What about Performance Management?

Performance Management

In a high-achieving society like ours, where outperforming is an ideal, a driving force for aspiring people, it is more than necessary to talk about the systemization of such aspirations, and evaluation of the said. 

This is where performance management tools and techniques come into play. 

Its philosophy behind them is simple: if you want to motivate your employees to work their best to attain the company growth, you need to set the proverbial game, explain the rules (and double-check if everyone has understood, and is on board) and measure the results. In the aftermath (which is never really an “after”, it’s an ongoing process), you need to let the employees know about the results, fix where it’s rusty, and start the process all over. 

Usually, it comes down to two things: it’s either lack of motivation or lack of ability. A general rule of thumb: don’t assume, ask instead. Judgment is of no help, but honest and correct assessment based on data and some “soft” input, are.

The goal, as we said, is the company growth, and why not, beating the competition. It involves driven workers, and since happy workers work happily to achieve these goals, you need to make sure they are happy. 

Happy in terms of meeting their goals through efficient performance and high motivation, perfectly exemplified by our friends from the digital agency Houston

Because when you know the rules and outcomes, and you know the method of achieving them, wouldn’t you be happy knowing you’ve contributed to the overall success, let alone if you were outstanding, and got personal rave reviews?

Performance management is of utmost importance, no matter the size of your company. 

Therefore I’d like to direct your attention to the two articles on the topic: the first is plainly called Performance Management Tools and Techniques which goes on to explain the 5 most important aspects of it. 

The other is the most exciting piece I’ve read called The New Manager’s Guide to Performance Management, written by the former manager, offering an insightful and honest discourse and a lot of tips.

Let’s see what they say.

Five Key Points

  1. State your expectations directly. People need to be clear about the aims and what their part is, and also the methods of getting there. So, goals, routes, and context need to be clearly defined.
  2. State your measurement guidelines directly, clearly, and objectively. What is success in the context of your company, and to each one of them? They need to know how you measure success, and how often, in case they need help along the way. 
  3. Don’t focus on just “measuring success”- focus instead on measuring some specific aspects of their work leading to it. That way you’ll make sure they stay motivated, with the possibility to fix any issue, if necessary. General success measurement doesn’t even work with the kids, let alone employees. On the contrary, that’s the path to insecurities and disengagement, because it’s not scalable and it doesn’t address any specific problem- it just states the problem, which is never motivating. 
  4. It is not an annual event- it is ongoing, and as such, should be relevant, precise and well-adjusted to help your employees where help is needed (e.g. skills training, or motivation)

The Simplest Definition by “the New Manager’s Guide”

Here it is: performance management helps your workers do their best. 

How?

By these two things:

a) Setting expectations clearly.

b) Making all of the team members accountable to the expectations. 

Easier said than done, for a number of reasons. 

You need to check if they truly understand the expectations part (not all minds work the same way) and if they know what great performance is. Also, they need to know you’re there to help when they are failing. And to make things more difficult, expectations are constantly evolving, together with their skills and the needs of your clients. Sometimes, managers know that these aren’t smooth conversations, so they procrastinate themselves. The article goes on to explain in-depth the reasons behind motivation or ability problems and offers some ingenious tips. 

It’s the Technique That Counts

There are quite a number of tools and techniques for PM. Techniques include:

  • SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound) objectives
  • Objective development
  • Appraisals of Performance
  • Coaching
  • PDPs (Personal Development Plans)
  • Rewards and Recognition

General Tools Guidelines

Tools are really innumerable, and we won’t go into listing them because they are various companies’ products and as such, have so many different features. But we’ll give you some guidelines as to what to look for when deciding which one to take:

  1. How it looks is important for several reasons: it’s more lovable and easier to use. So, look for a great user interface.
  2. Is it extremely difficult to break through it? If so, move on. Find the one that’s easy to learn and make sure you get the right kind of support by your company down the road (tutorials and training).
  3. What are the features? How is feedback managed? Is it engaging and flexible, calling the right attention? What about the reporting tools- are they modifiable and reliable? Is the software capable of making performance plans? Do you get any distance learning material/ courses, webinars…? Can you create content easily? Can you integrate the software with other tools?
  4. Is it worth the penny? No small prints when it comes to costs?

Conclusion

No aspiring company can work without a proper plan, one of the development and growth included. And it simply can’t be done manually, without the help of the tools and techniques discussed in this article. Which you choose is a question worth pondering upon, and deciding in accordance with your company’s motives, goals, mission, and vision.

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