6 Ways to improve employee performance in 2023

WalkMe Team
By WalkMe Team
Updated December 13, 2023

Did you know that the typical employee is only productive for 60% of the day across all professions? And as we move towards an increasingly digital and fast-paced working environment, managing employees’ performance has become even more daunting.

Did you know that the typical employee is only productive for 60_ of the day across all professions_ (1)

Traditional management methods have lost effectiveness, and organizations struggle to keep up with the hybrid workforce. Digital adoption mistakes often have a detrimental effect on employee performance.

However, there are ways to improve employee experience that can significantly impact overall performance. Companies prioritizing employee wellness and engagement often see increased productivity, better retention rates, and improved morale.

Establishing clear communication channels is one of the first steps in improving employee performance. Poor communication can lead to misunderstandings, delays, and decreased productivity. Providing employees with the right tools, such as DAPs that offer in-app guidance, can help ensure that all staff members understand their roles and expectations accurately.

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Improving employee performance requires more than just implementing simple solutions. It requires an intentional effort and commitment to support employees daily. To achieve this, businesses must establish a culture prioritizing employee well-being, development, and engagement.

In this article, we will go over the six essential tips to improve your employee performance based on internal research we did in 2023. By the end of this article, you’ll understand why employee performance is critical to the success of your organization and how to foster a supportive work environment that benefits everyone.

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If you are short on time, here are the tips:

  1. Invest in employee training and development. Ensure your employees have the skills and knowledge to do their jobs effectively.
  2. Create a positive and supportive work environment. Employees who feel valued and appreciated are likelier to be engaged and productive.
  3. Set clear goals and expectations. Employees must know what’s expected of them to perform at their best.
  4. Provide regular feedback. Let your employees know how they’re doing and offer constructive feedback so they can improve.
  5. Recognize and reward good performance. When employees feel appreciated for their hard work, they’re more likely to continue to perform at a high level.
  6. Provide opportunities for growth and development. Employees who feel they have opportunities to grow and develop are likelier to be engaged and productive.

Keep reading below to learn how to apply the tips effectively. Remember, these tips can help you support your employees and enhance your organization’s performance.

What is employee performance?

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Employees’ performance is determined by how well they carry out their responsibilities and complete their required tasks effectively and efficiently. Their performance also determines their worth to the organization. Employees are a significant investment for any company, so they must provide a substantial return.

Business Insider investigated just how much revenue top tech companies make per employee. A high-performing employee is extremely valuable to a company. In fact, there is no greater asset than top talent.

How to measure employee performance?

How to measure employee performance

Measuring employee performance using various metrics and tools enables organizations to objectively evaluate individual contributions to the company’s bottom line.

It allows companies to establish clear performance objectives, track progress against those objectives, and identify areas for improvement. This information can guide coaching and feedback conversations, align individual goals with organizational strategy, and identify high-potential employees for leadership development opportunities.

Measuring employee performance will differ across roles and departments, but generally, it can be measured by:

  1. Speed and efficiency – How much does the employee accomplish in an average day, month, or quarter? Are there impediments to address or possible resources to consider that could enable higher productivity?
  2. Quality and depth – How “good” is the employee’s work compared to colleagues and other employees in the same role, field, or industry? Does the employee contribute something unique to their position that adds value to the company?
  3. Trust and consistency – Can the employee be depended on to make good decisions and execute their duties on time? Do they need to be managed meticulously, or do they self-manage well? Do they demonstrate the potential to grow within the company, or has their growth plateaued?

The specifics of these metrics will differ depending on the specific job function. All employees (and their supervisors) should be aligned on the goals and expectations that underpin each metric. 

By establishing clear objectives and timelines for achieving them, employees should understand exactly what is expected of them.

How to conduct an effective employee performance review?

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Although the specifics vary, a few great ways exist to create a performance review.

Select the approach that will effectively evaluate the employee and provide useful information for enhancing their performance:

Schedule a one-on-one between the employee and direct supervisor to brainstorm

This is a great tactic for employees that are engaging, like direct feedback, and feel comfortable voicing their own experiences and opinions. It’s also an opportunity to communicate and ensure transparency between the employee and leadership. Here’s a template to fill out and to help guide the meeting:

Use a number scale rating chart 

This option provides concrete metrics that allow for easy comparisons in performance between employees for context. It also can be filled out quickly and easily and, therefore, can be done often. 

A number scale rating chart usually lists performance metrics and then offers boxes to check between 1 to 5. One is the lowest level of performance, and five is the highest. 

Have the employee fill out the same chart as you (or the supervisor) and then compare the ratings to see where there is room for improvement and greater communication.

Have the team fill out anonymous peer reviews on one another

Sometimes a manager can’t see or understand what team members can. This is an opportunity for leadership to gather valuable data on their employees from the perspectives of the people who work with them and have different views. 

A peer review should be anonymous so employees feel safe giving honest feedback and impressions.

How can employee performance be improved?

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As a team leader or employee, evaluating employee performance and identifying areas that need development is crucial.

Both leaders and employees should be aware of their performance status, which enables them to identify areas that need improvement and implement best practices that can enhance the quality and productivity of their work.

Here are six ways to improve employee performance:

1. Investigate underperformance issues

It is imperative to conduct an in-depth analysis of the possible reasons underlying an employee’s suboptimal performance. To avoid being swayed by preconceived notions, embarking on a fact-gathering mission and directly engaging the individual in question is advisable.

