Many organizations are moving away from annual performance reviews altogether, but they are still standard practice for many companies. Yet these annual reviews often fall short of being truly effective.
Performance management is best practiced as an ongoing, two-way conversation. One that helps to develop goals and objectives that benefit the team, the organization, and the individual, rather than a once per year conversation that everyone dreads.
To get the most out of the time and energy spent on performance management, and see the improvement among employees that all managers want, consider it an ongoing process rooted in the fundamental skills of goal planning and constructive feedback.
Here are 7 Steps to Maximize the Impact of Your Performance Management Program:
Step 1: Start with goals.
Goal planning is fundamental to optimal performance management. Create goals that are clear and objective. Make sure they are aligned with, and directly contribute to, achieving the larger business strategy. And make sure they are measurable and trackable.
Step 2: Create an actionable goal-achievement plan.
Using the goals established in step 1, manager and employee should next collaborate to create a plan of action. Together they should identify and clarify major expectations along with short and long-term goals. They should also discuss how progress will be evaluated and determine possible challenges that may arise. That way, when they inevitably do, a course of action to navigate them has been discussed.
Step 3: Make it a process.
Goal setting, planning, monitoring, feedback and coaching should all work together to support the growth of the employee rather than a one-time annual meeting reviewing past performance. The feedback loop should take place more often, allowing for adjustments. Consider it a process, not a stand alone event.
Step 4: Track Progress Regularly
In order to provide feedback, make adjustments, overcome obstacles and prepare contingencies, ongoing goal tracking is necessary. A process for marking progress against the goals that have been set, at regular intervals, is a must for the process to work.
Step 5: Ensure objective by using a variety of sources.
The manager alone cannot be the sole source of information when it comes to performance management. That creates a narrow, biased feedback loop. Gathering feedback on employee performance from teammates, external sources, the employee themselves as well as and hard data such as sales reports and numbers will ensure that the information is balanced and objective.
Step 6: Practice Consistent Documentation
The human memory is simply unreliable. And when it comes to performance evaluation, it cannot be relied upon to get the job done. Managers must have a process for documenting anything significant in order to be effective.
Step 7: Build Performance Management into Company Culture
It’s become a widely accepted fact that the one-time annual review is less effective than an ongoing performance management process. Not only does it deliver the feedback when it’s more relevant, but it also allows for ongoing adjustments to be made. This helps to achieve the real goal of the process: the ability to adjust and meet objectives effectively. Creating a positive attitude among employees towards the process is crucial. Building supportive, constructive feedback into the day-to-day interactions will encouragement this.
When designed well, the performance management process should not be a one-time event for everyone involved to dread. It should be a positive, ongoing discussion that helps employees feel supported, reach their goals, improve their performance and move the company further towards the larger organization objectives.
Interested in learning more about how to improve the performance management process at your organization? We can help! Contact us today.