5 top tips to keep up your workers' A game

Most new employees turn up on their first day bright eyed and bushy-tailed, ready to impress. They’re probably in their smartest work clothes and might even have brought some sweet treats to wow their new co-workers. But how long do we think this eagerness lasts?


Worryingly, a study by Reed.co.uk, published in January, suggests it’s just six weeks. That’s right, workers start to lose their enthusiasm for their job after less than two months.

With our Cost of Brain Drain study showing that it can take 28 weeks to get workers up to full productivity, there’s seemingly a real danger that companies aren’t ever seeing their employees at full speed.

So, is there a way of managing performance to ensure you get to see more of your workers’ A game? We do have a few pointers that may help…

1) Set clear expectations

When someone new joins your company, make it clear what you expect from them from day one. Outline what their priorities should be, what goals they are working towards and why they are being asked to do certain things.

The clearer people are about what they should be doing, the more likely they are to perform well. It’s also worth checking in with workers regularly to refresh these points.

2) Make them feel valued

Everyone likes to feel like they are doing a good job, so make sure you tell staff members when they do something well. Even if people are performing to a high standard, if they don’t get recognition things might understandably slip.

You don’t have to make a song and dance, but a simple ‘well done’ or an email shout out can go a long way to making people feel appreciated and encourage them to keep up the good work.

3) Create the right working environment

The working environment can have a significant impact on how productive employees are. If they are uncomfortable or surrounded by distractions then it’s unlikely they’ll be on their A game. Make sure offices are well lit, clean and not too hot or cold.

It’s also essential that all staff have the right tools they need to do their job properly, whether that’s a computer with an up-to-date operating system, a Dictaphone or access to a full stationery cupboard.

4) Offer them opportunities

Workers who are stuck in a rut, with no signs of being able to move on are more likely to become disengaged and stop trying their hardest. After all, what’s the point in going above and beyond if you’ve no chance of promotion? Having a clear career structure in place is a good way for people to see how they could progress if they work hard.

Even if you know you’re not going to be able to offer people promotions in the foreseeable future, there are other ways you can help with career development. Offer training so people can learn new skills or set staff challenges which give them the opportunity to show what they can do, whether it’s mentoring another team member or working with a particularly tricky client. 

5) Ensure a good work-life balance

Stressed out, tired workers who feel like they are always in the office are unlikely to be performing at their best. Encouraging staff to have a good work-life balance means they can arrive at work focused, fresh and ready to do their best.

Make it clear to staff that they aren’t expected to work late and that they should take their full lunch break and make sure managers set a good example by doing the same.  Embracing flexible working and letting staff work from home or adjust their hours could have a real positive impact on their attitude towards work.

This article was provided by Unum.

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