20 Tips & strategies to improve work performance
For every company, no matter the size or industry, success depends on one ingredient: the people. From the custodial crew who helps keep the workplace clean to the salespeople who bring in new business, every person on the payroll is an integral part of a company’s success. Improving your employees’ work performance isn’t easy, but it pays off: better employee performance equals more efficiency, more leads, and profit.
If you’re wondering how to get the most out of your employees by getting them to work smarter, not harder, here are some tried-and-true strategies to try.
How to improve work performance:
- Avoid distractions
- Stop multitasking
- Be accountable
- Set milestones
- Review personal benchmarks regularly
- Know your limits
- Batch tasks & meetings
- Take time off
- Ask questions
- Simplify complex processes
- Be punctual
- Delegate properly
- Use digital organization tools
- Use physical organization tools
- Identify blind spots
- Be clear
- Sharpen priority identifying and management skills
- Keep learning
20 Tips to improve work performance
Consider printing out this list or sending it around as a memo to your employees—they are helpful reminders for everyone who wants to improve their success at work. You have the tools. Now, use them!
Tip #1: Avoid distractions
It’s pretty common sense that distractions hinder productivity. To keep the creativity, focus, and/or efficiency humming, eliminate possible distractions from your environment and make a concentrated effort to ignore pop-up distractions if a moment arises. Likewise, avoid putting yourself in situations that could be distracting, like going on Twitter. Put the phone out-of-sight and out-of-mind.
Tip #2: Stop multitasking
Just because you’re doing a lot of things at once doesn’t mean you’re doing them well. In fact, it’s probably exactly the opposite, because multitasking is proven to decrease your efficiency. Even though you think you’re moving fast when you multitask, your brain cannot focus on one project at a time, and you end up never actually completing anything. Instead, try to go from start to finish on one task before tackling or even looking at the to-do list for another. Your productivity will likely soar.
Tip #3: Be accountable
For both your actions and the work expected of you. First, simply by accepting your faults—maybe you did actually miscalculate those numbers—you show you have the ability to swallow your ego and be honest for the sake of everyone else. Hold yourself accountable when you mess up, and be reliable when things are asked of you. Simply: Take responsibility for yourself and your role at work.
Tip #4: Read…. A lot
Stay on top of industry news, breakthroughs, and challenges. Dive into your favorite novel on a rainy day. It doesn’t matter what kind of reading you partake in, so long as it is intentional (mindless scrolling on social media is not). According to Entrepreneur.com, reading books actually make you smarter, richer, and healthier—two of those qualities being related to improved work performance, and the other just being a big plus.
Tip #5: Set milestones
You can’t improve if you don’t have any goals to strive towards. Sit down and really think about what you’d like to achieve at work within 1, 2, 5, or even 10 years. Then, work down into smaller increment with goals and milestones in between that are nearer in sight. Give yourself reasons to congratulate yourself and stay the course. When you complete a goal, no matter how small, your confidence and performance level can grow.
Tip #6: Review personal benchmarks regularly
As you set these milestones, remember to take a look at them as they pass and determine whether or not you accomplished what you said you would. Use this as a tool to keep yourself in check and jumpstart a better work ethic if needed.
Tip #7: Know your limits
If you burn yourself out with too much work, nobody wins. Do everyone a favor and know when it’s the right time to say “no” to things—whether that be a networking event on your night off or an extra project you know you can hit out of the park. Sometimes, the best answer is “not right now.”
Tip #8: Batch tasks & meetings
To help you accomplish more, a somewhat popular strategy is to “batch” your work. So, if you have a bunch of data entry to do, block out an appropriate amount of time to complete it, and don’t switch tasks until you’ve completed it. The same method works for meetings so that you aren’t constantly feeling on-the-go throughout the day.
