It’s often said that employees are to a business what cogs and gears are to a machine – good ones keep things running smoothly, while a single bad one can bring things to a screeching halt. No matter the industry, a business can truly only be as successful as its employees. So what are some reasons you might hold on to an employee despite a lackluster performance?
The most common reason is simple – fear of damaging the personal relationship. It’s natural that a friendship develops after spending years working alongside someone. But when that relationship gets in the way of your business’s growth, it may be time to reevaluate. Think about it this way: if a relationship is harmed because you chose to do what was best for the business, then maybe the relationship wasn’t as resilient as you thought it was.
But oftentimes an employer can help to improve the performance of employees simply by improving his or her own management practices. Working on your own performance can give even your best employees needed direction, increase workplace satisfaction, and improve employee motivation.
1. Play to people’s strengths.
Every good supervisor is going to have their own customer experience strategy. One way to ensure that this strategy is effective is by keeping your employees happy and productive. In a 2014 Gallup poll, they found that 40 percent of Americans who felt ignored by their manager were actively disengaged in their work. Now compare that to 22 percent of actively disengaged employees whose managers focused on their weaknesses – active disengagement is cut nearly in half, which proves that negative feedback is better than no feedback at all. And then on the other side, when employees felt that their managers focused on their strengths, active disengagement dropped to a mere one percent.
Supervisors can help their employees develop their talents by putting them in roles that utilize and cater to those strengths. Employees who feel that their strengths are being put to work feel more valued and less stressed physically and emotionally, which enables them to be more productive with their time, and motivates them to engage positively with customers. This management technique of focusing on employee strengths is good for everyone – it boosts employee engagement and morale, customer satisfaction, and, therefore, your bottom line.
2. Make them accountable.
This really only works well if you’ve developed a good system for doing so. It’s not really effective to inform an employee that they’re accountable for something after they’ve already done it. Instead, have a system in place for explaining your expectations specifically. Every team member should have access to it, so they can understand the standard they’re being held to and where their responsibilities lie.
3. Remember the importance of feedback.
An essential aspect of fostering employee engagement and productivity is keeping an open feedback loop. Employees need to know how they’re doing, what they’re doing well, and what needs work. They can’t be expected to improve if they are unaware of the need for improvement. Have the hard conversations early – this will give the employee time to improve, prevent big mistakes down the road, and ensure that they’re not totally shocked when it’s time for quarterly reports. It’s also just as crucial to give credit and praise where it’s due. If someone has worked especially hard or done a stellar job on a project they were a part of, tell them. It’s important to make your employees feel that their hard work is appreciated.
Not only should you be generous with feedback for your employees, but it’s just as essential to be open to constructive criticism on your end. Employees should feel comfortable bringing up any issues or ideas for improvement they might have. This will give you a better feel for how effective your management style is, and whether it’s helping or harming the business.
About the Author: Brooke Cade is a freelance writer who’s committed to helping businesses and sales professionals build stronger connections with their customers. In her spare time, she enjoys learning more about CX platform InMoment.com, reading books/articles on industry news, engaging on Twitter, and exploring her local neighborhood coffee shop.