A research piece from Gartner has discovered that as low as 41% of employees perform optimally at work, while 29% of human resource leaders are confident in the effectiveness of their organization’s current processes in helping their workforce sustain and achieve their best possible performance. Boosting such suboptimal work performance requires performance management, a critical business function that ensures employees align and meet the organization’s expectations and proactively work towards its goals.
Of course, no company will share the same procedures and processes regarding performance management, as factors like their industry and unique culture will lead to differences. Nevertheless, several organization-agnostic guiding principles can help you find success with how you approach performance management in your business.
Define Clear Expectations and Goals
If you have taken leadership workshops in Singapore before, you may already be familiar with the universal importance of defining clear expectations and goals for your people, which also applies here in performance management. This starts with conveying your definition of success in each role, expected outcomes, and valued attitudes and behaviours in the office environment.
Communicate these expectations and goals frequently so employees never lose sight of their goals and always understand how they will be evaluated. Ideally, this should start as soon as the onboarding process and proceed in team conversations and 1:1 meetings.
Use Multiple Ways to Evaluate Performance
In many companies, it is common to evaluate performance in quarterly or annual surveys where employees are scored based on several criteria to check whether they meet expectations. However, many experts now deem this traditional method, which assumes workers follow a normal distribution curve, as being highly ineffective.
Instead, it is better to take an agile approach where ratings are either replaced or augmented with self-assessment, team-driven feedback, and regular conversations and become more employee-driven. This enables a more representative and comprehensive view of employee performance while minimizing blind spots and biases.
Give Regular Feedback
As mentioned, the traditional approach to performance management is no longer sufficient for today’s modern working environment. For one, annual reviews only cause employees to feel demoralized most of the time and are increasingly becoming pointless. What’s more, it is worse than doing nothing since poorly equipped managers that provide feedback in one huge lump in such reviews are sure to shut people down immediately. Instead, managers should give ongoing feedback to their teams, both constructive and positive, with multiple methods and pay close attention to how they respond. And most importantly, make sure this feedback is timely, specific, actionable, and occurs as a two-way conversation that facilitates collaboration instead of just being one-sided.
Foster a Culture of Non-stop Learning
Organizations must do more to help their employees seek development opportunities and possess a growth mindset. On the flip side, those who have a workforce that lacks the drive to continually improve need to find ways to foster a culture of continuous learning in their company.
The first step towards achieving this goal is eliminating the parent-child dynamic commonly associated with performance management. Doing so encourages employees to reflect on their motivations to step up their capabilities. HR can help foster this culture of non-stop learning by providing opportunities to partake in development and training programs, encouraging employees to learn from one another, and offering resources that let anyone seek out their own learning content.
Recognize Performance and Address Any Issues Immediately
Providing recognition and reward for good work is essential to motivating employees and reinforcing positive behaviour. But if traditional ratings are no longer at play, how can managers determine which employees deserve praise?
Studies have shown that ratings in traditional performance management are more often than not based on inconsistent and biased data, not because of poor managers but rather our fundamentally flawed skill in rating other people.
Instead, it is better to hold regular conversations as they can provide a better picture of how employees are doing, which can also change throughout the year. Talking to employees and determining where they excel and need support is much more effective for rewarding their performance than simply rewarding all those who “exceed expectations” in their yearly appraisal.
Good performance management is among the pillars of the success of any organization. By keeping the principles listed above in mind, business leaders can better navigate the journey towards creating a culture of collaboration, high performance, and continuous learning that benefits their employees and the organisation as a whole.
Whether it is improving performance management or other aspects of your employee management, StrengthsAsia is the partner you can trust to unlock the potential of your people. Our tailored programmes leverage the StrengthsFinder tool to nurture and develop your employees by helping them discover and maximize their talents and strengths.
By unlocking the best version of your people, you get one step closer to becoming the best in your business. To learn more about our offline and online corporate training courses and workshops, feel free to reach out to us here.