Performance Management Defined
Simply put, performance management is a process to help managers and employees to know where they stand. Done right, performance management can lead individuals, leaders, and teams to higher levels of performance results and better alignment of behaviors with desired cultural values and norms. Leaders need to pay attention to performance management warning signs.
Typically, performance management includes how to:
- define performance and behavioral expectations
- set individual and team goals
- provide constructive feedback
- have difficult performance conversations
- guide career development conversations
- review performance
Performance Management Is Crucial to Business Success
An effective performance management system is critically important to individual and organizational continuous improvement. We believe effective performance management starts with ensuring that each employee understands how their job success and failure is fairly measured in terms of both behaviors and results in a way that aligns with the overall corporate strategy.
Be Clear on the Goals
A report from Gartner claims that less than 20% of HR leaders believe that performance management achieves its intended goals. It seems that many companies are asking the system to do too much and managers to do too little. The good news is that when performance management goals are clear, companies show a 14% higher employee engagement and a 24% boost in workforce performance.
Top Performance Management Warning Signs
So, if you are committed to an effective performance management process, what should you watch out for?
- Lack of Leader Support
Unless your leadership is fully committed to the program and actively role models the process with their own teams, the performance management process will fall short. Make sure all stakeholders are actively involved in the design of the program so they, along with leadership, are on board.
- Lack of Strategic Clarity
Performance management should be 100 percent aligned with the organization’s business and talent strategies. Make sure to identify and link every part of the performance management process to the critical few strategic priorities that matter most to the people and to the business.
Describe goals, objectives, and success metrics simply and help employees see a clear line of sight between their daily work and the company’s overall success.
- Lack of Cultural Alignment
To help people to perform at their peak, your performance management process must be aligned with the way work truly gets accomplished, measured, and rewarded. Any cultural misalignment will wreak havoc on the best laid performance improvement plans.
- Lack of Performance Focus
Too many performance management initiatives become technology-led implementations. When the focus is on system requirements, integrations, and functionality rather than how individual and group performance can help improve strategy execution, employee engagement, career development, employee retention, and performance, your initiative is in trouble.
- Lack of Training
Many performance problems are simply due to the lack of performance management training. Make sure your employees have the skills to perform their jobs at the level you expect and that both managers and direct reports are equipped to have consistent, effective, and meaningful performance conversations.
From an employee perspective, ensure that you know your manager’s expectations for performance conversations, know what your manager cares about most, and can articulate how your performance directly impacts your boss’, your team’s, and the organization’s mission, vision, and strategic priorities.
From a manager perspective, ensure that people leaders can create a high performance culture for their teams to do their best work, navigate their careers, and know where they stand and how to improve from a performance and behavioral perspective.
- Lack of Feedback
Effective performance management requires ongoing, timely, and meaningful feedback. Stay close to your employees as they go about their jobs so you can offer both recognition of a job well done and constructive coaching on how it could be done better.
The Bottom Line
If you want to become a high performance organization, pay attention to the design of your performance management process and how it is being implemented. How you set and manage performance expectations can make the difference between workplace complacency and performing at your peak.
To learn more about performance management trends, download Performance Management Best Practices – The Top 5 Factors