Regardless of where you work, chances are that you have big goals and aspirations. Currently, a considerable number of employers have annual or monthly employee evaluation programs in place.
In most cases, such programs are aimed at ascertaining the performance and productivity of employees. In such a scenario, the best performing employees are rewarded and the worst-performing employees punished.
If you have such a program at your workplace, chances are that you want to be the employee of the month/year or would like to improve your performance in order to save your job.
Basically, you may be starting your days in high spirits, but eventually, have nothing to shoe for your time at the end of the day. If you are having such a challenge, there are several things you need to change in order to better your work performance.
As you will learn throughout this article, this process requires you to evaluate your current performance, make the right improvements and keep up with the changes over time.
So, how exactly should you go about improving your performance at work?
Evaluate Your Current Performance at Work
Table of Contents
- 1 Evaluate Your Current Performance at Work
- 1.1 1. Self, colleague and Supervisor Evaluation
- 1.2 2. Make a List of Your Strengths
- 1.3 3. Note Your Weaknesses and Set Realistic Performance Goals
- 1.4 4. Make the Right Improvements/Changes
- 1.5 5. Get Organized
- 1.6 6. Set Deadlines
- 1.7 7. Emphasize on Time Management Skills
- 1.8 8. Become a Team Player
- 1.9 9. Control Interruptions
- 1.10 10. Become and Active Listener
- 2 What Did We Learn?
How are you currently performing at work and why do you think your performances are poor? Answering these questions will help you learn what you can possibly change.
With regards to evaluating your work performance, here are some of the main steps you should take:
1. Self, colleague and Supervisor Evaluation
To begin with, you should carry out an honest self-evaluation evaluation of your overall performance at work. To do this, you need to review all your responsibilities at work and the overall job description.
In this regard, you should try to gauge your performance at each of your responsibilities. By so doing, you will learn the specific areas that you need to work on.
While evaluating yourself, you need to consider such aspects as:
- Are you currently meeting or exceeding the expectations at each of your responsibilities?
- Rule out your strengths and weaknesses at each of your current responsibilities. For instance, you may have excellent report writing skills, but always fail to submit your reports on time.
In most cases, self evaluations are not comprehensive. To get a comprehensive idea of your current performance, you need to seek others’ opinion on your work performance.
For instance, you can ask your colleagues or supervisor what they think of your current performance. In this regard, the following tasks can be very helpful:
- You may ask your colleagues to describe your performance in a few words on a sticky note
- You may create an anonymous survey for them to complete online
- You may also ask them for feedback face to face, if you are comfortable with this.
- Let them point out the areas they think you need to improve on
- Enquire when the next annual/monthly evaluation will be carried out at your workplace form the supervisor.
- Ask the supervisor for an informal feedback on your overall performance or performance at a specific task
- Talk to the supervisor regarding your poor performance review, if you happen to have one; get to know the implications of such a poor review and what you can do to better your performance
- If you already have a poor performance review, focus on the areas you are rating the poorest
2. Make a List of Your Strengths
Based on your self-evaluation and what your colleagues and supervisor regarding your performance, you need to list down your strengths. Getting to know your strengths will help you ascertain the internal resources you already have to support your performance improvements.
In this case, you should:
- Compile a list of the strengths your colleagues and supervisor pointed out
- Highlight the various strengths that were observed by one than one person. For instance, you can have diligence, reliability and dependability as your strengths. If a colleague and your supervisor mentioned reliability as your key strengths, you should highlight it.
3. Note Your Weaknesses and Set Realistic Performance Goals
Once you have listed your strengths, you also need to note the areas that require improvement. Based on your self-evaluation and evaluation by your colleagues and supervisor, you need to rule out the areas or responsibilities you are poor at.
Once you know what you are failing at, you should set performance goals that are aimed at improving your performance at such tasks.
While doing this, these are some of the aspects you need to observe:
- Look for such keywords as strengthen, increase, expand, develop or improve in your colleagues’ evaluations
- Check whether there are recurring themes in those evaluations, such as being a team player or being on time
- Set goals that will help you increase your productivity. For instance, you may set an objective to submit 3 more applications every day.
- Try to break the objectives down to simple, doable tasks/steps. For instance, to submit 3 more applications every day, you will have to file and review each of the applications a little faster.
4. Make the Right Improvements/Changes
Having evaluated yourself properly, you now have an idea of your current performance at work. Again, a good evaluation also helps you ascertain the areas that you need to improve on.
Having listed your strengths and weaknesses, you will now need to implement the right changes/improvements, based on your performance goals.
In this regard, here are some of the changes that can help better your work performance today:
5. Get Organized
You may be performing poorly simply because you are not well organized. In order to improve your performance, you need to be at the right place at the right time and have the right materials or work tools.
In order to be more organized at work, these things will come in handy:
- Use planners, a calendar and have an agenda or any other system that will help you keep track of dates and meetings or other similar aspects of your job.
- Keep your supplies, files and other materials organized using folders, dividers, containers or any other organizational supplies.
6. Set Deadlines
While goals are a great way of improving work performance, they will be of no help without deadlines. Setting deadlines will also help you with time management.
While setting deadlines, here are some of the things you should consider:
- For tasks that have a pre-existing deadline, set your deadline a day before this deadline
- Set check-ins and reminders for your deadlines
- Always set deadlines that are realistic and achievable
7. Emphasize on Time Management Skills
For many employees today, poor work performance is often caused by poor time management. For instance, being repeatedly late to meetings or to work or even being late with deadlines repeatedly can have a negative impact on your performance.
To avoid these, you need to implement the right time management skills, including:
- Always leave yourself enough time to get to your work place
- Use alerts, timers and alarms to keep track of time limits, upcoming events and deadlines
- When planning for your time, leave some room for minor problems and interruptions
8. Become a Team Player
Are you a good team player? If not, you need to make the right changes to make your colleagues feel like they can relate with you and rely on you.
This is the only time they will be willing to help you better your performance at work. Again, you should consider relating with people in different departments at your workplace.
Whenever you are working as a part of a team, you should ensure that you are dependable and cooperative.
9. Control Interruptions
While emails and messages may be an important part of your life, they can also become interruptions. This is particularly the case when you have to check and reply to each and every message and email as it comes.
This will continually interrupt you at work and may lead to a poor work performance in the long run.
In this regard, you should minimize such interruptions by carrying out the following tasks:
- Organize and prioritize your emails and messages
- Schedule specific times for checking emails and messages
- Only respond to the important messages and emails, if you have to
- Whenever possible, get rid of disruptions from your work environment.
10. Become and Active Listener
Do you take time to listen to updates, instructions and directions at your workplace? If not, you need to become an active listener right away. Listening actively will not only better your relationships with your co-workers and superiors, it will also come in handy when you are trying to better your performance.
In this regard, you should start paying attention, processing and understanding what is being said. By listening, you will get all the instructions, hence be in a better position to complete tasks more accurately.
What Did We Learn?
Improving work performance does not necessarily mean waking up at 4 am and leaving your station too late in the night. Actually a little improvement on the things you take for granted can make a big difference.
Basically, improved performance at work is all about the fundamentals; knowing where you are failing, setting clear and realistic goals, planning beforehand, organization and cultivating accountability.
It does not matter how you are currently fairing; with the right changes and improvements, you can easily better your work performance.