Top 5 Ways to Create a Performance-Driven Mindset at Work 

Your employees are the biggest assets to your organisation. Bring out the best in them, and it’ll produce excellent results.

To achieve that, it’s crucial to cultivate a performance-driven mindset at work – a mindset that impacts the values, beliefs, and behaviour of your employees and helps them develop their potential. 

That doesn’t suffice for your yearly performance reviews. In fact, 77% of HR professionals believe that annual reviews do not accurately represent an employee’s work.

Creating a performance-driven mindset is rather a continuous and long-term effort that involves regular check-ins, reviews, and improvements to achieve a shared goal. 

Let’s explore five ways in which you and your team can become more performance-driven and drive better results for your organisation. 

Define clear and measurable goals for your employees

Goal setting is an essential component of achieving success in any workplace. It provides an opportunity for individuals and teams to reflect on their performance and identify areas for improvement.

  • Help your employees set goals that align with the organisation’s objectives and help them in their professional journeys. As a result, your employees will understand how their performance impacts the organisation.
  • Encourage your employees to come up with job-specific goals that they wish to achieve.
  • Help them identify specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals they can realistically achieve. 

How to set SMART goals

Setting SMART goals for employees involves a structured and systematic approach. Here are the steps to follow:

  • Specific: Be clear and specific about the goal. Clearly define what you want to achieve and why it is important. Specify the who, what, when, where, and how.
  • Measurable: Define how progress will be measured. Establish concrete criteria for measuring progress and success. Identify the key performance indicators (KPIs) and set targets.
  • Achievable: Ensure the goal is achievable. Make sure the goal is realistic and attainable within the given timeframe. Assess whether the necessary resources, skills, and support are available to achieve the goal.
  • Relevant: Ensure the goal is relevant to the employee’s role and the company’s objectives. Align the goal with the company’s overall strategy and ensure it contributes to achieving the organisation’s goals.
  • Time-bound: Set a specific timeframe for achieving the goal. Establish a deadline for completion and ensure that the timeline is realistic and achievable.

Examples of SMART goals

  • Increase sales revenue by 10% in the next quarter by reaching out to 50 new potential clients each week.
  • Increase social media engagement by 25% in the next three months by posting at least one new piece of content per day and monitoring social media metrics regularly to identify successful strategies.

Prioritise time management to foster productivity

Monitoring employees is often seen as an intrusive practice, but it doesn’t have to be. It’s all about how you measure the productivity of your employees without being too nosy. 

Working around the clock doesn’t guarantee productivity and high performance, but managing time does. This is where you can help your employees manage their time and schedule effectively at work and make the best of their schedule.

How time-tracking and staff scheduling can be effective

Time tracking is a tool for enhancing productivity and accountability, not a way to micromanage employees. 

AI and automated systems have made this practice even more convenient. Here’s how:

  • Time-tracking apps allow employees to clock in and out or track their time using a smartphone. This can be less intrusive and more efficient than manual methods like timecards or timesheets.
  • AI algorithms can analyse historical data to predict how long tasks will take and adjust schedules accordingly. This can help prevent delays and improve productivity.
  • AI can be used to create optimised employee schedules based on factors like availability, skill set, and workload. For instance, a retail staff scheduling software specifically helps retailers build their employees’ schedules and track time from within a centralised solution.
  • These tools can also analyse employee performance data and provide feedback to improve productivity. This can help employees identify areas for improvement and increase job satisfaction.

Focus on continuous learning and development

Next time you’re bidding adieu to an employee, take a few minutes and think – why do employees leave an organisation? Is it just salary and benefits, or has it something to do with their career development too? 

You’d be surprised to learn only about 29% of employees from a recent survey find the career development opportunities in their organisation as “very satisfying”. This means there’s a tiny possibility the rest 71% might have considered leaving at some point. 

This mindset directly hampers their performance at work, and as a team leader, it’s your job to fix that. 

