SkiHiring a new staff member is the obvious answer to the problem of resource shortages, but it’s not the only answer. Sometimes, before you decide to hire a new staff member, it can make sense to see whether you can increase output from existing staff, meaning you wouldn’t have to increase headcount. This doesn’t necessarily mean increasing the working hours of your staff, as research shows overtime work is generally less efficient than work performed during regular hours.

I wouldn’t necessarily consider increased hours to be a great way to boost output. Instead, I offer these three alternative ways to increase output without hiring any staff

1. Switch From SMART to HARD Goals

Most of you are likely familiar with SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-related goals). In fact, many of you may use such goals in your organizations.

However, while SMART goals can help staff members improve their focus and performance, there exists an option that may be even better: HARD goals, devised by Mark Murphy of Leadership IQ. HARD goals are:

  • Heartfelt: Staff members need emotional attachments to your goals; the goals have to scratch an existential itch.
  • Animated: Goals need to be motivated by visions, pictures, and/or movies that play over and over in staff members’ minds.
  • Required: Goals need to feel so urgently necessary that staff members have no other choice but to start acting on them right here, right now.
  • Difficult: Goals need to drag you staff members out of their comfort zones, activating their senses and attentions.

It’s clear that you goals need to be SMART if you want them to be truly achievable, but in order to increase staff focus, drive, and energy, you should also make your goals HARD.

2. Review Performances Quarterly or Even Monthly

Most organizations sleepwalk into the corporate trap of conducting appraisals on an annual basis. Unfortunately, this also means that most organizations are failing to get the most from their staff members: Research from Bersin by Deloitte shows that organizations that conduct quarterly appraisals and goal-setting deliver 31 percent greater returns “from their performance process” than organizations that only conduct annual reviews. Organizations that review staff members on a monthly basis see even greater returns.

3. Improve the Well-Being and Efficiency of Your Staff Members

Can you encourage your staff members to optimize their physical and mental well-being? There is a lot of performance improvement to be gained from healthier staff members.

For example, studies show that people who exercise in the morning before work are more productive on the days that they exercise. Similarly, a study from the Harvard Medical School found that improvements to a person’s sleep schedule can lead to a 20 percent increase in productivity.

These are just two of the many health and performance indicators that your organization can deliberately work to optimize in staff members in order to see real tangible gains in performance without hiring staff.

You can encourage staff members to engage in healthy behaviors through education, training, and seminars — but, thanks to technology, there are now more sophisticated ways to ways to encourage healthy behaviors, including a variety of corporate wellness apps and wearables. Such apps and devices help employees set and meet their health and fitness goals.

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