Performance review

Simplifying the performance management process

13 Jun 2019 by Alex Wood

The performance management process often gets a bad rap. That’s because it can feel like a once a year task that significantly increases a leader’s workload and then falls off the radar for the remainder of the year. Because of this, it can feel ineffective and even demotivating for those involved.

The performance management process is used to align individual employee performance and development with organisational objectives so that both can reach their goals. While a sound objective, performance management is often implemented with varying degrees of success.

But before you write off undertaking any kind of performance management process as a lost cause, let me outline a couple of reasons it’s actually super important and how you can do it in a way that is simple and meaningful.

Why bother?

There are a ton of reasons why spending time on your staff’s performance and development is worthwhile, but I think the following two points sum it up pretty well.

Staff care

The main reason a performance management process deserves your time and energy is so simple – the vast majority of staff really care about it! Even if you consider your staff low maintenance, don’t underestimate how much they want to hear your feedback, are hungry for some recognition and want your support to reach their ambitions.

I’ve seen awesome staff start grumbling about how their manager never gets around to having performance conversations or just treats the formal process as a tick in the box exercise.

So, when you’re considering putting it off or not even bothering, remember that your staff are probably thinking about it, anticipating your feedback and considering what they want from their future!

Better engagement, better performance

Your staff will perform better if they’re engaged. This usually involves them doing things they enjoy, developing in areas that interest them and working towards specific goals. I know – who knew?!

The best way to find out about these motivators and put in place actions to address them is through a performance management process. And as I’ll explain below, all this really involves is a conversation with your staff.

Super simple steps for success

When it comes down to it, the performance management process is all about having a regular conversation with your staff. There’s no big secret to mastering a complicated process – a conversation about performance and development is all it is.

Here are a couple of tips to make the process as meaningful as possible.

Be authentic

Find a way to make the performance conversation real. It should not be a compliance driven, box-ticking exercise. The objective is to really get to know your staff, what they find challenging, what they enjoy and what they want to achieve. It’s also your opportunity as a leader to provide your staff with real feedback and coaching.

While I would try to avoid these conversations becoming too rigid, it’s a good idea to make sure that you do keep track of goals, challenges and general performance.

Keep it rolling

In order for staff performance development to be a meaningful exercise, it should be ongoing. A once a year conversation doesn’t cut it.

In fact, predictions are that the annual review cycle will get replaced entirely with ongoing, regular conversations. This will allow leaders and staff to easily adapt their goals in environments that are more fast-changing than ever. It will also allow for goals with shorter or more appropriate timeframes than an annual review which doesn’t always make sense.

You’ll know what works best for you and your staff, but conversations should be relatively frequent. My suggestion is to catch up with your staff one-on-one about once a month or so.

Take action

Talking about performance is likely going to lead to discussion of improvement or growth. In order for any discussions of this nature to be useful, make sure you actually book your staff member on that course or give them the business mentoring they’re interested in.

Make these things your priority and your staff will quickly see that you’re invested in their development.

Having the conversation is great and a crucial step in an effective performance management process, but actually following through on agreements is what will count with staff and boost their engagement.

Whether you are implementing your own bespoke performance management process or are following an established process, following these simple tips will help you and your staff get the most from it.

If you need a hand putting a performance management process in place, having tricky performance management conversations or setting goals, get in touch via the Snappy HR website.

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