Improve employee performance – six common steps

Employee performance is always a hot topic. Especially now when companies need growth more than ever. The sustainable paths from the past, all making companies successful with little effort, are now gone. Competition is now everywhere. What has been a market leader yesterday may be thrown out by the market today. Strategies with people that have given results just two to five years in time need profound transformation to stay updated toward the changes. People, let’s be honest, have become lazy. Everything is now findable at the click of a screen. Google, Bing, Yahoo, and other search engines have most of the answers. There are many websites offering knowledge for free. If people do not need to see the shiny certificate after course completion, most learning courses can be taken comfortably in their own home, without taking them out of their comfort zone. Personality and individuality are now ruling the relationship paths. People show all their sides, and employers have become followers instead of rulers and result drivers. The freedom to work from everywhere, in your way, with your speed, and with your understanding of how results look, has turned the stable world of corporate success into a highly dynamic, “flexible,” and an insecure path toward long-term success, declared by the companies.

Today performance is more seen as an individual willingness to be part of the whole and put a level of effort to ensure more effective plans are achieved.

And to ensure performance is to be taken to new heights, we need to start the steps that can guarantee we will succeed. So I have organized a short list of actions that have helped others and me improve my performance and achieve higher results.

Start talking about goals

The first thing to do is separate goals from tasks. While many of us get many tasks daily, we start to think that the tasks we complete are goals we achieve. There is a slight difference between both. While tasks are repeatable and straightforward steps, goals are complex processes, often involving several steps and including different lists of tasks to be completed. With the completion of the task lists, we achieve goals, but completing repeatable tasks is not a prerequisite for attaining a goal. It is crucial in the process of planning our future results to turn attention to that separation between both and understand the nature of each so that we can turn our thinking from talking to simple and repeatable actions in the form of tasks to moving to more strategic and long term achievements in the form of goals.

Conduct mandatory suggestion meetings

Often we do not feel comfortable being in the light of the projectors. Recently, I was appointed to lead a partial project at our company. The first moment when the sponsor of the project was not present, I decided to skip a team meeting with the explanation that nothing was to be said at that meeting. However, the next week the sponsor of the project returned. We had our meeting and invested twice the time without even involving him in the matter. To change that, we need to act toward the situations and plans we have already established and validated. Comfortability must be taken out of the scale of possible conditions. Change happens when people let stereotypes and comfortability backside and start thinking outside the box and focusing on what new can be added to the existing environment or what can be removed to allow the environment and people to grow. While people are uncomfortable with change, making these meetings “mandatory” will stress the importance of the arrangements.

Challenge your team to think strategically

Many meetings fail their purpose because people replace strategy with operations. To save time and invest it in a meaningful plan, the team should focus during the sessions on thinking about design and long-term vision. Imagine a group of six, seven, and even ten plus people from whom one beats the alarm of an operational challenge that one or two persons can quickly solve. Unfortunately, what happens with others in the meeting is that they sit and lose precious time without adding any value to the organization’s future success. To make the switch with a more efficient process and more significant results in time, the team should learn how to focus on strategic topics and create smaller personal agendas to solve operational problems and challenges while the processes are happening. The more the leader challenges the team to turn to strategic decisions, the greater the impact and the higher the results from work become.

Create teams to solve problems

The modern workplace does not need teams, all structured to bring happiness and a social environment. Those last two are the product of the structure and effectiveness of the group. But what is crucial when creating a team is if the team can solve problems and deal with challenges that arise to ensure the organization’s mission and vision. In light of that, the role of the leader is challenging. At the same time, they have to structure the team and include professionals that cope well with each other while working on a broader plan to help the organization grow and change sustainably. With that in mind, the leader or the leadership team should find those who can solve the problems and invite them to become part of the team.

Consider using technology

Sounds easy, right? According to the post service in UK and USA, the number of written letters sent by the two services has grown with ruffly nineteen percent during 2019-2021. But in a world where instant messaging rules the world, it can sound like a significant inefficiency to try using old technologies and, at the same time, compete with everyone around you. What technology can do, if used correctly, is improve performance significantly. And I do not talk about investing too much time in social media (except if this is not your job). People should realize and accept that technology, used correctly, can save time and help deliver better results with less effort. Technology must be seen as an enabler of higher outcomes. The organizers, calendars, and even the elevator in the workplace are only part of the technologies we use in our daily life. And while technology can steal from our time if not used properly, the proper use of it can boost results with fewer efforts and create a more comfortable and engaging environment

Talk about development paths

Sure, I know this looks obvious. This is because so many people around discuss it often. And at the same time, many organizations, leaders, and employees see development mainly as a vertical move into the organization. This way of thinking is a legacy from the old paradigm of leadership and management, where success has been seen only as a move in the corporate vertical structure. But nowadays, there are so many other opportunities. The flatter the organizations become, the less the vertical options remain. Should this demotivate and disengage employees? Of course, not. But to structure a natural development path, leaders and employees should start talking beyond vertical development and look at the skills and knowledge people want to develop. Understanding those two opens a new world of opportunities and paths that are more skills and expertise driven. With this in mind, development paths become more flexible and people more engaged in learning things and developing skills that not only allow them to grow, but also make them happier.


One of the most challenging jobs for the leader is to improve employee performance so that this can help achieve broader organizational goals. Plenty of opportunities can occur, but finding the right balance between essential enablers like those shared above is the key to success.


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