How to Improve Your Performance Management Practices

Times are changing. With the rise of the millennials, and the shift from traditional project teams to more cross-functional, temporary project teams on the rise, organisations recognise the need to work harder to keep their employees engaged and retain their best employees more than ever before. Consequently, organisations are shifting their performance management approach. The traditional, inflexible annual appraisal is proving to be less effective and employers are shifting their performance management practices more employee focused, flexible, regular and two-way communication reviews.

Here’s how to shake up your performance-management practices:

1. Change the frequency of conversation

With organisations operating in an increasingly fast-paced environment, the traditional annual appraisal is rapidly being abandoned and organisations are turning to implementing regular, ongoing feedback and coaching discussions with employees.

2. Personalise it

Each employee is an individual. It’s about how the employees are making progress and not the company. Obviously, there needs to be an alignment between the individual and the overall business outcomes, but in order to keep the employee performing well, they need to be kept motivated and feel in power.

3. Make everyone accountable

Research shows that many mangers feel that they don’t have the right skills to effectively coach and drive the feedback process. Organisations must invest the time to develop their managers and get them to a level of comfort to driving the performance discussions.

4. Start at the top

Leadership starts at the top. Those at C-level must be held accountable and need to lead by example to shift and implement the new performance management process within their organisations.

5. Chart the journey down

You need to clarify who will be responsible for translating your vision and strategies for employees and each subsequent level of leadership. For example, operational excellence, and what concrete actions will achieve it, needs to be communicated all the way along the employee chain.

6. Keep a close eye on it

By having regular discussions with your employees, you will be able to ensure that they have been doing the actual task itself, and not been working on the wrong tasks. Companies often only find out too late that people have been expending their energy on the wrong tasks. Have regular discussions with your employees / teams, but avoid micro-managing as this will only make them feel discourages, and remember the objective is to make them feel empowered.

7. Be systematic

Try to encourage performance feedback on a regular basis. It can be a formal meeting every quarter or an informal, bi-weekly session, but in order to keep up-to-date and ensure employee development is progressing successfully, frequency is key.

I share tips on how to effectively shift performance management  practices to aid employee development, in my recent article “Ditch the annual appraisal: 7 ways to improve performance management,” written for Management Today.

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