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Employee Engagement Performance Management

7 Strategies to Improve Employee Performance and Productivity

June 21, 2022
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6 min read
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The workplace upheaval we all experienced in 2020 ushered in a new era of performance management for many companies. Some traded in traditional annual performance reviews for more frequent, informal check-ins. Others adjusted the performance metrics their employees needed to meet or adapted review processes to a remote or hybrid work environment. 

Despite concerns about how the abrupt changes would affect work, PwC research showed that 57% of companies surveyed actually beat their performance and productivity targets in 2021. That’s because employees were able to experience the benefits of modern performance review processes, hybrid or remote work environments, and employers that cared about their wellbeing. 

So how can you continue to improve performance and foster productivity as the world of work keeps changing? Focus on these seven strategies to enable your employees’ success.

37% of employees themselves say recognition is the number one way their managers could inspire them to do better work. Take a look at more findings about #EmployeeEngagement in our recent blog via @ClearCompany:

1. Start with Structured Onboarding

Performance management statistics point to the first days and weeks at a new job as an extended first impression that shapes the entire employee experience. During onboarding, new hires are getting a feel for what it will be like to work at the company and if they’ll stay. Unfortunately, only 29% of new hires say their onboarding experience left them feeling sufficiently supported and prepared.

Bad onboarding can lead to higher new employee turnover and decreased productivity, which is why each new team member needs a structured onboarding plan specific to their role. A standardized approach is well worth the effort, increasing new hire productivity by up to 50 percent.

2. Set Goals and Stay Accountable

If there’s one aspect of performance management that’s non-negotiable, goal-setting is a top contender for the spot. Performance and productivity benefit when goals are involved:

Goals help guide performance conversations and measure employee productivity. Managers can keep their teams accountable with regular goal check-ins, where they can give useful feedback and get an idea of employee performance. If an employee is consistently meeting their goals, they’re doing well in their role, while falling short too often might mean they’d benefit from a performance improvement plan.

3. Encourage and Promote Growth 

It’s a no-brainer that making it a priority to train and develop employees leads to better performance and productivity. As hiring challenges and resignations persist, employee development or upskilling is also becoming a necessity for companies that need to meet important skills needs to maintain productivity. HR leaders don’t anticipate that that will change anytime soon, so now is the time to strengthen your professional development strategies so your employees have the skills they need to meet their goals.

Taking the time to shout out great work is a simple but highly impactful way to strengthen human connections in the workplace and make your employees feel appreciated. Get the latest on #EmployeeEngagement and #PerformanceManagement in our blog via @ClearCompany:

4. Say Thank You

It’s evident that employees today are searching for an employer that treats them like humans and values what they contribute, which you can demonstrate by including recognition in performance management strategy. According to the statistics, 37% of employees themselves say recognition is the number one way their managers could inspire them to do better work. 

Taking the time to shout out great work is a simple but highly impactful way to strengthen those human connections and make your employees feel appreciated. Talk to managers about the importance of recognizing and thanking individual employees for their efforts on a regular basis. Challenge them to thank every team member intentionally and often, like during weekly one-on-ones.

5. Prioritize Wellbeing Through Flexibility

The burnout brought on by the pandemic propelled employee wellbeing to the top of workers’ priority lists, even for younger generations of the workforce. At the same time, many employees were experiencing the wellness benefits of remote work:

  • 75% of employees said they were more physically active when working from home.

  • 88% said having options about where to work increased their job satisfaction.

  • 56% of employees said their mental health improved with a hybrid work schedule. 

Businesses saw benefits, too — one study of 16,000 workers found that remote work increased productivity by 13% over nine months. The study also found that remote work reduced employee turnover by 50%, attributed to convenience and fewer distractions. All of these benefits point to remote or hybrid flexibility as an effective way to foster better performance and productivity.

6. Find Out What Employees Think

Did you know that employees want to tell you how they’re feeling? Not to mention, when they feel heard, employees are 4.6x more likely to feel they can do their best work. Asking questions about their level of engagement, job satisfaction, and wellbeing helps you set a baseline for how employees feel and find out where you need to refocus your efforts.

Some types of performance management systems offer built-in employee surveys so HR can quickly create and send a survey. Employees can respond anonymously from their mobile devices, making it more likely that they’ll share their honest feedback.

7. Use Performance Management Software

The old ways of managing performance — sporadic paper performance reviews, untimely feedback, and often sans a wellness component — are more than just outdated. They’re holding your employees back from their full potential and hindering better performance and increased productivity. 

On the other hand, with the best performance management software, you can access a wide range of tools to immediately upgrade your strategies and encourage performance and productivity:

  • Performance review templates to facilitate better conversations

  • Automatic notifications to keep review cycles on schedule

  • Goal-setting, including for new hires, to measure employee performance and drive engagement from day one

  • Employee engagement and pulse surveys to stay aware of employee sentiment

  • Onboarding Platform for seamless digital onboarding and new hire insights

  • Analytics to drive data-informed decision making

Building a performance management framework that includes these seven strategies can do far more than just improve performance and productivity — it can help your employees achieve total Talent Success™.  Strong performance management is the basis for an engaged, productive workforce with high job satisfaction. They can help your company produce more high-performing employees, develop their skills, and retain them for the long term.

Set every employee on the path to complete Talent Success™ with our bundle of performance-enhancing resources. Download the bundle to get access to new and improved materials:

  • The CHRO’s Timeline for Changing Performance Management Systems

  • Maslow's Hierarchy of Employee Engagement

  • 90+ Phrases to Align Feedback with Performance & Goals

  • Worksheet: Setting Attainable Goals & Seeing Them Through

  • Expert-Built Employee Performance Review Templates

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