How to talk your way to better employee performance

How’s it going? How’s the family? How’s your workload? Any concerns? Here are a couple things I’d like you to keep an eye on …

The above conversation – questions, answers and all – takes no more than a few minutes. Still, managers find it difficult to fit these short employee checkups into their schedule.

But forgoing these quick chats can open the door for big performance problems. That keeps the employee, department and company from reaching their respective goals.

Here’s how managers can “talk up” employee performance.

Adopt an ongoing performance management process

First off, we’re not talking about performance reviews. We’re talking about what happens, what should happen, in the 365 days between them.

Formal performance evaluations have their place, but they’re just that – a formality. Anything and everything discussed during the review should be no surprise to either party.

According to a 2013 Globoforce survey, 71 percent of employees want immediate feedback. That means addressing issues (or doling out accolades) when bad (or good) things actually happen.

Additionally, an ongoing process puts the focus not only on achieving goals, but also achieving desired workplace behaviors. Those behaviors are the “how” when it comes to meeting objectives.

Go ahead – get personal

As soon as a new hire walks through the door, they should have a good idea of what’s expected of them. Having good job descriptions makes this possible, but don’t just cut your new arrivals loose.

With new employees, it’s always helpful to learn how they like to be managed. No two employees are exactly alike; some will talk your ear off if given the chance, and others prefer sporadic conversations when a need arises.

And always remember the old saying: “People don’t leave jobs, they leave managers.” Figure out how to effectively manage your people as soon as possible. It’ll help keep them engaged in their work, keep them on track to get it done right, and keep them around to do more.

Set and reset performance goals

Every employee needs something to aim for when they walk in the door. That’s why it’s important to set performance goals at the beginning of the year.

A set-it-and-forget-it approach, however, won’t get you the desired results. It’s easy for employees to be gung-ho about their work in January. Without reinforcement, that enthusiasm won’t last.

Improving employee performance means re-examining and readjusting goals. This keeps them realistic and relevant to the company’s overall objectives. After all, success is a moving target. You have to be able to quickly adjust your sights, or you’ll miss it.

Use technology to your advantage

With performance management software, supervisors and employees have the tools they need to set, track and manage goals that serve the company’s overall objectives.

For supervisors, it allows them to document performance-related events throughout the year. Now you have a place to put your notes from all those checkup chats. That leads to more accurate ratings, more effective development plans and (wait for it!) improved performance.

For employees, it gives them a place to keep track of the goals they set at the beginning of the year. Are they on pace to meet them? Are they still aligned with the business’s overall objectives? Have their job duties changed at all, necessitating a revision of their goals?

Discussing employee performance on a regular basis shows that you’re invested in your people and their growth as valued members of your team. Learn how PerformSmart® software helps you build a high-performing staff.

4 responses to “How to talk your way to better employee performance

Insperity Blog

Hi Fran – That is an excellent example of how hands-on interaction with employees by upper management results in a better outcome for the business. Looks like you had the privilege of working with a true leader. Thank you for sharing your experience with us!

Fran Donde

Yes,you are right on target it is the management that has been blaming the workers for their mistakes :not thinking ahead , not resolving issues before they are not fixable and last , be all so important not listening to the employees, having meeting with small groupd at a time to find out the issues that are making their yield low . Not completing their on time delivery . Stop making excuses and fix the problem it’s all common sense , as well as experience . Use the tools (employees) handed to you sent aside , self Esteem problems ” I’m the manager
, director , vp, president CEO , because you can’t see what going on . All the information you’re getting could be all wrong go on the floor and see for yourself , emerge in conversations . I worked in a company where the CEO was taught every process from his father a family owned bussiness that had 99–100 yields great on time delivery because it was done with interacting with the employees. Asking them how “we” can make this company work . It was not a small company “private ” but their production because of this great man was outstanding . He has retired since . Not long the company ,sold , they hired temps and their quality has come down . Here is a proven fact that interacting with employees is essential in creating a great business .

Insperity Blog

Thanks for your comment, Olena. Keep up the hard work!


Yes! The work I can do. It’s the manager I’ve left each time.

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