10 tips to improve staff effectiveness

Within any business there are going to be unavoidable inefficiencies – losing staff to sick days is just an inevitable reality of life – which makes it even more important to ensure that the areas that are controllable are set up to help staff be as effective as possible. With that in mind, here are ten ways to improve staff effectiveness.

Ensure good training at all levels…

As Victor Lipman writes in Forbes, giving staff training at all levels, not just as they reach the higher levels of a company, is prudent, as it is often in the formative stages of their career that staff need training the most.

…And effective project management

Investing in a uniform project management structure that can be tailored to each individual project can pay dividends. Acquiring professional accreditation in the PRINCE2 methodology from Simetral will provide you with the skills you need to master project management.

Clear goals

Break a project down into a series of clear, simple goals; and be specific with each employee. Instead of a generic order for staff to follow, delegated duties give each employee a specific focus, which allows them to be more effective, and means they can easily track their own progress, which boosts motivation.

Demonstrate value

Sharing what is going on in the wider company with employees allows them to see how their own jobs contribute to the bigger picture. Allowing staff to feel part of a company’s success gives them a sense of ownership and the drive to improve results.

Regular feedback

Providing regular, helpful feedback is an essential part of an effective workforce. This infographic from OfficeVibe gives 11 remarkable statistics about the importance of regular feedback – for instance, 4/10 workers are actively disengaged when they get little or no feedback, while 65% of employees say they want more feedback.

Praise them like you should

It can be easy to think that improving staff effectiveness is solely about finding areas they can improve – but equally important is recognition of what an employee has done well. In a 2013 survey of US workers, ‘83% of respondents said recognition for their efforts was more fulfilling than any rewards or gifts’.

Avoid micromanaging

While monitoring progress and providing feedback is important, it is also important to avoid excessive micromanagement. Meeting once a week to provide feedback is beneficial for staff, but if employees feel like someone is breathing down their neck, then it impacts negatively on their motivation and their performance.

Communication that goes both ways

While clear, open communication to staff is a vital part of an effective workforce, it is equally important that employees feel they have a voice. Regular feedback surveys show staff that their satisfaction is important to the company.

Stress prevention

Estimates place the annual price tag of workplace stress in the United States at somewhere between $200 and $300 billion, so it makes sense that companies are building stress prevention into the structure of their workday. Punctuating the day with breaks for relaxation, ensuring task schedules are realistic and allowing flexibility in work schedules are all ways to prevent employee stress.

Avoid monotony

Prevent the boredom or complacency that can come from constantly repeating the same tasks by strategically rotating people in different jobs, while still factoring in their capability and expertise.

See also: 5 lessons I learned building my four successful start-up businesses

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel was the editor of SmallBusiness.co.uk from 2010 to 2018. He specialises in writing for start-up and scale-up companies in the areas of finance, marketing and HR.

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