The Performance Management Process: Could You Be Doing It Wrong?
When many organisations think about performance management and the way they measure the success of teams and individual employee performance, they think about annual performance reviews.
November 19, 2018

When many organisations think about performance management and the way they measure the success of teams and individual employee performance, they think about annual performance reviews.

But effective performance management should be so much more than a yearly assessment.

Smart companies spend time creating and nurturing a dynamic, ongoing performance management cycle. Read on for the do's and don'ts of developing a performance management process that effectively measures performance levels.

Don't: Use Static Job Descriptions and Annual Reviews to Measure Performance

It's common for human resource teams to create job descriptions, then recruit and hire staff members based on the employee qualifications. They assign job responsibilities and performance expectations. They provide managers with a standard appraisal form to evaluate employee performance on a yearly basis.

When the yearly review period comes around, whispers of dread about impending performance appraisal circulate among the office. Managers have individual, closed-door meetings with their direct reports and rank the employee's performance level on a standardised scale and give them an overall employee performance score.

Poor performance in any area is addressed and high performance is rewarded, often with a raise. The performance review is filed away in a stagnant performance management system and never mentioned again until the next review period is over.

Do: Develop a Dynamic, Ongoing Performance Management Process

In the scenario above, employees and managers are both largely removed from the process. The same type of performance appraisal might not work for one department over another. Job descriptions change and departments modify performance standards to meet the needs of the organisation.

Instead of having a tense performance evaluation every year, managers should have ongoing conversations as part of the assessment process and talk with their teams on every work assignment. It's a two-way street. Employees should feel comfortable giving constructive feedback regardless of their rank in the organisation.

Robust, frequent communication about organizational goals may even remove the need for annual performance reviews. When goal-setting is a group process and individual performance is measured on a regular basis, everyone knows who is demonstrating poor performance and who is consistently hitting targets on time.

Don't: Ignore High Performance

Every organisation's most valuable asset is their human capital. Without the best talent, the best vision and goals will never come to fruition. Many business leaders fail to appropriately reward and recognise exceptional performance.

The dangers of dismissing successful performance and failing to reward high achievers are deep. However, it's easy to do and happens frequently because managers focus on addressing poor performers, 'Free-Riders' and unmotivated employees.

What happens when you neglect your highest performers who drive the best results? They feel ignored, lose motivation and they eventually start seeking other opportunities with companies that promise the rewards and recognition they crave. Don't lose your highest achievers to the competition when you can retain them easily.

How do you retain them? That leads to our next ‘do.’

Do: Recognise Top Talent and Reward Them Appropriately

Organisational leaders may not notice when employees disengage and feel invisible because their hard work isn't appreciated. The longer it goes on, the more the risk for attrition and turnover. Millennials especially desire constant feedback and public praise for their efforts.

Be creative and develop ways to implement recognising high performance and loyalty into your performance management process. Raises and bonuses aren't the end of the line. Here are just a few ways to reward high performance:  

  • Invest in your high performers. Create a career development plan with opportunities for developing specific competencies to develop your future leaders. Showing employees that you are invested in their future with the organisation speaks volumes.
  • Give public praise. When an employee goes above and beyond, send out a departmental or company-wide email summarising what they did well and thanking them for their effort. The employee feels rewarded and the rest of the team may get a motivational boost.
  • Accept feedback. If you see promise in a high performer, let them provide feedback about your processes. Invite them to a committee to review your performance management process. Employees from different departments see things through different lenses, which provides valuable insight and keeps your staff engaged.
  • Promote high performers. If you don't have the budget to give everyone a raise, you can still recognise talented team members with status. Promote a coordinator to a manager. Promote a manager to a director. Announce it company-wide. However, be careful not to assign new job responsibilities without appropriate compensation.

Incorporate Promises Into Your Performance Management Process

Consider replacing your traditional performance appraisal process with tools that promote transparent accountability towards measurable goals. Foster a work environment where team members list and report their progress towards goals and tasks in a public space.

When goals are achieved, everyone knows. When someone drops the ball and falls short, they have to face the consequences because it's visible to the entire team. When team members commit to a promise in a transparent setting, they are much more likely to fulfill their obligations.

Employees don't want to be the known for missing deadlines or halting progress on a project. When the evidence is visible to everyone, people work harder to show their integrity and develop a reputation as a high performer.

Integrate Smart Software Into Performance Planning

Performance management doesn't have to be difficult or complex. To accurately measure true performance on a timely schedule, use software that automatically tracks and documents individual employees’ commitment to job responsibilities and overall performance.  

Samewave is social performance management software that takes the guesswork out of your performance management cycle. This software gives organisations the tools to track and measure promises and collaborate on their commitments. With Samewave, every level of the company can view performance — from entry-level staff to inquisitive board members.

Samewave generates ongoing, real-time status updates and graphic reports, keeping everyone in the know. Plus, the innovative performance management system and includes chat streams, measurable goal tracking and simple, instant communication tools.

Why rely on an antiquated, hidden performance management process when you can measure achievement automatically with software that works? Samewave is free, so sign up today and transform how you measure performance today.

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