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Ways to improve individual performance

17 September 2015 06:30 pm - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Last week, we discussed how to alleviate poor performance so as to have a competitive advantage in the industry. When factors resulting in poor performance are deeply analysed, it can be clearly observed that some factors are personal and ought to be addressed with different approaches, which are basically focused on individual weaknesses and strengths. Furthermore, the reasons the employees have to poorly perform might be different from person to person. That is why the emphasis has to be given to find the ways to improve individual performance. On the other hand, it is once the individuals perform well that the organisational performance also tends to be positive.

By today, the labour cost is a huge problem for some business organisations which are struggling to keep the labour cost low and increase profitability. It is needless to mention that high-performing employees will make customers satisfied. Hence, the decision should be to improve the individual performance of the existing workforce rather than recruiting new employees. It remains easy to see trainers using various and numerous tools so that individual performance will be significantly improved. The GROW model that was developed by Graham Alexander and John Whitmore, is one of the most practical models being used for improving performance.


Goal
Goal means an objective or a target expected to be achieved within a specific time frame. Goals that employees have and the organisation has should go parallel, so that they will not clash with each other. Moreover, if the employees can attain their personal goals by pursuing organisational goals, no other motivational tools are required to encourage them to perform well. A mutually set vision is a must in this respect. Even if it is common for any organisation to have goals, which have to be realized by a collective effort, the role that every employee should play in that regard might not be clearly articulated and communicated to the respective employee.

It is under these circumstances that employees, especially those at the bottom of the hierarchy, are at a loss to get an idea of what their share is. This cannot be prevented from leading to poor performance. Consequently, it is up to the senior managers to divide the main goal into different parts suitable for each and every employee based on their knowledge and skills. Then, their work share should be compared with performance. What is more important is to have personal conversations with the employees so as to ascertain their goals and the actual level of performance. Understanding where an employee wants to be in the coming year is not sufficient at all. There must be a clearly defined path to reach out the goal.


Reality
There is always a gap between where the employee wants to be and where the employee is now. This gap can be bridged by performance. In this effort to increase the performance, the bottom line of the current performance level of the employee should be looked into. Even though it can be done in various perspectives, the employee might feel it quite differently and have some reasons to explain why. It could be due to the lack of skills, opportunities and demotivation and so forth.

Subsequently, you, as a coach, look at his performance and might have some criticisms as well as appreciations. There might be misunderstanding or miscommunication, which actually misled you to think negatively. Therefore, ideas in both perspectives have to be taken into account in this process of identifying the current performance level and, if need be, some remedies to the poor performance as well. It is at this stage that you are provided with a chance to not only differentiate performance weaknesses but also commend on high level of performance.


Options
Options refer to the methods that can be followed to move from reality to the goal. Options to improve individual performance might vary from person to person and should be followed, having carefully considered all the factors, which have an impact on performance. As an alternative is not fitting for all, the trainer should be responsible for choosing the best option for the employee. What should not be forgotten is that the gap that each and every employee should bridge is not equal. In other words, the point from which one should go to the next is different.

Some of the alternatives available in this journey towards the goal can be training workshops, more coaching, scholarships to educational programmes, job rotation and mentoring and so forth. When employees are selected for training sessions, the current knowledge and skills level, which actually resulted in the current performance, must be taken into consideration. The extent to which the employees should be trained at this training workshop for efficiently contributing to the goal ought to be planned by the trainer with personal approaches.  For an instance, the training required for a sales team is different from the training needed for a finance team. Furthermore, the training required for a person in the same team is different from the training needed for a person in that team. This clearly depicts that the right option for the individual is a must and will deliver better outcomes the customers seek.


Way forward
Having considered the options that remain suitable for employees, strategies that seem to be practical options must be put into action. Here, managers should draft some deadlines and timelines attainable in the given business environment. It is up to the managers to plan and communicate expectations that they expect from the employees, after alternatives are put into practice. As it is easier said than done, practical issues might come up in the process. Resources which ought to be allocated for developing employees have to be provided with.

The progress achieved in these programmes must be measured. It is your duty to prove that the training programme that consumed organisation-owned resources will produce employees that perform for realizing goals. Once all these steps are accomplished, the particular employee will be ready to be in action.

The employee is the most important organ of an organisation. This model provides us with practical steps that can be used to enhance individual performance.
(Amila Muthukutti holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from the University of Colombo and can be reached at amilasmiles@gmail.com)
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