How to encourage better performance without straining employees

An organisation’s competitive advantage is usually directly tied to its employees’ productivity. Therefore, executives desire heightened productivity and often pressure their employees to continually perform at high levels. Although this pressure can motivate employees, it also serves as a significant workplace stressor. Employees’ accomplishments are short-lived, with managers patting them on the back for achieving yesterday’s goals and then immediately asking them to up the ante. In the end, employees likely feel the stress from these increasing (and seemingly unattainable) performance targets.

Continued pressure for heightened performance should be a concern for organisations. A balance is needed; managers should strive to enhance their employees’ performance while also maintaining a healthy and effective level of employee motivation. Because performance pressure serves as a significant source of stress for employees, continually pressuring them to raise performance can be counterproductive and may be at odds with effectively motivating them.

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