As a manager, it’s your responsibility to get the most out of your team. You put a lot of time and effort into hiring the right people, getting them up to speed, and keeping them motivated. But all of that has little to do with actual team performance. So what’s a busy manager to do? Find ways to improve work performance.
In this article, the experts at Sling give you tips that will help keep your employees engaged and working at their full potential.
The Best Ways To Improve Work Performance
Use these tips to improve work performance in your employees. There’s no need to implement them all right away. Start small and make sure everyone understands the new practices before moving on.
1) Limit Distractions
Distractions are the death of productivity. They interrupt creativity and the focused train of thought. They restrict your employees’ ability to perform at a high level. Limit distractions whenever possible.
Depending on what type of business you manage, these distractions come in wide and varied forms. Spend a few hours observing your team at work. Pay particular attention to what distracts them from their regular jobs.
Once you’ve determined what the biggest distractions are, meet with each employee and suggest ways to get rid of the interruptions. It could be something as simple as turning off personal cell phones for two hours during the workday.
2) Use The Right Tools
When you provide the right tools, your team’s performance will improve by leaps and bounds. These days, those tools take the form of software and hardware that streamline repetitive tasks and make them easier to complete.
Common time-saving tools include:
You can also improve work performance in your employees by scheduling shifts in a timely and effective manner.
The Sling suite of cloud-based tools provides everything a busy manager needs to schedule faster, eliminate conflicts, keep labor costs in check, assign tasks, and communicate better. When you’re performing at your best, your team will too.
3) Support Your Employee’s Productivity Practices
Each person on your team works differently. A productive environment for one team member may be too distracting for another. Encourage your employees to find their own “best productivity practices” and then support them in their choices.
4) Set Achievable Goals
It doesn’t matter if you work on one large project every year or many small projects every day, you can improve work performance in your employees by setting achievable goals to work toward.
This gives your employees direction, keeps them engaged, and helps them tailor their daily work so that all their activities move the team closer to their goals. It also provides a sense of accomplishment when they meet and exceed those goals.
5) Communicate With Your Employees
Both you and your team are busy, so there’s precious little time during the day to sit down and talk one-on-one with your employees. But carving out just a few minutes here and there to communicate with your employees can have a profound impact on their work performance.
Find out if they’re having any problems. Ask what they would change if they could. See if they have any tips for improving the workflow. And when they open up about an issue, really listen and, if you can, work to fix the problem.
6) Schedule Breaks During The Workday
No matter how motivated your team is, working eight hours straight with no breaks is a recipe for burnout. To combat this drop in work performance, schedule short breaks during the workday.
Encourage your employees to:
- Take a walk
- Chat with co-workers
- Get a healthy snack
And always make sure they take the time to eat lunch so they can keep their brains and their bodies fueled.
7) Give Constructive Feedback
If you see a team member do something good, recognize them for it. If you see a team member do something not so good, give them constructive feedback to help them improve. This is really the most direct and effective way to improve work performance.
When you give constructive feedback, be specific. Provide employees with actionable items that they can focus on improving.
8) Organize Your Team With Daily Priorities
Keeping your team organized can be a monumental task in itself. But the benefits of improved work performance are well worth the effort. We recommend setting daily priorities so that each team member knows exactly what they need to accomplish during the day.
This may sound overwhelming, but it’s really not. The Sling app makes it easy to assign tasks, communicate these responsibilities to your team members, and monitor their progress. Employees can even access the task list through their own mobile devices.
9) Help Employees Learn From Mistakes
Your employees will make mistakes. It’s inevitable. Some employees may get down on themselves when they make an error and affect the whole team’s performance.
Instead of viewing those mistakes as problems, help your team view them as learning experiences. Find ways that the individual—and the team as a whole—can grow and do a better job the next time around.
10) Eat & Drink Throughout The Day
When your employees are really involved in a project, they may not realize that they are hungry. That can be a problem because blood sugar (which drops when you’re hungry) can dramatically affect focus and creativity.
To help your employees stay productive, encourage them to eat healthy snacks and drink plenty of water throughout the day. Stock the break room with bottles of water, fruit, vegetables, and nuts to give your employees something to sip and munch on between meals.
Then be sure to remind everyone to take advantage of these provisions as much as possible.
11) Start The Day With Challenging Tasks
Your team is typically at their best first thing in the morning. Take advantage of this fact, and tackle the most challenging tasks at the beginning of the workday.
Save less-intensive work, like responding to email and attending meetings, for after your employees have completed the difficult jobs.
12) Avoid Multitasking
Contrary to popular belief, multitasking is the death of productivity and work performance. Even trying to do two tasks at the same time (let alone three or four) can drastically reduce your team’s effectiveness and efficiency.
Instead, train your employees to dedicate all their energy and attention to one job. Get it done well and then move on to the next task on the list.
Granted, there are times when multitasking is necessary to get a specific job done, but try to prevent it from becoming a regular practice in your business.
13) Give Your Team The Autonomy They Deserve
Autonomy in the workplace means giving your employees the permission, space, and flexibility to control how they approach and complete their work.
Feeling a sense of independence is a significant factor in improving your employees’ work performance and can even help prevent employee burnout.
It’s critical to build the right amount of autonomy into each task because too much can create excessive ambiguity, which often leads to more-than-usual stress and, eventually, the opposite of what you were aiming for.
Discuss the preferred degree of independence with each employee, and experiment with what works and what doesn’t to find the right balance and see an increase in team work performance.
14) Upgrade Your Team’s Workspace
Having the right tools is essential for getting work done in a timely manner. A great way to improve work performance in your employees is to upgrade their workspace.
