Performance Appraisal

5 Ways to Improve Performance for Small Teams

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There’s no substitute for great performance. In all industries, from manufacturing to professional services, that businesses that lead ahead of the pack tend to be the ones that emphasize and aim for great performance.

There are several aspects of achieving great performance. Great performance can be achieved on an individual level by one person, by a team of talented people, or by an entire business made up of many small and large teams.

Today, we’ll focus on the second type of performance: team performance. Read on to discover five ways that you can improve the performance of your small team using a selection of human resources management tactics.

1. Make integrating into the team part of your performance appraisals. 

Many people thrive independently but struggle to work as part of a team. This can result in great performance on individual projects but slow, inconsistent results in an environment where communication and teamwork is important.

Instead of focusing solely on individual productivity, make integrating into the team a major priority of your management. It’s not just skills that matter, but also being a good team player and someone that others can depend on.

2. Don’t just focus on team members – focus on the team’s leadership. 

Even a team of top-performers will struggle to achieve its goals without an excellent leader. Does your team have a leader that sets the right goals and keeps members of the team motivated?

Effective leadership means understanding each team member’s role and priorities, then ensuring all team members can work effectively together. It’s important to be just as attentive about leadership as the individual performance of each person.

3. Set goals that can be achieved on an individual and team level. 

Does your team have goals that can be achieved both individually and collectively as a team? The best goals are ones that can be achieved as a team, as well as being able to be broken down into small goals that can be achieved by individuals.

Create major goals, then break them down into sub-goals for individuals or smaller groups to focus on. This gives your team a major goal to work towards, but one that isn’t so large it seems impossible to achieve.

4. Make sure communication between team members is a priority. 

Communication is the key to effective teamwork. When people with different skills can communicate with each other clearly and openly, problems that can otherwise hold progress back are quickly avoided or overcome.

Is your team designed for open, simple communication? Create an environment in which communication is encouraged and you’ll make your entire team much more focused, effective and productive.

5. Keep morale as high as possible by celebrating every achievement. 

It’s important to stay focused on achieving your team’s goals. It’s also important to occasionally step back and view the progress you’ve made in order to keep morale high and team members energized.

When your team achieves a major goal, take a moment to celebrate. Achieving large goals not only helps your team move towards its objective – it also strengthens the ability of each team member to work effectively with their peers.

4 Performance Appraisal Mistakes That Can Hold Your Business Back

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Do you know how well each of your staff members is performing? Reviewing your employees’ performance through appraisals (also called performance reviews) is a great way to keep track of the people responsible for your business’s success. When done right, performance appraisals let you gain a deeper understanding of each employee’s role in your business, the specific challenges they face, and their work abilities.

When done wrong, however, performance appraisals can give your key decision makers little useful information on how employees are performing and result in employees feeling as if they aren’t being graded fairly or truly appreciated.

Worse yet, when completed ignored, a lack of performance appraisals can result in your business losing track of how each employee contributes to its overall success.

Would you like to make your business’s performance appraisals more effective in achieving your objectives? Read on to discover four common mistakes that may be holding your performance appraisal process back.

1. Not sharing important information with employees. 

It’s essential that you provide important information to employees as part of your performance appraisal process. The reason is simple: employees need to know the way that they’re perceived and viewed in order to work their best.

Many managers make the mistake of leaving suggestions and improvement ideas out of their performance appraisal process, often to avoid offending an employee through sharing ways in which their performance could improve.

Instead of only sharing positive feedback with employees, be open about areas in which employees can improve. This prevents employees from receiving an overly positive assessment that doesn’t always match their objective work reality.

2. Not providing actionable feedback and suggestions. 

Does your performance appraisal process give employees actionable feedback that can be used to improve their performance, or does it simply offer vague suggestions that are hard to implement?

Many performance review processes are built around vague metrics of success and failure that can’t be tied to actionable improvements. As such, employees only gain an understanding of how well they’re currently doing – not how they can improve.

Instead of simply reviewing an employee’s performance in broad terms, make sure you provide actionable, effective feedback and suggestions that employees can use to improve their workplace performance and generate better results.

3. Assessing performance based only on recent events. 

One common performance appraisal mistake is letting recent events – for example, a missed sales opportunity or a mistake at work – create an overly negative picture of an otherwise talented, effective and productive employee.

It’s also possible to let recent events – for example, a closed deal or a recent success at work – create an overly positive picture of an employee that, recent events aside, may not be achieving at their very best.

Instead of only looking at recent events to form an opinion of an employee’s work performance, look at both recent and past events so that you gain a full picture of how an employee carries out their role within your business.

4. Not providing praise when employees perform well. 

It’s important to point out an employee’s mistakes and provide actionable feedback for improvement. It’s equally important to praise employees when they perform at a level that exceeds your expectations.

Providing praise when employees do well is an essential part of building confidence and encouraging people to do their best. Positive feedback, when it’s deserved, can strengthen your relationship with employees and improve workplace productivity.

Many people wrongly associate performance reviews with negativity – ways that an employee can improve, for example. Focus on positivity in your performance review process and you’ll raise employee morale and create a better work environment.