500 Words on Performance Management

Kevin Trokey on Nov 4, 2016 3:00:00 AM

Performance management. For many companies, it’s the thorn in our sides. We know it needs to be done, but we haven’t figured out how to make it efficient, effective, and a good use of everyone’s time.

Developing systematic processes to clarify job responsibilities, priorities, and expectations doesn’t happen overnight. And implementing these things isn’t something that can be done haphazardly. Thorny or not, it’s impossible to create the culture you want and achieve your company goals if you’re not constantly focused on organizational and employee development.

The good news is that most employees want to be coached and encouraged to improve their skills and performance. In fact, they often cite the best managers as those who coach, develop, mentor, inspire, encourage and communicate. Unfortunately, most supervisors aren’t doing these things effectively. Take the annual review, for example. Or should we say leave it?

Let’s face it. Employers don’t enjoy conducting these reviews and employees don’t like participating in them. There are many reasons why, not the least of which is right there in the name: Review. Often, these sessions are completely focused on looking back at what the employee has already done, making it more of a history class than a planning and development process.

To make real progress, we need to be looking ahead and finding ways to unleash the full potential of each employee. We also need to release everyone from the stress and pressure of a formal meeting that only happens once a year by getting in the habit of communicating more often.

When done right, helping employees manage their performance in a healthy way reflects in a healthy bottom line. A couple of quick facts:

  • According to CIPD/Halogen, only 44% of employees surveyed had clear role objectives, with only 19% reporting their performance was explained in the wider context of contribution to the organization. However, the majority of employees felt both should be aspects of the performance management process.
  • According to a Hackett Group study, companies who excel at managing talent post 15% higher earnings, show a 22% improvement in net profit margin, and spend 6% less on HR overall.

How can you get started on a better path? Instead of waiting around for annual reviews, open the conversations now— and keep them open. Here’s one idea you can start today:

Have each supervisor hold 10-minute meetings with each direct report each week, asking the following questions:

  • What was your greatest success this week?
  • What was your greatest challenge this week?
  • If you can only accomplish one thing over the next seven days, what does it have to be?
  • Did you accomplish your one thing from last week?

Of course this conversation will sometimes uncover issues that require more than a 10-minute discussion, but you can schedule that as a separate meeting. This weekly check-in process will help keep everyone on the same page and provide constant opportunities for feedback, mentorship, and improvement.

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This is the fourth post in a series of blogs designed to help you look beyond the cost of insurance to control employee expenses. For more information on this topic, read 500 Words series – An Overview, 500 Words on Employee Engagement, and 500 Words on Employee Communication, or download our eBook below.

 5 Pillars of Employee-Related Expenses eBook

Topics: Team Development, HR Strategy