How and When to Manage Employee Performance

Manage Employee Performance This is a cartoon of a boss and employee on the golf course with very different ideas of whether or not to sink the putt

The Best Managers Know How and When to Manage Employee Performance
The cartoon illustrates a classic new manager situation – a lack of communication between a boss and employee regarding performance expectations.  Knowing how and when to manage employee performance is one of the most important skills of a new manager.

Unclear Performance Expectations
The worker assumes he should miss the putt in order to make his boss look good. The boss plans to evaluate the employee in a positive way only if he makes the putt. As a new manager, don’t let this kind of performance confusion block your employees from performing at their peak.

Creating a High Performance Environment
Effective leaders create the circumstances to get the most out of their employees.  Done right, individual performance improvement leads to improved team performance. And improved team performance is critical to your success as a new manager.

Why Annual Performance Reviews Are Ineffective
The dreaded annual performance review is no longer in vogue…and with good reason. A once yearly check-in on an employee’s job performance is not very effective. When you have to think back on 12 or even 6 months of a worker’s job execution, you risk omitting important coaching points…both positive and negative.

An issue may have arisen, remain unresolved and continue to impede your employee’s full engagement in the job. Or an opportunity for learning on-the-job may have been missed. Either way you lose your influence as a manager over improving a team member’s performance in a timely fashion.

How Often Should You provide Performance Feedback?
This is not to say that there should not be some formalized process for reviewing employees on the quality of their work. You need some sort of rating system that can let people know where they stand, help guide merit pay increases and promotions, and create targeted development plans. It is important to have a structure in place that holds managers accountable for engaging and developing their employees.

But we maintain that both the employee and the manager benefit from ongoing, less structured, more frequent performance conversations in addition to the more formal performance discussion.  Hopefully how to manage performance is an integral part of your new manager training.

An Example of a Good Idea Gone Bad
One local school district experimented recently with eliminating number grades in favor of general comments on student behavior, effort, and progress.  They decided to issued these report cards twice during the academic year. You’d have thought that teachers would be relieved not to have to assign specific grades, that students would be relieved of the performance pressure to get high grades, and that parents would be less concerned about where their student fit in the class as long as they were learning, behaving appropriately and trying their best.

But not one of these three stakeholders was satisfied.

  • Teachers surprisingly found it easier to give grades than having to create original, motivating and appropriate comments
  • Students wanted to know where they stood vis-s-vis their classmates and statewide performance standards
  • Parents preferred to have a more standard assessment of their children’s accomplishments and progress

The point is that, in a corporate setting as in an academic environment, regular, meaningful, accurate, timely, fair and transparent performance exposure that lets people know where they stand and helps to both motivate and manage to higher levels of performance.  Employees tell us they want their bosses to review progress regularly, give praise where it’s due, and coach for improvement when needed. This is how you can lead teams of people toward high performance.

You will know you are on the right path when employees:

  • Trust the way their performance is measured
  • Receive frequent and balanced feedback
  • Understand what constitutes both success and failure
  • Know how their goals align with team and company goals

The Bottom Line
The most effective new managers set clear performance expectations. The most effective new managers consistently hold weekly or bi-weekly one-hour sessions with individual team members to review goals, discuss performance, address issues, and stay on the same page. Frequent feedback and attention from caring managers help employees stay focused, motivated and on target.

To learn more about how and when to manage employee performance, download The Top 5 Warning Signs That Your Performance Environment May Be in Trouble

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LSA helped to meet the needs of my teams within a very narrow timeframe. My team walked away with highly useful management tools and practices. LSA saved us time in delivering the right solution for our specific needs.

Sandeep Kumar
Director, Software Engineering, EPG

We partnered with LSA to pilot a customized behavioral interviewing program to help ensure that we continue to hire the best and brightest as we continue to rapidly scale. LSA’s ability to understand our business and our unique culture combined with their desire to ensure that the best practices framework truly fits our performance environment and is highly adopted by our people is a real blessing. Most other firms want to just ‘give you training.’ Not LSA, they are focused on helping me hit our hiring forecasts and attract A players.

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AKQA

LSA has been a tremendous asset to my portfolio, both at my current company and my past company. As an HR leader, I am always looking for ways to find external resources that can provide a solution to our management training needs. LSA does that for me. Their solutions are presented in a much more leadership-oriented manner so as to be crisp, business relevant, and easy to apply right back on the job. I will continue to augment our programs using LSA solutions.

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SeaTel has found our partnership with LSA Global to be very valuable and beneficial. We turned to LSA to customize a supervisory/leadership solution to meet our needs. LSA delivered a customized top quality solution. I’d recommend LSA Global to any company looking for a best-in-class training and consulting partner.

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We have worked with LSA Global for our learning and development needs and have always had great success. They helped us recently with customized Management Workshops that we held for the second time. It was fantastic, and I would highly recommend LSA to anyone that is attempting to get immediate and impactful improvements.

Mary Johnston
HR Manager, BU Radiology Informatics

In the Next Generation Management Development courses, I was trained with skills and tools that have made me and my team more productive, motivated, and successful at communicating with other departments.

 

Kevin Ashman
Firmware Engineering Supervisor

The refreshing thing about LSA is that they focus on understanding our business situation and helping me succeed instead of selling a product. With over 150 experts, they are an invaluable resource that helps me deliver higher quality results faster. I recommend them to anyone looking to improve the performance of their workforce.

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Workforce Planning Bureau

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