Although seemingly obvious, every organization wants to have top-performing teams that can work as efficiently and effectively as humanly possible. Having a workforce of strong performers who are highly motivated can make an enormous difference in productivity and profitability.
The problem is that many organizations struggle with their performance management. This leaves their workers unable to meet their true potential on the job—creating frustration and lost opportunities at all levels of the organization.
Thankfully, there are many performance management tools that organizations can use to bolster employee engagement, innovation, and productivity. Things like quarterly assessments, performance improvement plans, and KPI tracking are all common tools for managing employee performance. But they aren’t the only ones.
There are some things that organizations can use to help improve or manage employee performance that are less commonly thought of. Some examples of these unusual performance management tools that your organization may be missing include:
Employee Engagement Assessments
Employee engagement is a basic driving force behind productivity. Research from organizations such as Gallup highlights that “units in the top one-fourth of engagement scores were 17% more productive and 21% more profitable than those in the bottom one-fourth.”
Before addressing employee engagement as a means of boosting productivity, it’s important to know just how engaged the members of your workforce are. This is where employee engagement assessments are important.
Anonymous surveys of engagement in your workforce can help you discover not only the overall engagement level of your organization’s workers, they can reveal the base causes of disengagement and lost productivity. This gives you the opportunity to fix the underlying causes of disengagement—which can make employee engagement assessments an effective, if indirect, tool for managing employee performance.
Productivity Style Assessments
Carson Tate, a professional consultant and author of Work Simply: Embracing the Power of Your Personal Productivity Style, has a system for maximizing personal productivity by sorting employees into one of four different archetypes. In an article for Big Think, Tate calls these employee archetypes “Personal Productivity Styles.”
The four Personal Productivity Styles that Tate identifies are the Prioritizer, the Planner, the Arranger, and the Visualizer:
- The Prioritizer—This worker “will always defer to logical, analytical, fact-based, critical, and realistic thinking” according to Tate. Tends to obsess with execution rather than planning out how goals will be met. Can be terse in communication and their “emails often are only a few sentences or if possible, just a few letters.
- The Planner—This worker “thrives on organized, sequential, planned, and detailed thinking.” Planners may share some similarities with prioritizers in that they want to meet goals, but are more focused on the how—and may become mired in trying to follow a pre-established plan rather than adapting to changing circumstances.
- The Arranger—This worker “prefers supportive, expressive, and emotional thinking” according to Tate. Arrangers often help facilitate the success of others through communication—but can become distracted by interpersonal communication because they can be “talkers” who spend too much time on chitchat at work.
- The Visualizer—This worker is a big-picture thinker who “prefers holistic, intuitive, integrating, and synthesizing thinking” that “thrives under pressure and is easily bored if he is not juggling multiple, diverse projects.” Visualizers might skimp on the details of their work to focus more on the potential of an idea or process—and may even derail project plans and timetables based to explore that potential.
Identifying the “productivity styles” of individual employees allows leaders to put each worker in a position that will let them make the most of their work day and minimize the impacts of distractions.
For example, putting arrangers in roles where they can help organize and coordinate the efforts of others (such as organizing meetings) may be the best use of their talents and abilities. Meanwhile, prioritizers may be best suited to knocking out tasks set up with the help of planners. The planners can tackle the “how” while the prioritizers focus on the execution of the strategy.
Having a means of assessing which of these productivity styles each of your employees falls into is critical for leveraging their unique strengths.
Meaningful Organization Mission/Vision Statement
Employees often rally around causes. This is especially true of Millennials. As Jon Iwata, Senior VP of Marketing and Communications at IBM, says in a Big Think article, “The purpose of their work matters greatly to them. They don’t want to differentiate what they do in their personal life from what they do in their professional life. It matters to them.”
Matching employee efforts to some kind of overall mission or vision statement that employees can care about can do wonders for their sense of engagement and urgency. And, keep in mind that meaningful mission statements will be more than just “to drive value for the shareholders” – this kind of goal doesn’t exactly inspire Millennials. Instead, connect the organization’s mission statement or vision to impacts to the community to truly inspire engagement and productivity.
By giving employees a mission statement or vision that they can believe in, you can improve their morale and sense of purpose so they’re more likely to be dedicated and productive.
Employee Learning and Development Courses
Many employees are looking for opportunities to grow and change jobs—particularly those who fall into the “Visualizer” productivity style. These workers are always looking for new challenges and may become bored and disengaged if they feel their careers are stagnating.
Providing opportunities for employees to learn or develop their careers can be an effective, if not also oblique, way to improve their productivity. As employees pick up new skills, they can increase their effectiveness in their current role or gain some internal mobility to try out new work.
As HRAskme.com President Martin Birt points out in an article for the Financial Post, offering job-hopping opportunities can let employees “have a wide range of experiences and develop expertise without having to re-build their reputation or networks and without risking losing gains made in compensation and benefits.” In other words, giving employees some internal mobility can let them satisfy their wanderlust and remain engaged and invested with your organization.
Employee learning and development courses are critical for enabling employees to take advantage of internal mobility options.
Other courses can even help employees master specific personal productivity skills so they can make more effective use of their time at work. For example, Carson Tate has a specific lesson about how employees can manage distractions at work to improve their productivity.
This and other online personal productivity learning resources can help employees be more mindful of their time at work and more productive for your organization.