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Enhance employee performance

Most employees desire to do the best in their jobs. All employers need to hire and retain high performing employees. So many things are at stake, not the least of which is producing revenues.

It is a true statement that employees are the most valuable asset a business can have — that is, if they are quality members of the staff. Just as good employees build up morale, provide outstanding customer service, contribute to the bottom line, poor employees do just the opposite.

Regardless of whether your staff is small or large the same things can work to motivate employees to become more productive and engaged. Following are some things leaders and managers can do to improve engagement.

1. Communicate better — Frequent communication, especially face-to-face, will let employees know they are valued. Show appreciation for their hard work. Don’t resort to communicating only with emails, memos etc. It is challenge with a large staff but it can be accomplished with delegation and planning.

2. Set the example from the top — Showing your dedication and excitement about your work will have the “trickle down” effect. You can’t expect your staff to work hard and behave the way you want them to if you don’t lead by example.

3. Provide training and education — Skills enhancement, both hard and soft skills, are necessary for success. Providing ongoing training will allow employees to grow and become more valuable to your organization. With proper training each staff member can learn new skills, enhance current skills and thereby enable them to perform other tasks and climb the career ladder. Also a tuition reimbursement program will enable employees to complete their education and move up in your organization. Another benefit is the building of the business’ reputation as a good place to work.

4. Empower employees — Ask employees for input and feedback. They often have the best ideas for improvement but will not share them with management unless asked. Implementing employee suggestions can be a huge motivating factor. Giving them more authority to make more decisions will result in better customer service.

5. Provide opportunities for advancement — Employees who see opportunities for advancement are more motivated. Nobody wants to be in a dead-end job. If employees don’t believe there is any opportunity for advancement they will look for another job that offers better opportunities.

6. Provide incentives — Incentives are always motivation boosters, and they don’t have to be expensive. Days off is one of the most sought after rewards for employees. There are many other low cost incentives like movie tickets, gift cards, parking space for a month and company items with logos. Bonuses are always appreciated. Incentives and rewards play a key role in retaining your best employees.

7. Recognition — Employee recognition programs can be easy and inexpensive to implement. Ask employees what they want or how they would like to be recognized. Create recognition ideas like “Employee of the Month”, “The Extra Mile Award”, social media “Shout Out”, etc.

Better customer service, increase in employee engagement, higher levels of productivity, lower turnover and higher ROI are just a few of the benefits the business will experience. Happier and more satisfied employees will also result.

It’s really a no-brainer to support employees and understand them better. All these actions will create a better connection between employees and the company, while supporting the work done and reinforcing a strong vision and culture.

Becky Vaughn-Furlow retired from Trustmark Bank as executive vice president and human resources director. She can be contacted by emailing