Productive employees have proven to themselves that they are capable and worthy of success. You will recognize them by their positive outlook, their sense of responsibility, and their honesty. They will be your most loyal and productive employees. They will be the employees that seem to manage themselves, who look for new challenges, and create their own opportunities. They are the ones who are effective at nearly everything they do.

As a manager, you probably have one or two employees who fit this description. Imagine if every employee were his or her most effective. Think how much easier your job would be.
There is no way to clone your best people (at least so far!). Is there anything you can do? Without a doubt! Every interaction you have with the people who report to you affects their loyalty, productivity, and willingness to be self-directed. Use those interactions to improve effectiveness.

To improve employee effectiveness:

Clarify your purpose. Make sure your employees know both the organization’s goals and their role is in achieving those goals. If a goal of your organization is to cut costs, your employees’ roles might include reducing the time it takes to process an order, finding a less expensive supplier, or streamlining key processes. Provide them with a purpose rather than a detailed set of tasks to complete. Let them find creative ways to meet their goals.

Delegate. Don’t Dump. You can help your people become more effective by delegating rather than dumping projects on them. Many people lack the skills required to achieve their goals successfully. Take the time to make sure employees have a plan for achieving success. Work with them to create milestones and checkpoints so that you can ensure that they are on target.
Develop effective communication. Every organization faces the challenge of improving communication. Miscommunication quickly leads to poor performance. To improve communication, set guidelines and provide opportunities to practice communication skills in a non-threatening environment. Encourage the free flow of information – in both directions. Keep everyone informed on the issues that affect them. Listen carefully to the opinions of your employees.

Promote a sense of belonging and teamwork. Belonging to a strong work team promotes a sense of security that is essential to outstanding achievement. Create opportunities for people to get to know each other better. Provide occasions for people who rarely work together to share a project. Set team goals and brainstorm together on ways to achieve those goals.
Recognize their accomplishments!

Make sure that employees receive recognition for their accomplishments. Once a year at the awards banquet is not enough. If you want employees that are exceptionally effective, look for ways to recognize them on a regular basis. Thank them, praise them, and offer new responsibilities and training opportunities. Above all, treat them with respect. This is the most meaningful form of recognition for highly effective employees.

Every interaction you have with your employees is an opportunity to help them become more effective. Help your employees help you—to make your job easier!

© Copyright Cindy Ventrice, 2003

Author's Bio: 

Cindy Ventrice is a consultant with over 20 years experience. Her best-selling book Make Their Day! Employee Recognition That Works outlines the four elements of effective recognition and describes what employees value most. For more information, visit