Our Thoughts

24 Tips to Increase Performance

Aug 1, 2019

HireLevel is twenty-four years old, and we are celebrating by sharing some of the tips & truths we have garnered over the years for increasing company performance.Social-HireLevels-proudest-moments 24 Tips to Increase Performance

Truth #1: You can’t run any business without people. (Even robots & self-check outs need people to maintain them.)

You can’t increase company performance if you don’t put your people first.  This is the secret sauce for everything. This is the motto you need to follow to build a strong foundation, and what you need to fall back on when things seem to go array.

Which brings me to my 1st tip:  “How are you doing?” goes a long way.

Know your employees. Like really know them. Of course you want to know their skills, personality style, desired career paths, but also don’t take for granted a simple “How are you doing?” Sure this gets harder the bigger your team gets, but this simple action can go a long way.

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Truth #2: You’ve got to stand for something because people want to work for a purpose/cause.

Define and communicate your core values as a company and as an employer. Work by these values, hire by these values, keep these values at the core of every decision made.

2nd Tip: Be consistent and aligned with your core values.

Audit your policies, programs, benefits, pay, department structure, goals, communication styles, etc against your values. Is there a gap? Begin a plan for re-alignment.  This also makes it easier for you to recruit the right people the first time around.

Truth #3:  What comes easy won’t last long; what lasts long won’t come easy.

This is that old saying reminding us to not get ahead of ourselves and other cliches, like everything happens for a reason.” But honestly, good things take work. You can’t build a house overnight, much less an empire, not one with a good foundation at least.

3rd Tip:Recruit like a match maker, and recruit slow.

Take your time when you’re adding to your team. Even if you’re in a bind and “need someone STAT.” Making a permanent hire whom you intend to not have to replace for awhile will take time. If you truly need someone asap, hire a temporary with experience, this will ensure you don’t miss a beat in your day-to-day (whether you need to fill a spot on your assembly line or you need to cover your phones), and will buy you time to hire someone who is the right fit for your company culture/dynamic.

Truth #4: You get what you pay for.

It’s always true. Whether you’re getting a tattoo, a new haircut, or a new employee. It’s a candidates’ market and people have minimums. They want to know you are willing to invest in them from day 1 to day 365.

4th Tip: Sell yourself first.

Know what you have to offer, talk about it during the hiring process, and lay out your vision for your new hire. If you don’t show you are dedicated to investing in them, they are not going to commit to your opportunity. If what you have to offer is not competitive, you must be willing to make some sacrifices during the hiring process. Perhaps, you really need a highly experienced employee but your pay is more entry level. You better know how you are going to make up the difference if you won’t settle for entry level skills.

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Truth #5:  Not everyone is the right fit. It’s OK.

You are bound to make a bad hire from time to time. You can control the impact that employee has on your company. Not every one is going to be the right fit, and it’s okay to speak up. In fact, to protect your company culture and the work environment you want you will have to learn to recognize when someone just isn’t a match. Don’t be afraid to fire fast to protect the rest of the team.

5th tip: Create an exit offer/graceful leave policy/pay-to-quit offer.

Call it what you may. By having this in place, you take the guilt out of breaking up with an employee. You give them the option and ability to say “hey, just being honest here… This place just isn’t my cup of tea.” It’s a hard thing to raise your hand and say that. It could also end up saving you a lot of time and money in training costs.

Truth #6: Things happen.

When things happen, what’s your action plan? Sure, sometimes things happen that could have been prevented, but when an “uncontrollable” comes into play, what do you do then?

6th tip: Debrief with your team when big, confusing, or unexpected things happen.

Maybe the path forward is not distinctly clear, but I will tell you the path will become clearer, faster with a team that has your back. If you openly address a challenging situation and communication about it, you might be putting yourself in a vulnerable place but your team will respect you and be ready to jump on their feet and help move forward.

Truth #7: Poor listening skills can make/ break performance.

