Rethinking Performance Management: 4 Things to Keep in Mind

Performance management goals are the same, but the methods are changing.

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Here’s how companies are fine-tuning their performance management strategies

A good manager knows that an optimized work environment translates into productive and engaged employees. That’s why crafting a solid performance management strategy is vital for success in any business.

But many companies are rethinking how they approach performance management today. And it’s not just because so many processes can be automated.

The problem with traditional performance management

One of the key issues with performance management is that in practice, it often centers on annual reviews. These brief meetings are often hierarchal, focus on employee weaknesses, and rarely result in desired outcomes. And it’s not just employees who are unhappy with this system.

Just 4% of managers are content with their current performance management practices.

Just 4% of managers are content with their current performance management practices.

In part, one reason these reviews are ineffective is that they happen rarely. When you have reviews once a year, that generally means you are only setting expectations once a year. You may not be setting or adjusting goals. And if you check employee progress so sporadically, many opportunities for improvement may fall through the cracks.

But the reviews and feedback are only one aspect in the performance management cycle. Performance management is really focused on how to create the best work environment possible for your team.

More and more companies are looking to change up their performance management strategy. And they are finding stellar results.

How companies are mixing it up

The first thing most companies do is ditch the traditional performance system altogether. Multinational firms like Accenture, Facebook, Microsoft, and Adobe have all leaned towards a more collaborative and continuous review system.

But it’s not just tech giants who are changing the game. Goldman Sachs and Cargill have also exchanged the traditional model for its modern variation.

If you want to boost your employee’s productivity and morale, here are 3 key features your new performance management strategy should have.

Seamless onboarding

Successful onboarding is essential to retaining employees. And it goes far beyond giving your new hires an employee handbook and walking away.

Through digitizing and automating your process, you can spend less time on paperwork while providing a digital workspace for employees to reference. Plus, you’ll be able to spend more time on the hands-on aspects of onboarding that make a difference. You can focus on creating on-site training, mentorship systems, and other activities to help new hires integrate into the workforce.

Frequent feedback is key

Employees love feedback. Both employee recognition and constructive criticism are crucial for successful operations and employee motivation. But giving feedback once a year just isn’t enough.

Offering contentious feedback is one way to keep the performance management cycle fresh and it’s an easy way to keep your employees happy and engaged. Keep in mind, regular check-ins shouldn’t be micromanaging sessions. Think of these as one-on-one meetings to review goals, progress, and keep your employees on task. Frequently asking your employees how they are doing, or recognizing their achievements when they occur, can also help you build rapport with them and improve overall retention.

30% of American workers say that negative feedback will prompt them to find a new job.

However, keep in mind that negative feedback, especially regular negative feedback can reduce morale. In fact, 30% of American workers say that negative feedback will prompt them to find a new job. So keeping your feedback balanced will be essential for success.

Empower your team

Almost 90% of employees think that their work should support their professional development. If you are already providing regular feedback and frequently reviewing your employee’s performance, it’s likely that you’ve found places where they can improve. And they likely know what skills or tools they need to take their work to the next level.

Investing in your team’s skills allows you to reap rewards in the workplace. Through providing professional development and goal-setting review options, you can empower your team to take their career into their own hands.

Furthermore, don’t be afraid to delegate tasks to your team. Not only is this more likely to engage your employees, but it frees up time for you to focus on other tasks.

Prioritize collaboration

Collaboration between managers and employees, and employees and their peers can boost your overall productivity. Transparency, authenticity, empathy, and real-time communication all contribute to positive work culture and better performance.

To boost collaboration in your office, you can keep your door open, bring in peer-reviews, and foster a community for positive team building.

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