While there are many variables that determine the success or failure of a business, it is generally acknowledged that having a talented and motivated workforce is one of the most important factors.

The following information is intended to highlight several key actions that a company can take in order to get the most production and performance out of their employees.

Recognize the Important Role That People Play

First and foremost, management must recognize that employees play an important role in determining the success of their company. Think of it like this, most companies have a building with equipment and raw materials, but nothing happens until the first employee walks through the door. How employees work together, execute their duties, and share their ideas and innovations will help to determine the company’s future success. Though it might sound a bit cliché, “people truly are a company’s most valuable asset.”

Encourage Ideas and Listen

People represent one of the company’s largest investments, and should be managed in such a way as to produce the best possible return on that investment. To accomplish this, companies need more from employees than just completing their daily work requirements. Management must encourage employees to contribute ideas and suggestions for improvements, helping to increase productivity and performance.

Taking the time to listen to employees, and to each other, is a simple concept that can generate huge returns, and is essential for creating a high-performing organization.

Set High Expectations and Hold People Accountable

Like any organization or team, it is important that everyone understands their roles and what is expected of them. To perform at a high level, expectations should be both challenging and achievable. If this is not done correctly, people are likely to set their own expectations and underperform.

Once all of the team members are clear as to what their expectations are, management needs to ensure that employees have the proper tools and training to be successful. Employees that are struggling to achieve their daily goals should be considered for reassignment to other positions, where their talents and abilities will enable them to contribute. As a last resort, though difficult, individuals not capable of executing their responsibilities should be released by the company, as not to jeopardize the welfare of the greater group.

Reward Performance

For many companies, wage increases and other financial rewards are equally distributed to all employees, regardless of individual performance. This widespread practice can often have a deflating effect on high performers and, at the same time, reinforce the company’s acceptance of marginal performers. Unfortunately, left unaddressed, the result of this uniform approach to compensation can promote mediocrity.

Alternatively, basing at least some portion of an employee’s annual increase on individual or company performance can serve to reinforce that performance matters, and that good performance is recognized and rewarded. This approach also provides employees with a reason or rationale to give their best efforts, understanding that their performance relates directly to their financial rewards. Too often, the concept of pay and performance are disconnected.

Lastly, at a time when talented labor is increasingly hard to secure, providing high-performing employees with some additional motivation and recognition can prove to be very helpful in retaining their services; thereby, helping the company to avoid costly recruitment and retraining expense.

Train Supervisors and Managers

For most employees, the company and its culture are defined by their daily interactions with their immediate supervisor. Given that the success of most every company is largely determined by the productivity and initiative of their employees, the supervisor’s day-to-day relationship with their employees is extremely important.

In fact, research shows that an employee’s daily interactions have a significant impact on retention rates, teamwork, quality, and other key performance measures. It also shows that even a few supervisors with poor interpersonal skills can be the key cause for grievances, litigations, and other costly disruptions.

Accordingly, companies should ensure that their supervisors are properly trained to understand how their daily behaviors can have a significant impact on employees and on group performance. Given the critical nature of these positions, we are often surprised by how little investment companies dedicate to supervisory training, and we attribute many of their labor relations problems to deficiencies in this area.

Our Labor Relations Consultants Can Help

For more than 30 years, our team of labor relations consultants has had the privilege of working with many of the world’s best companies, helping them design and develop highly effective organizations, along with innovative merit-based compensation and reward programs. For a complete list of our clients and services, please visit our page at www.hutchgrp.com.