How to Embrace Performance Management Systems Again
While most employees in the business world have taken part in a performance management process, few would say they enjoy it or have had a positive experience. Why?
5 MINUTE READ
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August 17, 2018

While most employees in the business world have taken part in a performance management process, few would say they enjoy it or have had a positive experience. Why?

Performance reviews are usually done on an annual basis and tend to focus on the past rather than current employee performance. Team members sit in a room or on a phone call with their supervisors while they listen to grades or ratings they have received on several performance categories.

They are given an overall score, then the performance appraisal document is filed away into a human resources portal and never talked about again until the next year. Often, team members say reviews focus on recent events rather than accurately depict overall performance and that managers carry bias without any real evidence of their actual performance.

In many organizations, performance management systems are a waste of time. The employee review process can cause anxiety and dread for employees and waste many managers' valuable time. Today, we'll talk about how to do performance management the right way.

Give Ongoing Feedback and Assessment

Ideally, performance management shouldn't be a one-time, yearly assessment where direct reports sit in a meeting in a stagnant, formal appraisal process. It should be an ongoing process where both managers and employees give constant feedback to improve the working relationship.

If a manager has an issue with an employee, they shouldn't wait to address it until it's time for the yearly review. For example, if an employee consistently arrives to work at 9:00 a.m. when they are supposed to be there at 8:30 a.m., the manager should bring it up.

The employee may think if they are doing their job well, they don't need to arrive at 8:30 a.m. on the dot every day, and will be annoyed if it's brought up months later. Transparent communication is key to good working relationships.

Do More Than Measure Employee Performance

Many traditional performance management processes focus on making sure employees meet the bare minimum performance expectations, rather than assessing opportunities for development and improvement.

For example, if a team member receives the highest rating possible for 'creating innovative solutions', managers often check a box with a five-star rating and say 'good job!' However, this is a great opportunity to cultivate that specific skill, provide more training and add responsibilities to the employee's job description that best fits their talents.

When employees miss the mark and need improvement, they should be given constructive feedback rather than being chastised and embarrassed by a low score. Organisations should intentionally focus on developing their team members and are given the chance to meet their full potential.

Career development shouldn't be talked about once per year. Employee development plans should be revisited throughout the year and updated to reflect each individual team members' training needs.

Increase Accountability

The performance management process should do more than measure performance; it should increase productivity on a daily basis and foster individual accountability.

Smart organisations use performance management software that can eliminate the need for yearly performance reviews. For example, Samewave is social performance management software that helps managers track group and individual performance.

Samewave helps companies simplify the goal-setting process. It allows teams to set goals, track them and collaborate with chat streams, measurable progress statuses, file uploading and storage, and automatic reporting, in real-time.

Even better, Samewave's performance management solution is free. Sign up today and streamline your performance management process with software that delivers results.

Clarify Performance Expectations

Rather than merely assessing performance, a performance management system should make each individual employees' job expectations crystal clear. It's important to revisit the initial job description that was given to the employee when they were hired.

Be sure to consider job duties and work behavior expectations thoroughly. If a team member is good at completing tasks, but puts others down and is difficult to work with, it must be addressed. Put behavior expectations into your job descriptions and make effective teamwork mandatory.

On the other hand, imagine you have an employee who is delightful to work with who everyone likes. But, they are terrible at getting work done on time, make frequent mistakes and miss deadlines consistently.

Performance measures should reflect all areas. The cornerstone of the most effective teams are ones that clearly understand what is expected of them, behaviorally and professionally for the most productive, collaborative results.

Allow for Employee Input

There are few things more frustrating than sitting through a performance appraisal that is completely one-sided. Employees should be 'talked with' rather than 'talked at' during the review process.

Wise companies make sure the performance evaluation allows for 360-degree feedback, where the review is turned into a collaborative process. Team members should feel free to provide feedback, ideas on areas for improvement and explanations about performance managers may not be aware of.

Furthermore, direct reports should be given the opportunity to review their own managers. This increases employee engagement, but also allows employees to help identify their manager's strengths and identify opportunities for performance improvement.

It shouldn't just be the managers in charge of assessing direct reports. This creates a harmful power structure that can silence the voice of non-managers, stunts growth and promotes a negative organisational culture.

Employees, Be Your Own Advocate

Smart professionals who once dreaded performance reviews that only measure recent performance take control of the situation by documenting their accomplishments on a regular basis. Create a running document and add each success, praise and work accomplishment weekly.

Bring this document with you to your performance review as evidence of your work ethic and meaningful contributions to the organisation. If you're confronted with a performance issue you feel is unfair, you'll have the evidence you need to make your case and show what you're worth.

Create an Effective Performance Management Process Today

The performance management process doesn't have to be one that employees and managers dread. Develop an effective system that helps team members from every level of the organisation grow, thrive and become the best version of themselves.

Make sure your review process is flexible, collaborative, makes expectations clear and provides avenues for identifying and providing opportunities for improvement. Implement these best practices today to create the most productive, collaborative work environment that will drive the business results you want.

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