Your business doesn’t work without your people. Being able to manage employees and teams is critical to your overall productivity and success. The way you do so will depend on your performance management process, including the tools you use to keep employees organised, motivated and able to collaborate efficiently.
With the aid of technology and automation software, performance management has evolved. Let’s take a look at what it means and how you can implement an optimised process within your organisation.
Performance management is a continual process between employees and managers that allow them to both give and receive feedback. The goal of performance management is to help ensure that employees have what they need to perform their job duties successfully. Additionally, performance management helps to highlight any problems so that they can be addressed and resolved promptly. When employees can perform their tasks according to a plan, the overall organisation thrives and can accomplish their own business goals.
Performance management is not the same as talent management, however. On the one hand, talent management is the work done to retain employees and satisfy their personal needs so that they feel happy at their job. Performance management is a two-way street of control that allows employees to share their inefficiencies in their day-to-day and also receive feedback on how and where they can improve to help better the company’s position. It’s a collaborative process.
Feedback turns out to be a necessary component of employee satisfaction and provides them with pertinent information to reap success. As such, performance management must be a continuous process within your organisation.
Performance management is a cycle that consists of 4 necessary steps. They all work together, so when taking part in performance management, don’t skip a step!
Planning: Employees must understand what’s expected from them to gauge how they are doing and be able to receive actionable feedback.
Defining: It begins by defining their goals and communicating these goals with them. Not only should this be done in the job description, but once a new hire joins the team, it’s important to reiterate what will be expected from them.
Write SMART targets: To do this efficiently, you can define goals using SMART - which means that they are: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-based.
Set Performance Standards: Given these SMART targets, you can set the standards by which their performance will be assessed.
Feedback: As mentioned, performance management is a two-way street. Once you’ve communicated with employees what they will be held accountable to do and measured upon, get their feedback. It’s essential because they may have questions, modifications or be able to confirm that they feel ready to take on the tasks.
Approval: Upon completion of the feedback stage, both managers and employees can approve this step so that the process has been kicked off collaboratively. This also gives employees a sense of ownership over their work.
Coaching: Once the goals have been set, the coaching stage, which consists of continuous meetings commences.
Organisation: Organise regular check-ins and meetings so that managers and employees can communicate how things are going.
Training: When an employee is struggling, they want to know that they can ask for help. Setting up the relationship as one in which you train employees and allow them to air their challenges will make this step more transformative.
Feedback: Both parties should feel comfortable to give and receive feedback.
Objectives: By staying connected with the original purposes defined in step 1, then management can make sure that the work is being done and up to the standards set. Not only will this include checking that the job is being properly carried out, but it also involves the reward stage to acknowledge when an employee has been crushing goals!
Review: Formal reviews typically take place annually within an organisation. Automation tools can be highly useful in storing historical data so that you can see how an employee has grown year-over-year.
Review performance: Over a set period, management looks over an employee’s performance in what’s also known as a performance appraisal. Since performance management consists of regular check-ins throughout the year (be it weekly, monthly or quarterly), this annual check-in will also serve to plan future goals.
Review process: Managers and employees should not only focus on employee’s performance. It’s also an excellent time to review the overall process and ask questions like, “Did the employee achieve goals?” / “Were there challenges that persisted?” / “How did management’s feedback help/hurt their performance?” and “Can this process be better?”
Goal completion: Take a look at both small and large goals. If you pinpoint challenges in these areas, you can brainstorm solutions together. For example, many employees who have a lot of work to complete in a short amount of time may make avoidable human errors. If you notice employees entering data wrongly, for example, then the business can suffer losses. Instead, a solution could be to implement a data automation tool that automatically sources data and inputs it into a centralised location with no errors.
Constructive feedback: Again, both parties should have the freedom to share their actionable input.
Action: Within business, it takes action to make changes!
Rewards: An essential way to motivate employees is to reward them and give recognition for a job well done. While it doesn’t have to be just monetary, it probably will include some form of compensation. It can also be in the form of time-off, granting leadership opportunities or giving said employee new and exciting projects.
Looking ahead: The final step is to look forward and work together on how this process will take shape next year.
Businesses set in place their best practices and expect employees to work in best practice. This is important to monitor because it helps to avoid underperformance. However, some companies may face challenges when expecting everyone in their team to be on the same page, especially if the team works from different locations or if management is not on top of what’s happening.
Automation tools can help to ensure that teams are working at best practice by standardising processes, providing the necessary resources to work as efficiently as possible, holding each party within an organisation responsible for their work (as it can be easily tracked through access controls) and providing metrics to see how and what is/isn’t working.
You want employees always to do the best they can. However, it’s likely that at some point or other, you’ll run into teams or individuals who are working less than optimally. Underperformance can come in the form of:
But, it’s not always only the employees’ fault, which is another reason why performance management is so critical. Some factors that can cause underperformance include:
There’s a clear way to avoid underperformance and help to keep your employees on track, which consists of these steps:
For continuous performance management, be sure that you have covered all of your bases so that employees and managers are aware of how their performance is to be measured and actively managed. Here’s a look at the key factors:
Data automation tools are necessary for organisations that wish to operate at maximised efficiency levels. Automation tools make the job easier for both employees and managers, as well as stakeholders and customers. They aid in:
The ability to service your customers comes down to the tools you use and the people doing the work. Organisations that thrive have processes that are adequately designed, and teams whose performance is consistently measured.
With a performance management process in place, you can rest assured that your team will function as best as they can. When things are not working efficiently, an automation tool will help you to realise issues early on and can offer the solution by which they can be easily changed for improvement. With this in mind, the way by which employees and managers work together will play the most prominent role in how your business flows day in and day out!