Performance management is a systematic way of getting people to do what you would like them them to do. It focuses on managing the behavior of employees and tracking their progress.
While some consider performance management to be a specific scientific approach based on behavioral analysis, we will be using the term as it is generally understood in business. However, we will also be introducing concepts that stretch beyond the traditional performance review and common management tools.
Here are 10 ways to quickly to enhance your Performance Management efforts across your team.
1. Activate Autonomy
Although allowing autonomy may sound like the opposite of managing something, we would be remiss to proceed with the other eight tips without first mentioning the importance of creating a little space for self-regulation.
Consider the idea that some of your employees have, or are capable of creating excellent performance management tools of their own since they are typically closest to the performance that needs to be managed. You may be able to collaborate with them to refine, reproduce and establish a new innovative process across your team.
If your employees don’t have the freedom to explore using their own findings or inventions to manage their performance, consider offering them more freedom in this area. You’ll be amazed at what your team can discover on their own when they are empowered to do so.
By giving your team members greater autonomy, you are not merely managing their performance, but creating the very conditions where greater performance can happen.
2. Revisit the vision. Daily.
Just about every company, and some departments within companies, have spent hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars on consulting fees in creating a concise vision statement that clearly communicates the direction of the organization and the core values for which it stands.
While these vision statements are usually an impactful piece of prose, frontline employees are often unfamiliar with it. Be sure that your team is familiar with your company’s vision and values, and know that they are an integral part of the mission.
3. Convey the message that coaching is a good thing
Because it is. This may not be such a “quick tip” if your current culture equates coaching with chastising, as it will take some time and consistency to dispel this general belief. The good news is that you can immediately start behaving in ways that will help lay this notion to rest once.
A healthy coaching relationship results in growth and personal mastery for all parties involved. Once perceived in this light, more people on your team will look forward to these encounters.
Some organizations see coaching as simply providing positive and negative feedback to an employee. Other organizations view coaching more as a mentorship between the employee and her manager.
We recommend the latter. Please check out more information about this unique approach to performance coaching.
Seeing coaching in this light is important. Coaching is for everyone, not just your lower performing employees. Your already good, productive employees also deserve coaching time so that they can grow too.
5. Give constructive feedback when necessary. Correctly.
The goal of so-called constructive feedback is to provide an accurate assessment of one’s situation, and to effectively communicate their shortcomings so they can make the necessary improvements to better their performance.
This should be done timely, specifically, accurately and tactfully.
- Timely. Provide feedback, in person, as soon as possible after the event occurs. Use video or voice communication if face-to-face is not feasible.
- Specifically. Consider, “I noticed you missed the deadline for your TPS Reports,” as opposed to, “You seem to be missing deadlines.”
- Accurately. Consider, “You missed the deadline for your TPS reports on March 5 and March 12,” as opposed to, “You can never seem to get your TPS reports on time anymore.”
- Tactfully. Remember to focus on the behavior that needs to be changed, and not how angry you are about the behavior. Feedback should be timely, but it’s okay to let yourself cool off first. Tact is crucial. The people at Intelligent HQ have put together some good information on how to provide feedback tactfully.
Of course the purpose of feedback is not to scold or demoralize, or to ask “scolding questions” that are not intended for genuine inquiry such as, “WHY WERE YOUR TPS REPORTS LATE?”
Scolding questions generally do not arise from a sincere desire to acquire this knowledge and are likely to produce excuses, and not the real reasons why the recipient behaved a particular way.
Not only are these questions bad for the recipients’ psyches, they are ineffective at changing their behavior in a positive way. That being said, scolding questions will make your employees better at making excuses and quicker at getting defensive.
6. Recognise Accomplishments
Few things motivate workers more than timely recognition for a specific accomplishment, or completing a challenging assignment. The constructive feedback discussed above will be much more palatable when it’s delivered to one who’s been receiving the appropriate amount of positive feedback all along.
7. Build on strengths more than correcting weaknesses
You might have 10 people on your team with identical titles and job descriptions. This doesn’t mean they all need to be doing the same things in equal proportions.
While it’s true that all 10 people should be able to perform all aspects of the job, there is nothing wrong with allowing those who excel at specific job functions to do these things in greater frequency.
8. Listen to feedback
Your team members may be aware of something that is impeding their own performance, either as individuals, or as a group. The fact that your team knows it doesn’t necessarily mean that you know it. Yet.
Consider putting a system in place where your employees can provide you with feedback, even anonymously. This may encourage them to report outdated processes that are no longer helpful, and perhaps detrimental to the company’s bottom line. These are the things you will want to know about.
9. Set specific goals, define projects and track accomplishments
Tracking goals and project completions throughout time is especially important if your company uses an annual performance appraisal model. A common complaint about such reports is that they capture only the manager’s perception of the employee at the time the appraisal is written and do not provide a meaningful overview of performance for the entire period.
Documenting these accomplishments and shortcomings throughout the year, and having this data readily accessible enables you to create objective performance appraisals that accurately reflect your employees’ performance.
10. Leverage technology
In honor of transparency, we’re not going to lie. Many of these performance management tips correlate with core features of Happster, our very own employee engagement software.
For example, the tracking of goals and project completions throughout time mentioned above is a core feature of Happster.
This makes performance appraisal time a breeze, and helps you give your employees a holistic view of the value they have provided to your organization throughout the evaluation period while highlighting any patterns of behavior that may be preventing them from excelling even further.
Although these tips can be employed with or without Happster, we simply believe Happster makes performance management more fun, more engaging and more productive.
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