This article was published in the February Issue of Employment Today
New Year's resolutions often include eating better, getting fit or finding a new job. In the same way that we set personal New Year's resolutions, business leaders can use the start of the year to set professional goals and make significant changes to areas such as performance management to engage and improve your staff.
The annual performance review is not a new concept. Managers hate doing them, employees dread them and they generally don’t achieve what they set out to do. It would be difficult to find anyone who would completely disagree with this view.
There is now an increasing trend to move towards an environment where a manager really gets to understand the performance of those reporting to him or her; an improved workplace where employees know throughout the year what’s expected of them and how they’re progressing in meeting those expectations.
Instead of an uncomfortable, formal meeting intermittently throughout the year, the expectation is that manager and employee will meet informally and frequently throughout the year to discuss how things are going, whether changes need to be made and what both are looking for in the future. Employee development therefore becomes an ongoing part of the discussion and can be tailored to suit the present and future needs of the individual employee and their role and the wider business. Such a process also ensures that positives can be recognised and negatives addressed as and when they occur.
Business leaders should consider some key elements when updating their performance management process and annual review.
Even the smallest amendments to performance management processes can make your employees feel more engaged with their work and allow managers to have more scope over how performance metrics are tracking.
Consider the following:
1) Establishing processes for relevant communication with staff
One of the most important elements of performance management is communication. Regardless of whether you're planning and talking about work expectations or recognising good achievement in the workplace, there need to be processes in place to do this in a productive manner.
To build on workplace relationships, performance managers should make it simple for employees to access information and feedback through personalised meetings, for example. Taking place as often as needed, these meetings should focus on the individual's performance and development as well as how they can improve in the future. If both sides are on the same page about how their performance is managed, the outcomes should be more positive for everyone.
2) Changing how you talk to people in the office
While it's good to create the framework for performance management communication, the actual way that this is done also can't be understated either. If there are challenges in someone's performance, these have to be framed in a way that is productive and respectful.
Instead of simply listing a number of faults, identify examples where improvements can be made and allow employees to contribute to this feedback. The more engaged with their performance, the better the performance will be and this starts with how you handle the situation.
3) Training managers and those being managed
In many New Zealand businesses, middle managers and even some senior managers get promoted without having specific management training. If this is the case in your business, work with these managers on a personal basis to ensure that they are confident in a range of contexts including problem solving, conflict resolution and delivering feedback.
It’s always good to have new life breathed into what’s become an old, established regime – let’s make sure we develop solid, effective ways that will enable the new regime to deliver to its full potential.
If you would like to develop your own performance management structures in 2018, get in touch with the team at Strategic Pay today.
Strategic Pay is at the leading edge of developments in strategic remuneration, performance management and performance improvement solutions.
We help organisations improve their performance by ensuing employee effort, remuneration and rewards are closely aligned with business objectives, and by providing a compelling proposition that attracts, retains and motivates the best people.