The factors affecting employee performance in the workplace are abundant. We know that giving employees proper training, tools, and technical knowledge will help increase their output. But what about benefits, salaries, communication, or culture? Before long, it can feel like you’ve got ten plates spinning in the air all at once trying to inspire productivity across all areas of your company.
To simplify your efforts, we’ve identified three specific drivers of employee engagement that deserve immediate attention: culture, communication, and leadership. While these elements take time to develop fully, they’ve proven to have a significant impact on employee engagement. Plan to make small improvements in these areas over time—and to invest some immediate attention into the one bonus factor which has the power to transform your business immediately.
By leveraging long-term changes along with employee rewards, recognition, and incentives, you’ll be able to heighten employee performance for now and for the future.
Factors Affecting Employee Performance in the Workplace
We’ve all assumed that the physical office environment has a tangible impact on employee performance. In fact, numerous studies have been conducted to track the effects of mixed seating arrangements and thermal conditioning on productivity. However, the social and cultural environment has an even bigger impact on your employees and their ability to innovate, take risks, and go above and beyond in their roles.
If your company struggles with maintaining a healthy work-life balance, this is the first cultural construct that needs to change. Even if you maintain a “no overtime” policy, you need to make sure your departments are structured in a way that prevents daily exhaustion and enables higher performance. According to research from Cornerstone OnDemand, 68% of full-time employees suffer from work overload. 61% believe this causes the most harm to their productivity.
Corporate culture is built by setting new expectations and following through with new behaviors.
If your organization needs to make a change, your work begins with the very first contact with a potential new hire. Consider, for instance, the shift from a stress-driven culture to one that’s focused on innovation. This example comes directly from research from the University of Kansas, who identified these elements as key influences on innovation in the corporate environment:
Job requirements emphasize the willingness to “be flexible” and work nights, weekends, or overtime hours as needed.
Job requirements emphasize an innovative mindset and prioritize creative problem solving over availability.
Managers see tight deadlines and heavy workloads as necessary evils, because “we’ve always done it this way.”
Managers reward employees who discover new ways to save time and maximize efficiency throughout the workday.
|Employees gain respect by appearing exhausted and putting in long hours toward impossible stretch goals.
Employees gain a positive reputation by challenging the status quo, and by setting and achieving reachable goals.
As counter-intuitive as it sounds, if you want increased productivity, you should build valuable slack into the system of your organization. You’ll be surprised how your employees rise to new levels of performance within a more empowering culture.
Clear, frequent, and open communication is one element of organizational culture that deserves its own discussion. We build corporate culture through active communication—as CEOs, managers, and employees—and that culture spreads (or dies) depending on how successful our communication skills are.
If your company is struggling with employee performance, you should immediately evaluate the effectiveness of your communication. According to research from the Society for Human Resource Management, the average company loses $62.4 million per year due to inadequate communication with employees.
While all of us could stand to improve our communication skills on an individual level, this systemic problem needs to be addressed in policy, procedure, and practice on a company-wide scale.
Here’s what that could look like within your organization:
- Job descriptions are regularly audited to align with the actual and reasonable daily responsibilities of employees in each role. They emphasize the key cultural beliefs of your team and attract candidates who are a good fit for your organization.
- Clear priorities for each position in your company have been identified and communicated to your employees. Their progress on each of these priorities is actively tracked and documented.
- Communication tools have been streamlined and optimized. Conversations relating to tasks, projects, and major decisions are easy to locate and intuitive to participate in. Employees communicate with each other constantly, both online and in person.
Leadership is the fuel, the driving force, and the lifeblood of your organization. All too often, a good boss makes the difference between a valuable long-term employee and a 6-month transient worker.
You and your managers have the power to motivate employees to incredible heights and develop a deep sense of loyalty. Alternatively, you can force them to look elsewhere for a balanced and fulfilling career. The choice is obvious. By developing positive leadership, you have the potential to save your company thousands of dollars per employee in turnover costs.
Still, good leadership isn’t just about retention.
According to Gallup, global economic productivity has been in a state of serious decline over the past three decades—a situation which they attribute primarily to a failure on behalf of corporate leaders to adapt.
Maximizing human potential looks quite different today than it did thirty, twenty, or even ten years ago. Today’s corporate workforce needs leaders who can provide meaningful benefits. Those strategic rewards eradicate low motivation and lead to higher engagement.
The same research claims only 15% of employees are actively engaged in their work on average. What if, through strong, inspiring, and in-tune leadership, that number could increase to 85%? Gallup’s results prove a strong connection between increased engagement and the following outcomes:
- Higher productivity
- Higher customer ratings
- Higher quality product/service
- Higher profitability
- Lower rate of turnover
- Fewer safety incidents
- Fewer incidences of theft
- Lower absenteeism
Recognition: The Factor You Can Act On Today
Unfortunately, all of these factors require a pretty significant time investment. It takes months (or years) to make a major cultural shift, replicate new communication practices through your company, and develop a leadership team that’s trained to be agile and adaptive. Those changes are worth your investment—but they’re not exactly actionable.
Employee recognition is the one motivating factor that you can act on immediately.
First, establish a practice of offering recognition and positive feedback to your direct reports on a weekly basis. Encourage your management staff to do the same for each of their employees. Start paying close attention, and back up your observations with verbal or written recognition.
Then, follow through by establishing a powerful employee rewards program. By offering meaningful incentives, you’ll inspire your employees to seek recognition and earn even higher achievements. More than money, points, or a trip far in the future, they’ll get instant bragging rights and a constant drive to perform in the present.
Employee recognition is one of the greatest missed opportunities in the business world today. Only one in three surveyed employees report that they received recognition in the past week. The other two say they’re twice as likely to leave their jobs within the next year.
Get on board with employee recognition and get ready to reap the rewards.
Organizational culture, communication, and leadership are all important influences on engagement. However, employee recognition is the secret sauce nobody’s talking about when it comes to wide-reaching factors affecting employee performance in the workplace.
If you’re looking for a partner to help increase your employee recognition and impact engagement at all levels in your company, look to Inproma. We create employee recognition programs that are proven to increase employee engagement and motivation across a wide variety of industries. More importantly, our programs are entirely unique—in our industry, and to your company.
Unlike our competitors, we offer programs that reward employees at all levels of success within your company. Everyone gets rewarded for meeting and exceeding their goals—not just your top 5% of achievers. Those employees are already engaged in their jobs and are likely performing at a high level on their own. We’re here to help you bring the rest of your company up to the highest level of potential.
Interested in exploring our custom employee incentive programs? We’d love to help your company improve employee performance quickly and efficiently. Let’s talk.