Ways in which you can provide upskilling opportunities 

  • Identify the skills gaps and training needs of your employees. This can be done through performance reviews, surveys, and feedback from managers and team members.
  • Develop a comprehensive plan that outlines the training programs and opportunities that will be provided to employees. The plan should include specific goals, timelines, and budgets.
  • Provide a range of training options, including in-person training, online courses, webinars, coaching, mentoring, and job shadowing.
  • Encourage employees to participate in training programs by emphasising the benefits and providing incentives. This can include recognition, bonuses, and promotions.
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of training programs by measuring the results. This can be done through assessments, feedback from participants, and tracking improvements in performance.

Celebrate success and learn from failure

Professionally, many of us find it hard to celebrate smaller wins and are comfortable moving on to the next thing. 

As a result, we miss out on the thrill of being recognised for a job well done and never get hold of the extra motivation to outperform ourselves in the next assignment. 

Here’s how celebrating wins (however small they are) at work helps:

  • Boosts confidence and morale of the employee
  • Promotes a sense of teamwork and collaboration
  • Creates a positive work environment
  • Helps track progress towards larger goals

Ways in which you can reward your employees

  • Simply acknowledge their hard work and contribution with verbal recognition
  • Offer non-monetary rewards, such as extra time off, flexible schedules, or the ability to work remotely
  • Offer bonuses, profit sharing, or other monetary rewards
  • Organise company-wide celebrations, such as parties or team outings
  • Offer additional perks, such as gym memberships, free meals, or other incentives that they get to choose

How to deal with setbacks 

Corporate life isn’t a straight path – sometimes, you have to deal with setbacks along the way too. As a manager, this is where you can help your employees get over this phase and move on to the next target.

Here’s how:

  • Help them see the bigger picture – the main objective you’re trying to achieve at work.
  • Help them identify the root cause – is it because they lack some skill, or was it situational? If it’s solvable, provide a solution.
  • Monitor the employee’s progress regularly and provide feedback along the way.
  • Work with the employee to create a plan for progress. 

Create a culture of performance measurement

Feedback fuels performance and engagement in employees—and especially when that feedback is meaningful and thoughtful. Studies show that employees who receive meaningful feedback at work are four times more likely to be engaged than other employees. 

To give meaningful feedback, it’s critical to employ a continuous culture of performance measurement where you track progress on a regular basis instead of annually. Continuous performance measurement helps employees have clear expectations, stay accountable and make data-backed decisions at work. 

Ways in which you can employ performance measurement

  • Keep the evaluation process transparent to employees and welcome opinions, suggestions, and feedback.
  • Set short-term goals and help them break down bigger assignments into small chunks of tasks.
  • Conduct regular review cycles where the team sits together and discusses their progress, wins, failures, and everything altogether.
  • When giving feedback, be specific about what the employee did well or what needs improvement—avoiding giving vague feedback. For example, instead of saying “good job”, say “I really appreciate how you handled that difficult customer complaint. You remained calm and professional throughout the interaction and were able to resolve the issue to the customer’s satisfaction.”
  • Focus on specific behaviours or results rather than the employee’s personality or character. This helps to keep the feedback objective and constructive. For example, instead of saying, “you’re lazy”, say, “I noticed that you’ve been taking longer breaks than usual, and it’s impacting your productivity.”
  • Leverage team management tools such as ClickUp or Asana to manage all their tasks, progresses, and feedback in one place. 

Lead your team to better performance

Creating a performance-driven mindset at work is crucial for achieving individual and organisational success.

Start by setting clear goals and expectations, providing regular feedback and recognition, investing in employee development, promoting a collaborative and supportive environment, and leveraging technology and data to measure and track progress.

Remember not to rush into it – building a performance-driven culture takes time. But the rewards are well worth it in the end. 

Author: Deepali Kishtwal – Freelance writer, Skale

Photo credit: Ketut Subiyanto

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