With the day-to-day costs of running a business on the increase, the pressure is on to make the most of existing resources. A skilled and motivated workforce can be an organisation’s greatest asset, helping to improve both competitiveness and profitability. For businesses of any size or sector looking to get the best out of their staff, here are a few ideas to get you started.
In this article, Andrew Cooper, Business Link West Midlands, looks at how to boost staff performance
Closing the skills gap
Some businesses may find that the capabilities of their workforce do not match the needs of their business goals and objectives. This causes lower levels of productivity. Closing this skills gap through managed training and development process can give your staff a real and lasting performance boost.
Skills development can be used in a number of ways. You can provide training to enable staff to carry out existing tasks more efficiently. This might involve learning how to use new productivity-increasing equipment or adopting industry best practices.
Alternatively, you might seek training for an individual so that they can take on a different role in your business. This could be a position with increased responsibilities or perhaps an entirely new role that will allow your business to move into new areas of work. The key thing is to ensure that any training you provide responds clearly to your business needs as defined by your business plan.
Motivating your staff
A range of practices are available to improve the motivation of your staff, from flexible working to financial incentives. For example, performance-related bonuses, can encourage higher levels of performance by rewarding the achievement of certain goals, either personal, team or organisational.
On the other hand, encouraging work-life balance through initiatives like flexible working allows employees to feel more in control of their working life, increasing productivity, lower absenteeism and creating a happier, less stressed workforce. Offering your staff flexi-time or the option to work at home will keep them satisfied with their job and more committed to achieving your business goals.
Strong leadership and a sense of direction are hallmarks of almost all successful businesses.
Effective leadership encourages employees to improve the volume and quality of their output by creating a sense of commitment to the team and the company. Having an ‘open door’ policy, for example, will make your staff feel that they can turn to you when they need advice or guidance. Show your employees respect and trust by listening and delegating, not micro-managing and looking over their shoulder.Finally…
Try to monitor changes in productivity by using key performance indicators. These are quantifiable measurements that can be used to check your progress towards your business goals. For example, looking at sales figures, or output numbers will give you an indication of how well your saleforces or production line is doing.
To find out further information on boosting staff performance visit www.businesslink.gov.uk. Businesses can also receive guidance from their local Business Link by calling 0845 600 9 006.