Employee engagement and performance are essential elements of company success. The more effective and dedicated a company’s employees are, the better chance it has of being successful – and earning a profit. Likewise, a company whose employees are not focused, or sufficiently dedicated, is likely to be at a competitive disadvantage. One of the most important things managers do is to get employees to realize their potential, and achieve the company’s objectives. Here are some good tips to think about as you consider how to help your employees be more successful.

Communicate Performance Objectives

No matter how big or small your business is, you should have a clear system for indoctrinating employees. Managers should promptly sit down with each new hire, and counsel them. Ensure they understand the company’s vision, your expectations, and all near, intermediate, and long term objectives. The employees should understand their duties, and what you expect of them. You should determine what the employees’ goals are during this session as well. Keep a written record of the counseling in each employee’s personnel file, and consult it as you do performance counseling every quarter or so. This record will help both you as well as your employees keep track of their work performance, and assist you in providing guidance to them on how to keep improving.

Have Your Employees Evaluate One Another

One of the most innovative ways to help employees improve their performance is to have them evaluate each other. Establish a system of 360-degree feedback, where one employee is evaluated on an established, written system by peers, superiors, and subordinates alike. There is often no better judge of an employee’s performance than a peer who is working on the same team, day after day. Studies have shown that 360-degree feedback can provide clear cues that help employees improve their work performance. The system can also help teams of employees improve their communication and work together more cohesively as well.

Invest in Your Employees

Good managers have an eye for employees who have tremendous potential. They also need to know when to invest in that potential so that it can be realized, and ultimately be used to the company’s advantage. Larger companies (with deeper pockets) may choose to establish a path for advanced civil schooling for select employees, so that they can earn advanced degrees and then apply them in positions of greater responsibility within the company. Other companies may choose to enroll employees in training that helps them do their job (or a different job) more effectively. In some cases, offering the employees access to seminars or conferences can help improve their performance as well.

Empower Your Employees

If you are the type of manager who counsels your employees regularly, institutes 360-degree performance feedback, and invests in their development, your next step is to establish an organizational culture of empowerment. Recent studies have shown that organizations that empower their employees are more productive, and ultimately more profitable. So communicate your objectives clearly, and then leave it to your employees to devise ways to achieve them. Actively encourage candid respectful feedback from your team, and give them the same in return. Ensure that the environment within the company is a positive one; institute an organizational climate survey at least annually to ensure that you don’t have any blind spots, and make any necessary corrections to maintain your positive organizational culture.

The success of the business hinges largely on the performance of its employees. To help them achieve their potential, make sure you empower them to accomplish the company’s objectives, counsel them regularly, and invest in them. Maximize their performance, and help them raise your company’s bottom line.

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William Lipovsky owns the personal finance website First Quarter Finance. His most embarrassing moment was telling a Microsoft executive, "I'll just Google it."

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