Do you remember the scene in “The Wolf of Wall Street” where the sales team at Stratton Oakmont is encouraged to sell penny stocks to unsuspecting customers? The high-pressure sales tactics and unethical behavior ultimately lead to decreased employee performance and the company’s downfall.
Sounds like something that could only happen in movies.
Why am I citing this scenario? Because it tells us something about employee expectations and actual performance related to office culture.
As a business owner or manager, you have the power to influence the performance and behavior of your employees. Creating a positive work environment and implementing effective performance strategies can motivate your team to achieve their goals and exceed expectations—and doing the opposite can lead to their mental deterioration, and ultimately the downfall of your company.
In this article, we’ll explore the factors affecting employee performance and how, by knowing those, you can leverage your employees’ efficiency to achieve better workplace collaborations and collective success.
Ever felt like you’re not firing on all cylinders at work, but you just can’t put your finger on why?
The truth is there are a ton of factors that can affect employee performance, from external pressures to internal struggles. And as a manager or business owner, it’s your job to identify and tackle these factors head-on.
In this section, we’ll explore some of the most common factors influencing employee performance to show you how you can help pave the way for your team’s success—all to avoid falling into the trap of toxic office culture and the perception of impossible expectations.
Goals are a critical factor in employee performance because they provide direction and focus for the individual. In a study published in the Research Journal of Finance and Accounting, researchers agree that the incompatibility of goals and interests can result in workplace conflicts.
When employees have clear and specific goals, they know what is expected of them and are more likely to prioritize their tasks and work towards achieving them. Goals also give employees a sense of purpose and motivation, as they have something to strive for and a way to measure their progress.
On the other hand, a lack of clear goals or unrealistic goals can harm employee performance. If your employees are unsure of what they are supposed to be doing or feel that their goals are unattainable, they may become demotivated and disengaged. This can lead to decreased productivity, quality of work, and job satisfaction.
It is also important to ensure that you are aware of an employee’s long-term goals and objectives. Perhaps working with your company is a stepping stone to a bigger goal for them. Knowing from the beginning what the goals and expectations are for an employee, and checking in frequently as goals can shift, is an important key in creating a meaningful and mutually beneficial relationship for all.
Look into my Corporate VisionBossing workshop to better understand and align the goals of your team and the company mission!
Feedback provides employees with valuable information about their performance and helps them improve their skills and behaviors. Regular and constructive feedback can increase employee motivation and engagement. It shows them that their contributions are valued and their efforts are being recognized.
Meanwhile, a lack of feedback or consistent negative feedback can have a detrimental effect on employee performance. Employees not receiving feedback may feel unsure about their performance or need direction to improve their craft. Moreover, negative feedback not delivered constructively can demotivate employees and damage their confidence.
The environment in which employees work can influence their motivation, engagement, and overall job satisfaction. A positive and supportive workplace can lead to higher levels of employee performance, while a negative and unsupportive one can hinder it.
In a negative workplace environment, you may experience lower levels of employee performance. Low morale, high turnover, and poor communication often characterize this. Such factors can result in a lack of motivation and engagement, ultimately impacting job performance.
When employees have access to the resources they need to do their jobs, they are more likely to be successful and achieve their goals. For example, providing employees with access to training programs can help them develop new skills and stay up-to-date on the latest industry trends, which can ultimately improve their job performance.
Likewise, when your employees have access to the right tools, they can complete their work more quickly and accurately. For example, providing employees access to a project management tool can help them manage their tasks more efficiently and collaborate more effectively with their colleagues.
However, a lack of resources and tools can harm employee performance. Understandably, your employees may need help to perform their jobs effectively, leading to frustration and low morale. This can ultimately result in lower levels of job performance and productivity.
Let’s face it, measuring employee performance can be tough. Ideally, you’ll want to provide feedback that is accurate and constructive.
But how do you measure something as intangible as performance?
In this section, we’ll break down two common methods for evaluating employee performance to help you determine which will work best for your team.
It’s a time-honored tradition in the corporate world that usually begins with goal-setting at the start of the year. Managers sit down with their employees and hash out a set of performance objectives that align with the company’s overall goals.
During the review, managers evaluate an employee’s performance over the past year, focusing on the goals set at the beginning of the year. They’ll look at how well the employee has met or exceeded those goals and how they’ve contributed to the company overall.
After the review, managers give feedback to the employee on their performance, highlighting areas where they’ve excelled and areas where there’s room for improvement. They may also work with the employee to develop a plan for growth and development.
I understand that some may see annual performance reviews as outdated and ineffective (especially in the post-pandemic workplace dynamics with varied communication frameworks, aka hybrid setup). However, they can still be useful tools when applied ideally.
Annual performance reviews allow employees to receive feedback, set goals, and align their performance with the company’s objectives. So, while they may not be perfect, they’re still an important part of many companies’ performance management processes.
Also, this suggestion may still depend on where your company is on the business scale. If you’re just a startup, you may want to do something similar but more tailored to the limited employees you handle. More on this in the next section.
Instead of setting goals at the beginning of the year and checking in mid-year, modern methods encourage ongoing goal-setting and frequent feedback. You and your staff may meet regularly to discuss progress toward goals, identify improvement areas, and provide real-time feedback.
The idea behind this approach is that continuous feedback can help employees make small course corrections throughout the year rather than waiting for an extensive formal review at the end of the year. It can also help managers identify issues early on and provide support to help employees reach their goals more effectively.
We’ve rounded up some strategies that’ll help your team reach its full potential. We’re talking feedback, positive vibes, and more, all of which can enhance productivity, collaboration, and an overall improvement in your business’s bottom lines and employees’ career growth.
Make sure employees understand what’s expected of them and have a clear idea of what success looks like.
Don’t wait for an annual review to give feedback. Regular check-ins can help employees stay on track and improve.
Help employees build their skills and stay up-to-date with new trends and technologies.
Foster a work environment where employees feel valued, supported, and happy to come to work.
Show employees that their hard work is noticed and appreciated. You could send them an email or, perhaps, pin them on the proverbial “Employee of the Month” board. You know, whatever floats your boat.
Ensure employees have everything they need to do their job well, whether it’s training, equipment, or software.
Don’t be like “The Wolf of Wall Street,” or someone with a ruthless work ethic that pressures everyone into performing beyond their usual at the expense of their mental health.
Set the tone for your team by modeling the behavior you want to see, whether it’s a positive attitude or a commitment to growth and learning.
Employee performance has a direct impact not only on your business’s bottom line but also on your company culture and efficiency. Hence, it is necessary to prioritize investing in their well-being and work ethics to achieve success collectively.
After all, employee performance is not just about getting the job done; it’s also about creating a happy and productive workplace that could get everyone to experience that elusive work-life balance.
If you want to learn more about improving your employees’ performance and satisfaction levels, just message me so I can help.