5 ways good HR improves performance

How best to motivate your workforce and get the best from people? It’s an age-old question, and there’s no quick and easy answer. In our experience, however, it inevitably comes down to job satisfaction – in whatever form this may take…

Job performance and job satisfaction are joined at the hip; an unhappy workforce will never give its best. It can also result in high staff turnover and make it difficult to retain talent. This in turn impacts negatively on productivity and profits. Here are five essential HR tips to improve and maintain performance.

  1. Be seen. Managers who lock themselves away from view can be perceived as distant and aloof. Whenever possible, make yourself available and speak to people. Talk to them about the business and how it’s performing. Ask people how they are and let them know that you’re always available should they have a problem or any ideas for improving the business.
  2. Listen. Hone your listening skills. The best managers are always good listeners. Promote a culture of honest communication. Invite people to share their views. Be patient and always hear a person out before making a decision. Never jump to conclusions. When responding, be yourself. Tell people clearly and unemotionally what you think, and why, and avoid sounding patronising.
  3. Empower. The ability to delegate effectively is the mark of a good manager. As well as freeing your time to focus on other things, it lets people know that you trust them to operate unsupervised. People respond well to a challenge, but this means resisting the temptation to micromanage from a distance. Vitally, it also means giving someone the freedom to fail: in the event that things don’t work out as planned, approach it as a learning opportunity rather than an occasion to apportion blame.
  4. Incentivise. Pay and benefits will always be important, but there are other factors to take into account when seeking to motivate. Give praise where it’s due – some managers hold back when acknowledging good work, in the belief that it will promote complacency, but this need not be the case. Wherever possible, ensure there is a clear progression path within the organisation for those who seek it, and, just as importantly, communicate this to your staff. Likewise, think about any factors that may serve to de-incentivise people, such as difficult working conditions, lack of recognition, poor line management or bullying.
  5. Develop. If you don’t have a performance management programme in place already, consider introducing one. This enables you to set realistic and measurable performance targets. Combined with regular staff appraisals, this can be a strong motivational tool, as it enables people to have a clear idea of how they are performing, as well as allowing them to address any performance issues before they become a problem. This also means that you set aside a budget for training. It should always be remembered that when carried out correctly training is an investment, and never a cost.