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Five Key Factors to Effective Performance Management

Once your people leaders have been properly prepared to execute performance management in your organization, there are five key factors that lead to success for the workforce that we are going to review here.

  1. Setting the Right Expectations from the Start

When establishing the goals for a position, you need to make sure your people leaders have what they need to clearly communicate and review the goals and expectations of the position to the employee.  This should include job descriptions, policies, procedures, and performance program documentation.

Do not neglect other key components in this process that go well beyond paper.  This includes your company culture (the actions and behavioral norms of the organization), the work environment, and the modeled behavior of the managers and leadership team.

  1. Crucial Conversations

Recognize that discussions about performance are often challenging and require patience, trust, and mutual respect.  Establishing a comfortable environment where honest feedback can take place and is received as a tool to support the employee’s success is easier said than done.  Special attention should be given in the training and support of your people leaders to have crucial conversation with their staff to achieve success.

  1. Listening as a Powerful Tool

Here is your chance to demonstrate diversity of thought and an inclusive behavior.  If you do all the talking it is not a conversation, it is a lecture.  Think about how you could possibly demonstrate care for the employee if you refuse to listen to their thoughts and ideas, as well as their feedback.  You can be confident in knowing that you will learn something from the employee if you only take the time to listen.  Empower the employee to provide you feedback, and this means teaching them how to share with you what they need from you in order to be successful in their respective roles.

  1. Accountability is not Punitive

If the only time you provide an employee feedback is when they do something wrong, the entire system of performance management will be perceived as punitive.  Instead, ensure your conversations are consistent and relay constructive feedback regarding when the employee if both meeting or falling short of established expectations.  If you are building trust and engagement with the employee, you must be sincere in your communication about performance.  Positive accountability leads to improved performance, professional development, the closure of skill gaps, and enhancement of capabilities.  Even your best employee has room to develop and grow, and you should take advantage of your performance management program to support their continued success in this manner.

  1. Recognizing the ROI of a Successful Performance Management Program

How does the business benefit from building and executing an effective performance management program?  Of primary importance should be the validation that you as an employer are getting what you pay for.  If employees are not meeting expectations, you are not getting what you pay them to do.  That, alone, should motivate any employer to take performance management seriously.  Other benefits for the business are increases productivity, maximizing workforce capabilities to deliver your products and services, improved trust and engagement with management, effective communication, professional development, and opportunity for succession planning.  When executed well the organization is also informed as to the creation of effective training and development programs for the workforce.