7 Easy Tips to Boost Employee Engagement with Performance Management for SMEs (Part 1)

7 Easy Tips to Boost Employee Engagement with Performance Management for SMEs (Part 1)


In today’s day and age, small business owners and employers are struggling with disinterested and disengaged employees who view their jobs as a distasteful necessity. This puts the health of the company at risk.

Smart companies, on the other hand, know that a solid foundation of engaged employees is the single best starting point for building and growing a business.

Many a time, I come across many small and medium sized business owners lament that employee engagement is a “thing” only for multinational companies and bigger conglomerates, because they larger amounts of money spend.

I often hear this: “We are so busy trying to make ends meet and driving our business that we now have to invest to make our employees happy before they work and perform?”, or “I am a small business owner, where am I to find the money to invest in cakes and doughnuts every morning to make my employees smile?”

And I often hear this: “I can’t seem to grow my business because I can’t find good people.”, “Good people nowadays is very hard to find. No experience but want high pay, and cannot do work.”, and “Why should I teach them everything I know about running the business? After they have learnt everything in 1 year, they will leave and set up another company like mine.”

And that is the challenge for most small and medium sized businesses today. Most have not yet realized that their limitations in engaging their employees (who are rather different today than 15 years ago), is their glass ceiling.

So, what is the meaning of an engaged employee? According to the Wikipedia, an “engaged employee” is one who is fully involved in, and enthusiastic about their work, and thus will act in a way that furthers their organization’s interests, which means employees need to have a vested interest (not shares) in helping the business attain its goals.

At the crux of most successful employee engagement programs is an effective performance evaluation system, often systems-based, which builds this understanding and accountability into a worker’s individual goals. While most companies engage in some kind of performance evaluation, companies with the most highly engaged employees have some best practices in common. See www.smetalent.com.

So, how does a small and medium business build a workforce that is engaged toward its company direction?

1. Make it about career development.

Rather than focusing on past performance, align the evaluation more closely to the employee’s career development and future. Most SMEs do not have a clear-enough painted picture for employees, and employees are left wondering or hazy with their futures.

While previous performance shouldn’t be ignored, if employees feel that the evaluations are a real tool to help them advance or earn raises, they will be better motivated. It’s simply a human trait to be more motivated when there’s “something in it for me.”

2. Build real and specific goals.

Goals can be addressed from a standpoint of productivity and performance, as well as values and culture toward your organization. It baffles me that business owners would say to their employees that they have “bad attitudes”, during performance evaluations, and the real fact is that employees have no idea what to with that sort of feedback.

Set actual and specific goals that are simple to understand and that employees are clear with the immediate necessary actions. Ask employees to define the new and different levels of activities they should participate in (from now on) to achieve their new or existing goals. I enjoy asking my employees if they have any specific goals of their own, such as learning a new skill or achieving a certain certification, and make those part of the evaluation, and that keeps them motivated once they understand that their employers care about their personal achievements.

3. Set and agree on measures, by involving your team in agreements.

As the old saying goes, if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it, so employee evaluations should measure concrete goals such as revenue generated, safety, productivity, error reduction, machinery maintenance, and resource use. Business owners usually don’t find it challenging to measure sales people because the easiest measure to collate is sales, numbers of new customers and leads. Make an agreement with you employee on what can be achieved, and define clearly how this performance will be measured.


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Maresa Ng Business Growth Specialist

Maresa Ng – Asia's Top Business Growth Specialist

As Entrepreneur, Author, Investor, Professional Speaker, and ActionCOACH Asia Master Coach Trainer, Maresa has grown several of her own businesses and has worked with hundreds of entrepreneurs, business owners & CEOs to succeed in turning around their businesses. She is the author of MPH Masterclass Guide to Starting a Business. Having spoken in over a dozen countries regionally, her business-building-seminars have touched the lives of thousands of business people and entrepreneurs. Maresa had achieved Top 3 Firm Builder in Asia Pacific in year 2015, and maintained Top 100 Global Coach in 2012 and 2013. One of her businesses was awarded SME100 Fastest Moving SMEs by SME & Entrepreneur Magazine in 2012. Her track record of both successes and failures has led her to be one of the most prominent business speakers and experts in the region. Described mainly as businesses secret-weapon, Maresa has the strategic and tactical ability, energy and passion to take entrepreneurs and businesses to the next level. Visit www.maresang.com and transform your business today.


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