How to Manage Employee Performance?
There are several dimensions that are essentials to understand in order to create an effective employee performance management program. This time sensitive matter needs to be under constant supervision in order to work well. Getting a pulse of how things are going lies at the core of this system. That’s why the ability to measure with accuracy the level of competency of your employees as well as their level of efficiency is the guarantee of a successful performance management program.
The process of measuring performance can be described in four steps:
- Planning: objectives are clearly defined
- Organisation: objectives and expectations are clearly communicated
- Action: activities are implemented
- Control: monitoring and gap analysis
1. Defining Employee Performance Objectives
Performance objectives act as criteria and benchmarks in order to assess the progress of your employee performance towards a defined goal. You need to establish a link between this indicator and the objective to be reached in order to measure progression.
Managing employees using objectives implies that those objectives should be the result of a discussion. This negotiation consists in evaluating the resources (i.e. time, tools, labour and finances) required to reach completion. However, it would idealistic to imaging that all objectives can be negotiated.
Individual objectives, derived from strategic business goals, will inevitably be harder to negotiate. On the other hand, personal development objectives will be easier to adapt with the perspective of reaching a win-win situation.
Human capital has a massive impact on an organisation’s results and employees must therefore understand the importance of their contribution. Setting an objective helps employees understand their share of input by linking them to the collective goal.
2. Setting Expectations Staff
To ensure that your employee performance management system is a well-structured one, your employees will need to understand what is expected from their end. These expectations will consist of:
- Completely understand their performance objectives (such as what it is that they need to meet, when it should be met and why it should be met)
- Understanding the need for certain skills to carry out certain performance objectives. Know that they will need to undergo training to acquire missing skills.
- Know that they will be rewarded for performance through a rewards and incentives strategy.
- Know that they will be given regular feedback and one-on-one discussions to work on their personal and work development.
- Understanding that their role in meeting these performance objectives plays a pivotal role in the viability of the whole organisation.
On the other end of the spectrum, management in the organisation will have to understand how important they are in guiding their employees to carry out their end. In order for employees to fulfil their objectives as set, it will involve management providing an environment where they can do so. What is understood by this is having management:
- Know their employees and carefully allocate them to teams whereby they have productive working relationships with.
- Understand the types of performance appraisals unique to each employee; as each individual is stimulated by different rewards and incentives.
- For managers in particular, they will need to understand what leadership qualities they need to adopt. The reason for this being, is to provide support and an example of what your employees aspire and will work to be.
- Foster a workplace culture of improvement and development.
3. Implementing the Employee Performance Management Strategy
To support your employee performance improvement strategy, you will need to develop an adapted system of infrastructure to manage the process. This infrastructure will have to encompass several areas essential to the implementation of your strategy, including:
- Training and development activities
- Rewards and Incentives Scheme
- Performance Objective Standards
- Processes of Performance Appraisal
- Policies for Performance Management
- Management for Underperformance and Discipline
- Each of these structures constitute integral parts in making up a performance management system. If the strategy for each is devised correctly, combining each element together will see a well-rounded performance management system.
4. Monitoring and Evaluation
This is the step that will determine the success or failure of your performance management system. To keep track of your efforts and activities suggested above, you will need to use a strong performance dashboard and management system. While certain online tools give access to pre-formatted performance management processes and templates, find one that offers you complete liberty to adapt and tailor the performance appraisal framework to your organisation and employees’ needs.
The Future of Performance Management
Performance reviews and appraisals have developed the reputation of being an outdated process. Stressful for employees and often poorly handled by managers, the effectiveness of the traditional performance evaluation can rightly be questioned. But when proactively managed by HR with the objective of transforming the process into a two-way conversation, fantastic results can occur. HR need to act as mentors coaching managers on best-practices to utilise performance appraisals as real opportunities for development.
The approach in utilising performance reviews conducted either on an annual or bi-annual basis is a matter of fact, outdated in nature. Even though the current approach is set out to try solving efficiency problems, we as of now know that there are additional existing issues. One increasingly adverse issue is the lack of leading managers. Leading managers are in essence leaders who opt to offer consistent feedback and flexible work arrangements for their employees. Instead of overlooking staff working on tasks delegated to them only to provide an end-of-year review on their performance, leading managers; coach, train, support and regularly communicate with employees. In doing so, they are able to engage employees by understanding their strengths, weaknesses and on a personal level the type of character they possess.
To pursue these approaches, will see regular feedback and discussion over self-development, better management of rewards and incentives corresponding with performance and ultimately nurturing a high performance culture. Each of these aspects, beneficial as they are in nature, will fundamentally foster for results in performance, growth and importantly, development.