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Performance management means developing goals for employees to work to and regularly checking in to make sure they’re on track to achieve them.
It’s particularly motivating for people who need structure. But done right, it can be rewarding for all.
Performance management helps you achieve your business objectives by:
For performance-based management to really work, you need to motivate people in other ways, eg learning and development, financial and non-financial rewards.
Thinking about performance management has evolved. Experts now agree it’s more effective to give employees ongoing feedback, rather than to talk once or twice a year about how they’ve done over the past year.
Many businesses now focus on coaching and development as performance-based management tools. They’ve switched from rigid annual reviews that only evaluate performance to regular check-ins that help people perform.
This approach to performance management looks at building future performance rather than dwelling on the past — which can be more helpful and motivating for both employer and employee.
Talk about what they’re working on and how you can help them meet their goals. Check goals are helping your employee and your business grow.
Get ready for a performance conversation with your employee. Grab their job description, think about what they do well and what they could improve, identify achievements, what to focus on, and goals that will work for them and your business.
Having a coaching mentality helps employees continually improve and stay on task.
To do this, you’ll need to:
Knowing you’re invested in their goals will help employees stay motivated. Make times during the day or week when employees know it’s ok to meet with you. This helps if you’re constantly juggling business-related tasks with being there for your people.
Studies show when managers rate employees’ past performance, bias can creep in. But when they think about how the person fits into their future business plans, they give a much fairer assessment.
When thinking about employee performance, consider which of the following future-focussed statements fits them best:
Give the person a ranking, eg true, fairly true, neither true or untrue, not really true, not at all true.
This is a much fairer way to decide if someone gets a promotion, bonus or pay rise. Or to raise the red flag if someone’s performance is below par.
This might be other managers, staff, suppliers, clients or someone else.
How employees are meeting their goals may influence your approach:
When people consistently go above and beyond what’s expected, make sure they know you appreciate it.
Different personality types will respond to different things so use your intuition, or ask them. Personality tests are also a great way to learn more about your employees.
People who do exactly what’s expected can sometimes slip under the radar. Their performance isn’t exceptional, but it’s usually right on track. These employees can be a bit like the ‘middle child’. Make sure you keep them motivated by noticing and praising them, too.
Dealing with underperformance means treading a fine line. You don’t want to shatter your employee’s motivation. But long-term poor performance will damage your business and so needs to be dealt with before it gets worse. Don’t assume it’s all them. Make sure there’s nothing they need from you and be open to their feedback.