I have known George all my life, a stand-up guy, a go getter and has always been clear about his career and what he wants out of it. But last week when I met him, there was fear I haven’t seen – well at least not since his messy divorce 7 years ago.
After what seemed like a thirty minute pause, he finally opened up, “I have just had it. I don’t know what to do with these people anymore. Performance is not improving and everyday it seems like my job is on the line. I don’t know whether to fire somebody or just let things work out on their own.”
Leading a team like George and seeing it move to the direction you want and give you the results you crave for is quite a rewarding experience.
As a manager you are the one who instills culture in employees and the decisions you make determine how an employee’s performance unfolds. You get to be a part of it and to some extent a reason for it.
But there is one area of employee management that has always been a thorn in every HR manager’s career- performance management!
It’s overwhelming and requires you to wear a totally different hat.
You are reading this article because you want to improve performance management in your organization.
Whatever you are doing seems not to be working – at least not in your favor.
But is performance management that difficult? I would say, if you are making the following mistakes; its time your re-think your strategy;
1. Your performance management process never addresses employee development
Has it ever occurred to you that one of the top things on a candidate’s mind before accepting a job offer is career development opportunities? And it’s also part of the reason they will quit a well-paying job in search of greener pastures.
In today’s competitive job market, it doesn’t take years finding a replacement for a role. What this means for you is that, when doing performance management, there are so many things you can do to develop your employees even if it doesn’t mean a promotion or a new role.
Review meetings are always characterized with you talking about how the employee can change to help better their performance all for your sake or you appraising them for a job well done. What it lacks is what’s in it for that person.
A good performance appraisal process should see to it that an employee leaves that room feeling fulfilled because they have been enlightened not only about their strengths but weaknesses. They also have goals to work towards in the process of improving their performance.
In short, performance review meetings should create a sense of purpose and a clear idea of how an employee’s hard work is going to help the company and their career in the process.
2. Your reviews are not happening frequently enough
A majority of companies conduct performance reviews every end of year or for very few half yearly but that to me is not go enough.
Performance reviews should be an ongoing process because believe it or not the 21st century employee wants to be given feedback every step of the way. They don’t want to wait until the end of the year to be told that their performance is not up to par.
It creates a lot of tension and it’s not good for anyone – not you or their productivity.
To bring the point closer home, in a recent survey, 85% of millennials said that they would feel more confident in their current role if they had frequent performance conversations with their supervisors.
So instead of once a year, start conducting performance reviews twice and then quarterly; in the end you will realize that you will not only improve the performance of your employees but relationships as well.
3. You have the wrong person managing reviews
Just like having the wrong person managing a team creates all kinds of tensions and disengagements, so do performance reviews.
Performance reviews to begin with are a whole load of stress on their own especially when you are doing them once every year but having the wrong person to administer is even more stressful.
In order to be effective, these performance review meetings require a certain degree of trust and chemistry if your criticism or praise is to be taken seriously.
Stop just choosing anyone to do the reviews just because they are available because I can tell you for free that you are doing zero work.
What it all boils down to is that employees are an investment and as an investment you need to ensure that they are at their best because that’s the only way they can help push the organization’s agenda forward and make your job less tedious.
And that being the case, invest in their performance management. Firing someone like George has never been a solution to all performance issues. A lot of the time, your employees are just acting out because you don’t have a system to give them feedback to help them improve their performance and develop in their careers.