I’m sure you’ve read several times that communication is key to business, just as in romance. But maybe you’re great at communicating and not so great at zipping your lips and really tuning-in to what you’re hearing. If you can’t pump the breaks on your own thoughts for a moment to hear someone else out, you’ll eventually be blindsided. Turnover high and you don’t know why? Check how you’ve been listening. Not seeing the results you expected? Maybe someone tried to tell you there was an obstacle and you never registered its potential impact. Seem like people are just not doing their jobs? If you otherwise believe in and trust your team. Don’t assume, ask.  You know what they say about those who assume…

7th tip: Take as much as you give

Feedback is only effective when you take as much as you give. Giving constructive criticism is an absolute when leading a team of performer, but so is teaching those performers how to take constructive criticism. The only way to teach this classic lesson is by showing. This is a learn by example lesson. So, as much as you give your feedback/advice/ two cents, you’ve got to ask for others’ feedback. Honestly, if this is a challenge of yours I challenge you to start asking for feedback first, before offering your opinion.  You will find yourself in a much more effective, open, and actionable conversation.

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Truth #8: The sharks will eat you if you begin to tread.

No, not actual sharks… I am talking about your competitors here. Even if you feel like you are leading your industry you should always keep an eye on other players and what they are doing. Don’t discount the underdogs, they are the ones putting all their manpower into differentiators because they are inspired by you. If you start treading, they may just out run you.

8th tip: Always be innovating.

The more you know… Read daily, always be learning. Learning about the competition, the industry, complementary industries, the economy, the markets you’re in, any policy/ law that could impact your business, technology, etc. I am not saying that novelty things are always the next best thing, but always keep your eye on innovations and changes.

Truth #9:  Your vision will never come to fruition without small executable steps and buy-in.

You have a vision for your company– where you want to be in 1 year or 5 years, but how do you achieve that vision when your employees’ life goals just aren’t the same?

9th tip: Get S.M.A.R.T about your goals.

You must be specific about what you want, be able to measure progress, have the means/ tools/skills to attain what you want, be relevant to a broader goal (something bigger than yourself), and you must have a target date. Do things with indefinite deadlines ever get done? Then, you have to connect your goals to your employees’ goals by trickling down your vision and letting your employees tell you what they think they can do and want to contribute to get you there.

Truth #10: People are motivated by competition & rewards.

There are still people in this world that don’t need all the extra things to stay motivated, they are intrinsically motivated. There are, however, a greater percentage of employees who are motivated by external things. It takes all kinds, so how do you motivate all kinds?

10th tip: Custom incentives.

Ask your employees what motivates them, but don’t just say “what motivates you?” Ask them, “What can I do or provide you with that will really make you excited and keep you on track to our goal?” Then, decide what you are able to do so the relationship remains mutually beneficial, and you aren’t moving forward with the assumption and expectation that every one will be driven by the same things.

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Truth #11: Mutual accountability empowers people.

Not everyone appreciates new responsibilities at first, but those who take things on and at least give it their best shot anyway are the accountable soles. Find them, treat them right, and don’t let them go. Creating mutual accountability in an organization is key to employees investing themselves back into a company. However, it truly does have to be mutual.

11th tip: Delegate tasks, offer accountability, but check-in

Learn to recognize when an employee is just a “yes” person versus when they actually enjoy what they are doing.  Let it be ok for an employee to say, “I’ll try it out” and also “This isn’t what I want do.” It has to go both ways. You should delegate tasks, but you should also “check-in” to make sure the new owner of those tasks is not struggling and is the right person for the job, that includes whether or not they enjoy it or if it aligned with their goals.

Truth #12:You can’t review performance 1x a year and expect results.

First of all, how do you even keep track of every single thing that happens in a year. You’ve got to have some pretty stellar analytics to capture all of that.

12th tip: Ditch the annual review for regular strategic sessions.

Two years ago HireLevel adopted monthly strategic sessions where both supervisor and team member bring topics of conversation to the table about performance, career development, challenges etc and it transformed the way we work.


To learn more about transforming your company with HireLevel’s “strategic session” format and to get the rest of our Truths & Tips list,

Join us Wednesdsay August 28th in our Hi-Notes live stream with Director of Strategic Accounts, Nicole Kline and Regional Manager, Dana Dooley.

Get the other 12 Truths & Tips

The Hi-Notes program is approved for SHRM pdc. 

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