June 11, 2019
Performance management: plan, monitor, review
Performance management is a process that organizations use to align their knowledge workers and resources to strategic objectives and priorities in order to ensure that your company’s short-term objectives and long-term goals are consistently met in an effective and efficient manner. Ultimately, it’s a process or system that every leader should use regularly to do their job effectively. Deloitte University Press refers to performance management as “the secret ingredient” to creating a work environment for better employee engagement, where people more productive.
According to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, performance management relies on a system that incorporates planning, monitoring, and reviewing. Here’s how you can implement performance management effectively in your organization based on these three components:
Assess priorities and establish expectations for each individual. Provide direction, and outline the process by which check-ins will be completed (such as a very brief one-on-one weekly meeting). Remember to be specific; if you are establishing priorities, make sure that your people understand the individual stepping stones that must be completed in order to reach them.
Here’s where following up comes into play: communicate with your people on a weekly basis to gauge their focus levels. How well are they tackling priorities? Simply ask these questions to find out: What are you getting done this week? And, is there any kind of help that you need from me? This system is effective because of its simplicity; if you are going to perform such frequent check-ins, using an approach that’s any more complex than this would not be time-efficient.
When we think of “review,” we typically think of assessing what’s already been done. While that is one component of it, we should instead be focusing on forward-looking purposes. The efficacy of future-focused leadership is overwhelming because it provides employees with new opportunities to improve performance. Be specific about what employees can do differently moving forward; for example, you might want to provide a tangible timeline (i.e., the upcoming week) and set priorities that should be completed within that period (seeking out a certain number of new contacts, etc.).
The 2015 Global Human Capital Trends Report states that companies that are adopting new performance management models “tend to focus less on evaluation and more on agile goal setting, regular feedback, coaching, and development.” Focus on employees’ strengths, and continue to provide opportunities for them to use those assets moving forward.
The benefits of performance management include a highly motivated workforce (thanks to enhanced employee engagement resulting from priority alignment), and even better business outcomes.