Tip #9: Take time off
NBC says taking a vacation is the best thing you can do for your career, and we tend to agree. When you are able to truly disconnect from work for a short while, when you come back, you will feel re-energized and excited to start work again. The passion you first had for your job just might find its way back after five glorious days of sipping margaritas in Mexico.
Tip #10: Ask questions
What’s that saying, the dumbest question is the one you don’t ask? You’ll never know the answer if you don’t ask, so swallow your shyness and just ask the question. Especially if it’s pertaining to your job duties, it’s best to get the answer now rather than spending too long trying to figure it out on your own—that wastes everyone’s time.
Tip #11: Simplify complex processes
Some things can just be simplified. Whether it’s the meeting structure or the digital promotions you’re trying to launch, it’s always worth looking into solutions for unnecessarily complex processes and systems. In the case of meetings, once things start getting repeated, that’s a good indicator it can end. In the case of digital promotions, Broadly can automate Facebook promos. See, problems solved.
Tip #12: Be punctual
You can’t get your work done if you’re not there. Being chronically late every day is a bad way to start the day. Try working on making it on time to places, and see how your day changes. Hint: Leave way more lead time than you think you need.
Tip #13: Delegate properly
We know you can do it all, but it’s in everyone’s best interest if you focus your talents on the most important duties. The easier duties can be left to the people who are paid to help you—take advantage of collaboration and delegate tasks to the next-best people who can complete them. And, whatever you do, don’t micromanage.
Tip #14: Mentorship
Mentorships are mutually beneficial relationships. The mentee gets to learn old tricks and wise solutions, and the mentor receives interpersonal fulfillment. Plus, sometimes, when you have to be someone’s role model, you often look a little more closely at yourself to ensure you’re upholding your end of the bargain.
Tip #15: Use digital organization tools
There’s a ton of technology out there—before you get overwhelmed, do some research to see which schedule, calendar, communication, and organization apps there are out there. Some, you might find, are perfect for you (there are even savvy ways to collect customer email addresses and get customer reviews). Just remember that digital tools can be your friend if they make sense for you and you take the minimal time needed to learn and implement them into your workflow.
Tip #16: Use physical organization tools
There’s still something to be said for physically writing something down and filing it away in a labeled folder. Don’t hesitate to also use a wall calendar, a paper to-do list, and hanging mail holder to take care of your physical world items. Clearing your cluttered desk, at the very least, will yield a more focused mind at work.
Tip #17: Identify blind spots
Blind spots are those things you do (or don’t do) that you don’t notice, yet others do. In order to identify these, you have to be able to take an honest look at yourself and dissect your actions versus intent. Ask your peers to weigh in, and be willing to take feedback with a constructive attitude if you truly want to improve.
Tip #18: Be clear
Communication is and always will be key. Bad communication can destroy marriages, businesses, and some of the strongest partnerships. When communicating either via email, the phone, or in-person, be cognitive about your choice of words. Could what you said be misconstrued? Did you properly get your point across? Did you ask the question you really wanted to ask? These are all components to being clear.
Tip #19: Sharpen priority identifying & management skills
In order to be able to prioritize well, you have to learn how to identify what is a priority. Ask yourself if you are able to name the top three things that need to be taken care of tomorrow at work. If you don’t, there’s a good chance you’re not so great at prioritizing and thus aren’t very efficient. Try to think of projects in terms of the deadline, planning/pre-work required, cost/profit, and actual time and steps required to complete the project. This will help you understand where to apply a sense of urgency and which to-dos can wait.
Tip #20: Keep learning
Your brain is a muscle, so keep working it and challenging it to become a better version of yourself in and out of the workplace. Learning could be taking a class or picking the brain of a colleague in a different department. It could even be taking up painting. Whatever you choose to do, just make sure you don’t stop exercising the most important muscle of all.
As you can see, there are a lot of strategies to try if you want to improve work performance within your company. The good thing is that productivity can be contagious, and using communication tools like the ones that Broadly offers can greatly increase that productivity. Your business and bank account will thank you.
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