Performance management is an ongoing, collaborative process of setting goals for the workforce and then tracking, measuring and providing feedback on the progress of those goals. That being said, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of how to manage an employee's performance. The best approach depends on the specific needs of your organization, your team, and your employees.
A good performance management system aligns a team with the company's objectives, all while supporting employees in reaching their goals and advancing their career growth. When you have a happy and content team, you can see the results for yourself: increased retention, engagement, and contribution towards building a strong work culture.
Why should you have a performance management strategy?
The simple answer is that it improves your company's bottom line. But there are other reasons, too. Performance management provides employees with a clear understanding of what is expected of them. It also gives managers the tools they need to identify areas where employees may need additional training or development. Furthermore, it allows organizations to benchmark employee performance and compare it against industry standards.
Not sure where to start? Here are ten powerful performance management strategies that can help you set your team up for success.
10 Powerful Performance Management Strategies
1. Set clear expectations from the start
When it comes to managing employee performance, clarity is key. Make sure that everyone on your team knows what is expected of them in terms of both their individual goals and how they contribute to the overall objectives of the organization. This will help ensure that everyone is working towards the same objectives and minimize confusion down the line.
2. Check-in regularly
Performance management is not a one-time conversation. It should be an ongoing dialogue between you and your employees. Define KPIs, establish deadlines, and make sure to check-in regularly to discuss both successes and areas for improvement. This will help keep everyone on the same page and ensure that any issues are addressed quickly.
3. Use data in coaching conversations
Make sure to have regular one-on-ones where you focus on what's going well and where an employee may be struggling. While you're having this meeting, use real-time data to be a better guide or coach. This will help you make more informed decisions about how to best support your team. Plus, there's the added benefit of having conversations that are objective, transparent, and clear.
4. Recognition FTW
A simple "thank you" can go a long way. Having a culture of rewards and recognition may seem like a nice-to-have, rather than a must-have company strategy. However, keep in mind that when you recognize employees for their efforts—big or small, they are more likely to continue that behavior in the future. To get this culture up and running, have leaders lead the way and encourage them to post on your company's internal feed—be it a Slack channel or on a performance management tool like Mesh.
5. Offer developmental opportunities
When you're hiring for top talent, it helps to have perks that are beyond the beer-and-pool-table. With remote work becoming the new normal, employees are expecting more "wholesome" perks such as learning and development. Have conversations about L&D as and when people join, and discuss career growth trajectories with people who are already established in their roles so you can create personalized performance management plans for them. This will help them upskill and improve their performance in their current roles.
6. Improve the employee experience
Spend some time actually listening to employees. Capture continuous employee feedback via pulse surveys, engagement surveys, or performance management tools. Other things you can do to enrich the employee experience are: having a strong diversity and inclusion policy, investing in manager development, and allowing job flexibility.
7. Prioritize transparency and open communication
To enable seamless collaboration, teams need to be able to trust and respect one another. Without it, there can be friction, and people can feel demotivated and burnt out from working in toxic environments. Remedy this by creating a culture of accountability and mitigating biases at the micro-level.
9. Promote a culture of feedback
Performance management is not just about the manager giving feedback to the employees. It should be a two-way street. Promote a culture of feedback in your organization so that employees feel comfortable with being candid. Encourage upward, downward, 360-degree, and anonymous feedback to achieve great results. And when giving feedback, encourage people to be objective and constructive; avoid general comments or making assumptions about someone's understanding of the task at hand. It's best to stick to the facts and provide specific examples whenever possible.
10. Be flexible
Finally, be willing to adapt your approach as needed to meet the needs of your team. Consider allowing employees to set their own goals, shifting the focus on results rather than the amount of time spent at work, and offering remote working and flexi-time options. Remember, what works well for one team may not work for another, so be prepared to experiment until you find what works best for you.
Performance management strategies are important, but they're just one piece of the puzzle
Creating a high-performance culture is a journey, not a destination. To truly set your team up for success, you need to create a positive and supportive work environment where everyone can do their best work. By following these tips, you'll be well on your way to creating a high-performing team.
Another sure-fire way to boost your performance management strategy is to use a tool like Mesh. With Mesh, you can customize your one-on-one frequency to drive coaching and development, configure pulse and engagement surveys, and track your progress on your goals in real-time. Curious? Book a free demo with us to know more!