Mastering Performance Management: Stop Reinventing the Wheel
Holly DePalma |
All workforce leaders know that having a sound performance management system in place is critical to organizational success. Yet, for so many, it is the Achilles heel, a nagging impediment to company growth and employee engagement. Despite ongoing efforts to modify, redesign, and benchmark processes, the model still fails to produce results. Let’s examine why, and more importantly – identify the solution.
Organizations unwittingly add layers of complexity to their practices without assessing whether those components add any value or purport success. Consequently, simple processes like setting employee performance goals become onerous, taxing, and tedious. Performance reviews become perfunctory instead of developmental. From long-winded forms to bloated processes and a seemingly endless list of steps, performance management becomes a dreaded, headache-inducing experience for both managers and employees alike.
The solution? Keep it simple. Forget the bells and whistles. Eliminate the formulaic operations. Implementing a basic, consistent, and proven-effective framework to measure and reward the abilities of your workforce is key to increasing productivity, boosting workplace morale, and providing engagement, which ultimately impacts your company’s bottom line. MEA is here to help you take your performance management practices to the next level. Below are three basic, yet essential components to mastering performance management.
1. Add objective data to the process. Take the guesswork out of performance management.
Relying on behavioral science to assess, develop and provide insight into “how” to manage your talent will save managers exorbitant amounts of time. This data will also equip you with the required information to develop relevant, individualized coaching plans for your employees. Many MEA members have experienced marked improvement and success using The Predictive Index to manage talent and performance. The Predictive Index® is a multifaceted, scientifically validated workforce assessment tool that leverages a simple methodology to help you identify and understand the behaviors of your workforce. PI will give you the information you need to maximize the potential of your organization. Its insights allow you to capitalize on individual skill sets, identify areas of growth, and position your employees for advancement by aligning opportunities with their interests and potential.
2. Define goals and monitor progress.
Another critical component of performance management is working with your employees to set relevant, attainable, and measurable goals. Goals should not be arbitrarily assigned and administered from manager to subordinate. Instead, this should be a collaborative process fueled by open dialog and mutual agreement between manager and employee. Simply put – performance goals are not one-size-fits-all. Draw upon the information and insights you acquired from The Predictive Index® or other scientific assessment tool. Sit down with your employees and discuss how they can best support the company strategy and mission, how their skills can best be put to use, and how they can optimize their performance within their capabilities and job function.
Defining goals requires more than just conversation. To create accountability and generate action items, identify and agree on a reasonable time frame by which each goal should be accomplished, and how and when progress will be monitored along the way. Regular coaching sessions, conducted at least once a month, are an incredibly effective way to ensure progress is being made. They serve to keep employees motivated to completing their goals and also provide an opportunity for managers to offer support, observe and listen, adjust timelines if needed, clarify focus, request more information, and monitor productivity. It is also crucial to adopt a consistent method for tracking progress and communication, as it will prove helpful during the appraisal process.
3. Provide consistency and transparency.
It is paramount that a performance management plan is not only well-defined, but also clearly communicated to employees and consistently implemented. A lack of transparency and consistency can be demoralizing to employees and sends the message that the organization is not wholly committed to employee development. High-performing employees can only thrive when expectations and accountability are communicated, and practices are implemented and maintained. Consistency and clear communication about how performance is being measured and tracked are deliverables key to company success. Often times, it’s lack of training and focus that prevent managers from identifying, developing, and implementing a performance management plan that is best suited to their company’s culture and strategy. Performance management should not be developed through trial by fire. It’s a skill that needs to be developed and supported through ongoing training and practice. Supplemental training workshops are recommended to help equip your managers and talent personnel with the tools needed to coach, mentor, and develop employees, as well as help teach effective ways to set goals and manage the annual appraisal process.
Let’s recap. In order to maintain an engaged workforce, foster organizational growth, and outperform your company’s competition, performance management must be a top priority. To ensure your model’s effectiveness, however, it must be simple. Keep in mind – behavioral science works, goal-setting is crucial, and effective implementation matters. And remember, your success as a member is our success – contact MEA today to identify training solutions best aligned with your organization’s performance management needs.