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Seamless performance management isn’t a process that comes naturally to most organizations. It takes time, effort, and a ton of experimentation to craft the perfect system for your organization’s functions.
Employees who are well-managed, feel inspired, and receive timely feedback can achieve impressive results for their companies. But given the time it takes to build a perfect performance management system to enable all of this, do you not wish for way to work things out a little more quickly?
If you’ve been struggling to fulfill that wish, you’ve come to the right place. In this guide, we’re going to explore 10 performance management strategies that are sure to bring about those much-desired results in your organization. Let’s check them out, shall we?
Best Performance Management Strategies
1. Define your expectations
If your managers don't understand your expectations, it will be difficult for them to set their own. This lack of understanding can lead to inattention. Without knowing what areas to focus on, your manager may not know what to communicate to employees.
Don't assume your manager already knows what you need. Emphasize what your managers need to deliver from their reviews. After all, they are the ones who convey these expectations to your employees.
It is important to have a clear vision of the organization to set expectations with your manager.
Your vision should be inspiring and define the future of your organization. This will help managers feel connected to the organization and motivate them to develop a similar sense of belonging within their teams. Building your vision with managers will impact the entire organization through their performance reviews.
2. Set periodic reviews
Most managers tend to conduct annual reviews. It almost makes them seem less important. Due to this, reviews become end-of-the-year annoyances. But they need to be a way to track employee performance. Doing this once every year in one go is sure to make it feel like a chore. Moreover, it means that managers are missing out on important developments that may seem minor but are frequent. As such, you need to understand that:
- continuous performance reviews are a great way for your people to voice their thoughts and feelings. Many people feel like they never get feedback from their managers or that their opinions don’t matter in the grand scheme of things. With continuous performance reviews, employees can have a chance to speak up.
- continuous performance reviews can also help you stay on top of short-term objectives. This comes in handy while working on projects that are made up of lots of small goals. By reviewing at regular intervals, you can make sure that your team is still on track.
- it becomes easier to reward employees as you gain a clearer understanding of their needs and wants.
3. Align performance management with organizational objectives
To be effective, your performance management process must support organizational goals and priorities. When performance goals are based on strategic objectives, employees can focus their time on activities that will produce results. The goal drives the process, so aligning your performance management strategy with organizational goals will help create a consistent and systematic process.
4. Link performance to day-to-day work
When developing an effective performance management strategy, day-to-day performance must be directly linked to long-term results. Performance conversations shouldn't just take place during formal performance reviews. Instead, ensure the creation of a culture of feedback through systems like regular one-on-one interviews, weekly and monthly conversations, and recognition programs.
5. Provide regular performance feedback and reward hard work
Another important performance management strategy you can try is to schedule regular feedback sessions with employees.
This is most important because these meetings are a valuable and structured mechanism to not only improve employees' efforts to achieve organizational goals, but also to understand where they fit into the company and the value they bring.
Make sure your hardest working employees are recognized for their efforts in this process. For truly exceptional people, go out of your way to reward them publicly to show your employees that you appreciate dedication and hard work.
6. Don’t just give feedback, ask for it too
Did you know that 46% of people leave a meeting not knowing what to do next? It usually comes down to ineffective communication. Your performance review is a meeting with your team members, and if you don't communicate well, their performance won't improve.
Focus your performance management strategy on exchanging constructive feedback with actionable steps. After all, your team wouldn’t want their review to seem like a long and arduous lecture now, would they? They’ll simply lose focus and begin to feel the lack of two-way communication.
So, develop performance reviews that highlight key discussion topics and ensure the exchange of feedback. Then train your people to use these topics to provide their own feedback. Constantly encourage them to talk about themselves.
7. Practice positive reinforcement
There is an old saying about performance management which talks about how managers and their team get stuck with the "feedback sandwich". This involves giving positive feedback followed by negative feedback, which is again followed up with another positive comment.
At first glance, it sounds like the ideal way of exchanging feedback. You give more positive feedback than negative, which should boost morale. You also cover areas where the employee needs to improve.
The thing is—this approach doesn’t work all that often. It’s because people tend to focus on the negative. Once you give negative feedback, the impact of the following positive feedback will disappear.
To avoid this, focus on the positive steps that your team members can take to improve their performance. Not only would it divert their attention from the negatives, it would also bring about positive reinforcement that recognises your team member’s efforts, turning the whole process of exchanging feedback into one that is positive and constructive.
8. Optimize peer reviews
Another great way to promote effective performance management is to use peer reviews, also known as 360-degree reviews. Peer reviews are useful because they allow colleagues to review each other, highlight positive aspects of their performance, and point out areas where improvements can be made.
This process helps employees collaborate, develop better communication and assess where they can improve while observing their colleagues, bring them a level of accountability towards each other.
9. Initiate dialogue over performance
Effective performance management isn't about filling out forms, it's about having meaningful, ongoing conversations about performance. Recordings provide both you and your team with the opportunity to discuss performance, share feedback, and review expectations.
So, make sure you have enough time, attention and energy for such important conversations.
10. Make your employees a part of the decision-making process
Of all the things you can do, nothing shows your appreciation for your employees more than involving them in the decision-making process. Fortunately, this is also a very effective part of a performance management strategy.
Ask your team members what they think of the structure and design of the workplace, and what kind of incentives they would like to receive. By doing this, you ensure that they have more of a stake in their overall growth and success.
When you are working with so many teams, utilizing performance management to keep them all on the same page can be pretty tough. The goal is to be able to produce the results that your organization needs and when you are working with the right strategies, you can get the best results from your performance management process. At the end of the day, that’s what matters, doesn’t it?