Ask Andrea: How do I get my staff to perform better? And can you give me solutions that actually work, please.
We’ve been at this work thing for centuries yet we still haven’t come up with the silver bullet that guarantees staff will consistently perform to the level we want them to.
That’s not to say there aren’t some super effective solutions around, it’s just that we are only starting to appreciate how complex our work ecosystems are. And what makes the work ecosystems so very complex is the people in them.
I’d suggest that we come at this problem from a people centric view point rather than a process driven one.
The first step I’d encourage you to take to get improved performance is to stop putting so much effort and emotion into wishing people were different to who they are. Instead, clearly identify what you really want.
I hear “if only” a lot with my clients, “if only they were more like me”, “if only they treated the business as if it was their own”, “if only I chose the other person”.
There’s gold to be mined from the “if only” statements. It gives an insight into what you really want fixed.
“If only my staff were more like me” followed by “what does that actually look like” can provide you with information on exactly what you want them to do and be, in order to be successful, for you.
What are those characteristics that you value so highly? Perhaps it’s your determination or your initiative or your ability to care that you value so highly.
Instead of wishing for them to be different, be hyper clear on what changes in performance you need to hear, see and feel. Share your success strategy with them.
The second step is to communicate this information with the employee.
Please do not say “but I did that when I wrote their position description” because what we think we want people to do and what we actually need them to do and how we want them to do it, is rarely written into recruitment documents.
You need a performance plan to show how the employee how they can be successful for you.
The simplest way to fulfil this step is to write a list with the employee. What do they need to be doing on a daily, weekly, monthly etc basis and what a good outcome looks like.
This approach will give you an insight into how the employee perceives their role and whether it’s aligned with your vision. It also highlights the hidden problems, which stop employees from performing well.
I can not tell you how many times I hear employees say they are confused about priorities, so they do go off and do the tasks they are comfortable with, leaving the other important stuff undone. And it’s such a simple fix.
The final step is to stay involved with the employees as they progress towards the goals you have set.
No employee walks into an organisation knowing how to be successful for you. We need to give them a pathway to be successful for us. Stage your expectations and gently coach away from the undesirable behaviours and towards the desirable ones and you’ll start to see results.
The key to this step is to remember you are there to help them to meet your needs.
Being too busy, expecting employees to just get on with it and getting frustrated when employees need help (and all the other reasons we want to be hands off bosses) will result in poor performance.
If you want to see an improvement is performance: get real with what you think success looks like, communicate with the employees and help them to progress towards the outcomes you want. Easy peasy and it works.
Until next week
Human Resources & Leadership Strategist. I solve workplace issues quickly and positively & coach leaders to do the same.