Did you just complete your annual performance reviews at the end of the year? If so, congratulations! No? Then, that probably means you’re still dreading it’s that time of the year!
How often have you heard a business leader grimace or otherwise complain when someone in HR announces it’s time to complete your annual performance reviews – again? People often think of performance management as that thing they have to do once a year at the end of every year for HR so that people can qualify for their bonuses. While that may be part of the process, I hope for your sake that isn’t all that performance management represents in your organization. To be effective, it really needs to be an always, ongoing activity!
Managing performance is the only reliable way to assure your people are not only working on the right things but also on track to meet your expectations and deliver your intended results. Imagine what would happen if you only did that once a year. People would regularly lose focus, and you would produce less than stellar results for your customers and shareholders.
The process of managing performance is about giving your employees the feedback – both positive and constructive – they need to succeed and getting continuously better results with and from them throughout the year. If “good enough” is good enough for you and your organization, you need not read the rest of this. If you want to retain your top talent and produce even better results in the year ahead, I invite you to consider the following eight successful strategies for enhancing your performance management process and creating an always, ongoing process.
- Educate your Managers about the critical role they play in managing performance and providing ongoing feedback throughout the year to help their team members succeed.
- Establish a regular and consistent schedule for all performance management activities, complete with weekly or maybe monthly one-to-one check-ins, quarterly performance discussions, and at least annual if not bi-annual performance reviews.
- Support your Managers’ routine performance conversations with their Employees by sharing standard Stop-Start-Continue and Plus-Delta templates with them to help them focus on individual performance in these conversations and reduce any anxiety they may have.
- Create simple employee recognition programs so your Managers can quickly and easily reinforce positive behaviors by catching their team members doing something right rather than regularly criticizing them for doing something wrong.
- Develop a consistent and objective performance evaluation form that rates Employees on both competency-based factors like “Professionalism” and “Customer Focus” and individual performance goals relevant to their work.
- Encourage your Managers not only to discuss past performance but also to identify future goals and development objectives with their Employees during their more formal annual/bi-annual review meetings.
- Empower your Employees to take ownership for their own performance and career development as well by completing self-assessments as part of the review process and always being open to performance feedback – both positive and constructive – throughout the year.
- Identify the learning needs of your Employees based on everyone’s completed reviews and plan appropriate training and development opportunities, including building leadership capacity for coaching and employee development, to meet the changing needs of your workforce.
Whether you’re using a more robust online system or just a paper-based questionnaire, performance management is about so much more than the annual review form. It’s about creating the opportunity for rich two-way communications between Managers and Employees. If these conversations are happening throughout the year, then there should not be any surprises where Managers share past judgments and opinions they have never shared before during the annual performance review.
And while HR is the facilitator and keeper of the process in many organizations, performance management is not their job alone. Performance management requires the continuous efforts of both Managers and Employees throughout the year to have any meaningful impact on organizational performance. The whole reason we’re doing this is to get continuously better results, so doesn’t it make sense that once a year isn’t enough?
When done well, an effective performance management process produces continuous performance improvements throughout the year, rather than isolated feedback that might inspire unsustainable behavioral change only around review time. So how are you going to make performance management an always, ongoing activity in your organization? If you want some additional recommendations on where to start first, give us a call at 310.589.4610 or email us anytime. You can also visit the Keynotes & Workshops page of our website for more information on a targeted workshop on this subject we facilitate with our clients all the time.