5. Communicate performance expectations. Establishing quantifiable performance expectations directly under the control of the employee allows the employee to monitor how he is doing. Putting it in sports terms, Milligan says, “whether they are ‘winning’ at their work.” These expectations should:

  • Be developed jointly by the supervisor and the employee
  • Define superior performance
  • Be consistent with the vision and goals of the business
  • Be challenging but attainable
  • Be measurable with a timeframe for attainment
  • Specify resources available to the employee.

Milligan suggests the supervisor and employee review performance expectations regularly – typically monthly – at a collaborative meeting where expected and actual performance is discussed and expectations for the following period are established.

6. Provide training. Assuring that people have been trained well to do their jobs is one of your most important responsibilities. “A willingness to invest in employee training not only ensures that employees acquire the skills to better contribute to the business’s labor needs, but also contributes to job satisfaction for the individual,” says Milligan.

Training should not be reserved just for new hires – it should be viewed as an on-going investment throughout an employee’s career, he and Erven suggest.

7. Reward performance. A supervisor may also consider rewarding employees for things like surpassing performance expectations or successfully following safety rules, says Erven. Informal rewards in the form of kudos or positive feedback can be offered randomly, but larger monetary bonuses or incentives may be offered and tied to performance expectations. Share them with employees in advance so they have the opportunity to strive for those rewards, these experts suggest.

8. Have a system to keep employees informed.Communication is often the key ingredient that helps encourage employees strive for success. Erven and Milligan suggest employee handbooks, regular staff meetings and individual discussions with employees are communication tools that supervisors can use to help make procedures, policies and rules acceptable and productive.