One probable cause for the employee’s deficient output could be the unavailability of requisite resources or insufficient training and development during their induction. External factors could also detract the employee from performing optimally, warranting Human Resource intervention. 

Additionally, the employee may lack a clear understanding of the company’s objectives or feel undervalued and unsupported in their current role, leading to decreased productivity.

It’s important to understand the issues to best tackle them and give them a chance for improvement. Trying to cover up problems with “quick-fix” solutions won’t help in the long run.

Bottom Line: Avoid assumptions about underperformance and find out what’s happening.

2. Encourage continual communication

In the quest to enhance employee productivity, clear and efficacious communication assumes a pivotal role. Although receiving negative feedback can be arduous and disconcerting for management and employees, it is critical to cultivate a workplace culture that prioritizes openness and forthright communication.

Setup For Success  6 Ways to Improve Employee Performance In 2023

Expecting employees to change and improve without giving them concrete feedback and specific action points to work on is unrealistic. Also, team members should be encouraged to communicate their perspectives regarding progress, deadlines, expectations, and available resources.

A culture that rewards collaboration and sharing ideas can improve the energy on your team, help you cultivate innovation, and improve performance levels for everyone. Check out this informative video from HR360 on practical tips for implementing successful employee communication: 

Bottom Line: You can lay the foundation for employee performance improvement by clearly conveying feedback and expectations and fostering an open communication environment.

3. Foster a positive work environment

According to Time Doctor, employees that feel happy with their work environments also perform better. This shouldn’t be a surprise. Think about how different you feel when the space around you is clean and tidy, and the people around you are motivating and positive. Encouraging employees to personalize and de-clutter their space can promote a more conducive environment for being productive.

This also means boosting team morale and ensuring positive communication within the team. Ensure employees have planned non-work-related activities and events and that everyone feels valued on their teams.

Bottom Line: Happier employees perform better, so make sure the environment is positive.

4. Training doesn’t end at onboarding

New employees are initially given much attention and direction during their onboarding process. But this should not be the only training that employees receive. Ongoing training is critical to keeping employees engaged and motivated to think and work in new ways. 

Also, retaining so much information is hard when everything is new and overwhelming. Continuous training with contextual learning allows employees to get refreshers and follow-up information in case anything was missed during initial onboarding.

Just as training must continue after the initial onboarding phase, adopting new applications isn’t completed when systems are rolled out to employees. In a survey of over 500 executives

Harvard Business Review Analytics Services found that nearly half of the respondents’ employees struggled with multiple software applications to perform cross-functional business processes.

Bottom Line: Ongoing training allows employees to continue to develop their skills and improve their performances.

5. Utilize data and platforms

Measuring an employee’s performance can be very data-driven in the digital era. Assessing time management, the quality of tasks accomplished, and even the impact of work does not have to be subjective. In fact, by using HR analytics, employees can see an analysis of their performance, and managers can identify areas for improvement. Data takes the guesswork out of these metrics. 

If employees know the specific metrics that will be measured and analyzed, they can better self-manage and monitor their own performance. This empowers employees, which promotes higher levels of motivation and conviction in doing a great job, and gives them practical tools for confidently improving their performance.

For a complete understanding of managing digital employee experiences, productivity, and engagement, look no further than Futurum Research’s “Enterprise Guide to Digital Adoption. “

Bottom Line: Support and guide employees with data so that their performance strengths and weaknesses are concrete and not subjective.

6. Manage performance to encourage growth

Overall, people are more motivated and productive when they feel supported, valued and are set up with the necessary resources to complete their tasks. Managing the performance of employees requires an in-depth understanding of the individuals themselves and the ability to encourage their growth and development.

Setting the tone for a happy workplace also involves cultivating an aesthetically enjoyable environment. Allow employees to give input regarding the design of their workspace. Maybe more light is needed, or perhaps finally updating the old paint to something fresh and bold could add positive vibes to the space. Encourage employees to take ownership of their environment, culture, and physical space.

Management of implementing employee performance improvements should be very concrete and goal-oriented.  Managers should provide employees with a specific vision for success and clear expectations. Employees need tangible benchmarks to strive towards and constructive and actionable feedback, not merely critical.

Bottom Line: Foster growth and development by setting clear expectations, providing resources, creating an aesthetically enjoyable work environment, constructively giving feedback, and encouraging ownership of the culture. 

Happy people are better employees

Both physical, emotional, and practical factors determine employee performance.

Empowering and motivating employees can be achieved by fostering healthy and open communication, setting clear goals, and offering ongoing training, which helps them succeed and grow in their roles.

But that’s not all. Businesses should also foster a positive work environment, utilize data and platforms to assess performance, and manage their employees in a way that encourages growth. When employees feel supported and valued, they are far more likely to enjoy coming into the workplace each day and perform at their highest level of capability.

Happy people are better employees—so make sure your company focuses on employee happiness as much as it is on their productivity.

WalkMe Team
By WalkMe Team
WalkMe pioneered the Digital Adoption Platform (DAP) for organizations to utilize the full potential of their digital assets. Using artificial intelligence, machine learning and contextual guidance, WalkMe adds a dynamic user interface layer to raise the digital literacy of all users.