A HR Manager at a leading multinational recently sent us the following email on performance management:
“There’s something broken in our process. Everyone is working hard, but our employees complain that the annual feedback they receive does not reflect the work they are doing. We can’t figure out which system to follow to improve things.”
At the core of performance management is a communications relationship between the leader and his or her team that helps the organization achieve its aims. An effective performance management system must assess the strength of the communications relationship occurring by answering six questions:
- Can employees describe their jobs?
Managers help employees make sense of how their respective roles fit into the organization. Provide each employee with a clear job description, which will ensure that employees understand both the expectations and primary functions of their jobs and the key relationships they are expected to maintain and strengthen with other members of the organization, such as customers, suppliers, etc. Strengthen performance management by having employees review their job descriptions annually and update them with the boss and human resources.
- Do employees understand and have access to what they’re expected to know?
In organizations both large and small, there is often a gap between what leaders expect their followers to know and what followers believe they are supposed to know. Employees who are missing information don’t have a clear idea of where to turn to get what they need. These communication and training gaps fall on the leader’s shoulders. Consider re-evaluating your current on-boarding plan to improve employees’ knowledge about processes and products.
- Do leaders and employees understand the most critical processes of their jobs?
Make sure that processes are documented in a way that employees can understand them. Next, review the processes to see how consistently employees follow them.
Finally, assess the capability of each process to produce the product or service to the required standards. Few things harm employee morale more than being held accountable for something they cannot control.
- Which skills and resources do employees need to do the job?
Where capability refers to a process’s potential to produce results, capacity refers to the resources required to execute the process. Before you hold your employees accountable for performance, ensure the appropriate capacity exists for execution.
- Do employees/ managers know if they are winning or losing?
You don’t possess true knowledge and understanding of a job unless you can measure it. Good measures clearly tell employees if their work and the team’s work is good or bad in relation to organization’s goals. Relevant measures capture both what has already happened and what is currently happening or about to happen.
- Do employees get the feedback they need, when they need it?
Don’t wait to make adjustments; help the players on your team understand what they are doing while they are doing it. Hourly, daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly feedback loops can be designed to allow employees to observe and self-correct on their own.
Finally, don’t abandon the annual review. Stepping away from the daily operations and reflecting on their overall performance helps employees gain deeper understanding of their progress (or lack thereof) over the past year. Annual goals encourage accountability for performance. You should be able to look back and see a noticeable difference.
To achieve your company’s strategic goals, enroll your managers in a performance management training course to ensure they know what success looks like, how to facilitate it, and how to measure it. For a free consultation on our training, email firstname.lastname@example.org.