Written by 10:54 am Life English, Growth Mindset • One Comment

The Secrets Standing Behind Employees’ Performance

Suppose you have been working for years in your industry. In that case, you can easily learn that Internal Training and External Training play an important role in a typical employee’s performance in theory. However, in practice, there have been more challenges and hardships in Training Implementation due to both objectives and subjective reasons.

The common problems revolve around the features of “Adult Learners”.  According to my observation over 15 years in Saigon Vietnam, I realized that “Adult Learners” can be affected by many stresses:

  • Social-Cultural Stresses
  • Job-related Stresses
  • Family-related Stresses
  • Self-related Stresses

These stresses directly and negatively influence their time and task management. From that, their performances cannot be guaranteed as they promised or committed.

So, what crucial factors indeed contribute to employees’ performance at a workplace? How can they find and get these factors?

The research Factors Affecting Job Performance: An Integrative Review of Literature written by Jatin Pandey from the Indian Institute of Management Kozhikode, Kozhikode, India indicates 3 key factors:

  1. Job Demands
  2. Resources
  3. Stressors

FACTOR 1: JOB DEMANDS

As for the JD-R perspective (JD-R: Job Demands- Resources), it states that Job demands are the physical and emotional stressors in your role.  In other words, they are time pressures, heavy workloads, a stressful working environment, role ambiguity, emotional labor, and poor relationships.

From that angle of view, if you are an employee, you need to equip yourself with knowledge and skills to effectively deal with the aforementioned demands. To make it clearer for you, let’s go through all demands one by one.

Qualitative Job Demands

  • Physical Demands can be interpreted as the level and duration of physical exertion generally required to perform critical tasks and fulfill critical functions e.g. sitting, holding, carrying, pulling.. etc. These can be categorized into 4 groups:
    • Gross and fine manipulation: 
      • Gross manipulation is defined as seizing, holding, grasping, turning, or otherwise working with hand(s).
      • Fine manipulation is defined as picking, pinching, touching, or otherwise working primarily with fingers rather than the whole hand or arm.
    • Low postures include (1) Crawling (2) Crouching (3) Kneeling and (4) Stooping. According to the United States Department of Labor, it dictates certain percentages for low postures are applied in specific jobs.
    • Sitting and Standing
      • Sitting includes (1) Active sitting and (2) Active lying down.
      • Standing includes (1) Walking (2) Climbing (3) Low postures
    • Strengths can be divided into 5 levels: sedentary, light, medium, heavy, and very heavy.
  • Cognitive demands require the use of cognitive faculties like information processing, problem-solving, and decision-making. There exist 4 levels of cognitive demands: Memorization, Procedures without Connections, Procedures with Connections, and Doing “mathematics”. The first two are in the group of Low Cognitive Demands, and the other two are called High Cognitive Demands.
  • Affective demands reflect how you exhibit certain positive behaviors and repress your emotions. If you cannot handle them effectively, you will cause disengagement, depression, and burnout.

Quantitative Job Demands refer to work overload, work underload, and pace of change. Also, Organizational Demands cover Negative change, Bureaucracy, Role Conflicts, and Interpersonal Conflicts. All aforementioned demands might negatively affect a typical employee’s performance

Takeaway Tips:

  1. If you are an employee, you need to be well aware of what you are willing to do at a certain position. You will be the one who can direct and navigate your daily actions so that you can fulfill your missions. To guarantee the results, you are supposed to effectively regulate your emotions, upgrade your complex problem-solving skills, and develop your cognitive faculty of surrounding things and daily & emergency occurrences at work.
  2. If you are a manager, you are supposed to understand all the conditions that your team members are dealing with every single day. From that, you can alleviate, regulate, or improve them to bring your employees a better working environment and then boost their satisfaction and productivity. Moreover, as a manager, you need to better use the organizational resources to minimize the demands.

FACTOR 2: RESOURCES

Besides the Job Demands, another factor affecting one’s job performance is Resources. When it comes to Resources, I have to admit that it is quite broad since it requires a view of  the combination of 2 elements:

  • Individual Resources
  • Job Resources

Individual Resources

To make it brief, I would like to emphasize that all employees need to ensure their overall fitness and strength endurance related to Job Performance. Also, their cognitive ability can be counted to contribute to their job performance. That employees can make meta-analysis is highly recommended nowadays. Finally, affective resources encompass emotional competence, emotional stability, and emotional intelligence.