This could be something as simple as stocking the storage room with high-quality office supplies. Or it could be something as extravagant as purchasing a standing desk for everyone on your team.
Other ideas include:
- Ergonomic chair
- New coffee machine
- Noise-canceling headphones
- New computer interface devices
- Second monitor (for a dual-display setup)
- Mechanical keyboard
- Faster internet service
Get creative and we’re sure you can come up with plenty of ways of improving your employees’ workspace so their work performance goes up.
15) Take Time Out For Team-Building Activities
You can grow those qualities in your team through team-building activities. Here are some of our favorite games you can play with groups of any size:
- Emoji Song
- Fitness Challenge
- Book Club
- Lamp, Fireplace, Or Candle
- Team Collage
- Scavenger Hunt
- Rose And Thorn
The nice thing about these games is that they improve unity whether your team works together face-to-face in the same office or telecommutes from all parts of the world.
You can find instructions for all of these activities in this article from the Sling blog: 7 Best Virtual Team Building Activities Your Remote Team Will Love.
And for more ideas on team-building games that you can use for in-person or virtual meetings, check out these other articles from the Sling blog:
- Team-Building Games: 4 Games Employees Will Actually Enjoy
- 20 Quick Team-Building Activities For Small Business Leaders
16) Express Your Appreciation
For many managers, expressing appreciation can be difficult. Add to that the fact that it has the reputation of being overly expensive, and it’s no wonder that most managers don’t do it enough. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Here are some simple ways you can show your team members you care and improve their work performance in the process:
- Have lunch delivered to the office (or their home office)
- Bring in some special coffee to try (or send some to wherever they work)
- Post a thank you video on YouTube
- Spring for a box of doughnut holes in the morning
- Meet with each team member one-on-one to see how things are going
There are so many ways you can show your appreciation that we’re sure you’ll come up with plenty more.
For more helpful ideas on what you can do, take a few minutes to read this article from the Sling blog: 34 Employee Appreciation Ideas That Won’t Break The Bank.
17) Offer On-The-Job Training
On-the-job training can take many forms and is a great way to improve your employees’ work performance. This training can be about anything that pertains to the way your team works.
Effective options include training for:
- New skills
- Mastering current tools
- How to stay organized
- The new business organizational chart
- Promoting diversity
- Working according to personality type
- Conflict resolution
With periodic on-the-job training as an option, your employees have a way to hone their skills and keep their work performance high.
18) Discuss Work Performance During Mid-Year Reviews
One of the best times to address employee work performance head-on is during your regular mid-year review.
Here, you can discuss your perspective on the matter, get the employee’s perspective, set goals, and create a development plan to help the individual reach those objectives.
While many of the other methods on this list improve work performance indirectly, discussing the topic during a periodic review is the most direct way to get your team thinking about how they can get better at their job.
19) Perfect Your Management Style
Perfecting your management style goes a long way toward improving work performance in your employees.
The best types of management styles for this endeavor are flexible, adaptive, and appropriate to the circumstances in your business. This is true because different situations call for different kinds of leadership.
When deciding how to lead, you’ll need to take a number of things into consideration, including:
- The type of business you manage
- The volume of work that needs to be completed on a regular basis
- Your personality and innate management qualities
- The personalities and attitudes of the team you’re currently managing
Once you’ve addressed all these factors, you’re ready to lead by example and improve the work performance of your team.
Encourage Constant Improvement
The way your team performs is vital to the success of your business. That’s why it’s essential to encourage constant improvement.
When your team performs at 100 percent, everyone will notice and your business will benefit. Use these tips as the best ways to improve work performance in your employees.
If all of these methods are new to your business, pick one or two and implement them in your team’s daily routine. When the first two are firmly established, pick two more. Soon, your team will be operating at a high level all the time.
If you find that a specific method doesn’t work for your team, scrap it and try something else. Remember, this is about improving your work performance, not checking off every item on the list. Find what works best for your business and forget the rest.
With these methods in mind, and a little practice to boot, you can improve your employees’ work performance and productivity so that they become masters of their workday.
The Foundation Of Better Work Performance
One surefire way to improve work performance in your employees is by streamlining and perfecting your business’s scheduling process to create a strong and stable foundation on which your team can operate.
In fact, we recommend that all businesses start with this essential first step before moving on to the other suggestions on this list. Scheduling is just that powerful.
And to help you and your team on the road to perfect work performance, download the Sling app for free today. When it comes to organizing, managing, and optimizing your workforce, there’s no better suite of tools than Sling.
The heart of the Sling software is its artificial-intelligence-based scheduling module that includes intuitive features like:
- Employee and task color coding
- Time-off notices
- Recurring shifts
- Double-booking and overlapping shift notifications
- And much more…
Sling also contains a built-in time clock and employee work and attendance tracker. With this unique feature, you can turn any smartphone, tablet, or computer into a clock-in, clock-out tool.
You can even control labor costs and prevent time theft by establishing geofences around your business and setting limits on how early and how late employees can clock in or out.
But the benefits don’t stop there. With Sling, you also get:
- Cloud-based schedule distribution and communication
- A wide range of reports to help you make adjustments for the future
- Paid-time-off control to help you keep expenses low
- Powerful messaging features
- Your very own newsfeed
- Task lists for you and your employees
When you harness the power of the Sling app, you’ll save countless hours each week that you can then dedicate to improving your team’s work performance even more.
For more free resources to help you manage your business better, organize and schedule your team, and track and calculate labor costs, visit GetSling.com today.