a performance agreement
  • regular catch-ups, good communication and honest feedback
  • training and development that the employee needs, or would benefit from, and how that will be done
  • the employee’s longer-term aims and how the employer might help the employee achieve them.

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