Along with Individual Resources, Job Resources can be predictors of Job performance since they explain detailed resources help minimize Job demands and Organizational demands bring energy to employees, and make them more productive. Job resources can be interpreted as:

  • Social Resources reflect how well employees get support from others, how friendly their team atmosphere is, their role clarity, and their recognition at a workplace.
  • Work Resources mention the use of their skills at work, the availability of supporting tools, task variety, their participation in decision-making, and their person-job fit. All these will help lead employees to their job control.
  • Organizational Resources indicate the ways people in an organization communicate with each other, their trust in leadership, Organizational Justice, Fair pay, and Alignment. As I mentioned above, Organization Resources are very important, they can be used to diminish and minimize employee’s organizational demands.
  • Development Resources are indispensable because the performance feedback, Possibilities for learning and development, and Career perspective will help employees fully engage and contribute their best to the organization.

Takeaway Tips

  1. If you are an employee, the only thing you keep doing without fail over time is to take care of your well-being, expand your horizon, and practice more to sharpen your meta-analytical skills and understand your emotions towards things happening daily as well as effectively regulate them.
  2. If you are a manager, the only thing you can do is to train, coach, and mentor your team members on a regular basis. The training & coaching programs should be well designed to bring your staff to higher levels day by day. KPIs and KRIs will be set carefully to track your staff’s resource development regularly and periodically. Besides that, managers are expected to delegate tasks to staff to stimulate and maintain their energy over time. Additionally, give feedback and feedforward to your subordinates to help them do better, do not focus on criticizing their mistakes or errors.  Finally, you are highly requested to stay away from biases and keep fairness and justice for everyone in the working environment.

FACTOR 3: STRESSORS

Last but not least, Stressors can be regarded as one of the key factors that no one can ignore. The word “Stressors” summarizes all the obstacles that employees might encounter at their workplace. They can be classified into (1) Individual Stressors  (2) Job Stressors and (3) Family Stressors. 

It is easy to list down some examples related to Individual Stressors you might catch in reality. They might be Personalities, Neuroticism, and  Negative affectivity (or negative perceptions formed by employees at work). These stressors come from employees themselves, and they have a negative relation with job performance.

Not only Individual Stressors but also Job Stressors remarkably impact employees’ job performance. The 2 important aspects related to Job Stressors must be mentioned are Group Stress and Role Stress. If employees work with their role ambiguity, conflict, or overload, they gradually get disengaged and frustrated. Actually, they cannot commit their best to the team or the organization as expected. In addition, group power somehow can cause de-energizing relationships, network constraints, and even abusive supervision. Absolutely, these stressors will quickly demotivate and kill employees’ willingness and enthusiasm. As a result, they cannot commit to their excellent performance.

Finally, Family Stressors cannot be underestimated since they can directly affect employees and then indirectly influence their job performance at work. Family Stressors cover Family to Work-conflict, Family Incivility, and Partner Aggression; Obviously, these conflicts can dictate negative interference with job performance.

Takeaway Tips

  1. If you are an employee, you are meant to be able to recognize who you truly are, how you control and regulate your emotions, and how you see things around you. If you get stuck with these, ask for help or practice bettering your viewpoints to get out of the trap you create for yourself.  Also, at the workplace, you need to learn and help yourself identify different groups and their power. In-group and Out-group power can fully support or impede your job performance. In other words, learning to deal with office politics is a must. Finally, you should balance work and family and set barriers between them with different roles of yours. If possible, share and have a heart-to-heart conversation with your partner to turn him or her into a supporter instead of an antagonist.
  2. If you are a manager, there are many missions to complete when it comes to stressors. You need to learn and deeply understand your employees. You know what could be their stressors for real so that you can be their supporter or saver in time. If you have the power to influence the working environment, please do your best to control office politics. It cannot be deleted 100% out of the working environment, but it should be at an acceptable and controllable level. Finally, being a considerate and thoughtful manager is a part of your leadership. Put down the barrier and firewall between you and your employees, show your caring to them, and catch up with them when you sense any interferences labeled Work-Family Conflicts. Whatever you do, do it for their sake and your company’s.

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