Employee or contractor

5 Easy Ways to Manage Employee Performance in a Small-to-Medium Business

All businesses want to succeed. Your people are a key contributing factor to how your business performs – manage your team well and you will reap the benefit, fail to manage them effectively and you will feel the impact.

Use these top tips to help you manage your team towards the best result for your business.

1.  Understand the ‘Why’

It is tempting, when focussing on the many responsibilities of an SMB owner or manager, to let the ‘people stuff’ slide… But we have some great reasons to spend some of your very valuable time on managing your team…

Businesses who actively manage employees are more likely to have:

  • Higher productivity levels
  • Lower staff turnover and
  • Actively engaged team members.

Can you afford to be one of the businesses that overlooks their team performance?


2.  Communicate, communicate, communicate! (And also, communicate).

As social beings, our nature is to seek company, seek information and seek feedback. Employees are no different, and basing your performance management approach on a couple of basic areas is this simple!

  • Be clear about your expectations: Provide as much information up front as possible, including performance expectations, non-negotiable behaviours and performance measurements or indicators. Clarify any questions, inform employees of any changes.
  • Check in regularly: Make people your priority, at least once a month! Book in regular catch ups to check in and make sure performance is on track and to provide feedback.
  • Be Available: Formal catch ups once a month are lovely, but not if that’s the only time your employees see you! Keep in touch, ask questions, build relationships. Trust is one of the most important contributors in any relationship, including employment relationships.


3.  Act Promptly

If you sense something is up, or if someone tells you something is not right, act as quickly as possible. Performance issues will escalate and mutate without immediate and effective attention.

Often, performance issues are the result of miscommunication; perhaps the employee doesn’t know they’re under-performing; Perhaps they don’t have the support or information they need to perform well; Perhaps there are other contributing factors. The sooner you start the conversations and start asking the questions, the sooner you’ll get to the bottom of the issue and subsequently, the solution.


Performance management isn’t a score. It’s a frequent, ongoing coaching conversation.

Performance management isn’t a hammer. It’s an opportunity to use all of the tools in the toolbox.

Performance management isn’t managing performance. It’s the leader’s responsibility to help build up and then release the enhanced performance of an employee.

Dan Pontefract (forbes.com.au)


4.  Follow Through

Always check in following any performance discussions. Whilst you might see some improvement following a meeting with an employee, showing them that they have your ongoing support by checking in with them regularly will give them the confidence to keep the performance up.

If problems recur or continue, you may need to formalise your approach. Confirming any discussions or agreements in writing is a good place to start. Keep notes so that you (and the employee) can refer back to any past conversations and ensure that performance is moving in a positive direction.


5.  Remember that there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach

Individuals are exactly that – individual. Take time to understand your employees, listen and play a part in their success. Adapting your communication and your approach could be the key to getting performance in your team up to the absolute highest standard.


If you’d like to chat about the best approach to managing your team, contact us to experience the Seed People Consulting difference.

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