What You Should Know About Performance Management

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Successfully managing your employees’ performance can help them meet their professional goals and the needs of the company. While it is, to some extent, up to each of your employees to perform to a high standard, you can offer them the tools and resources they need to make it happen. A little support from leadership can really help even lackluster employees improve their performance.

But if you want to effectively manage your employees’ performance, you need to make sure they know what you expect. Underscore the role their performance plays in helping the company meet its goals. Use measurable metrics to evaluate performance and improvement. A performance management system may make tracking performance and engaging with employees about their performance easier.

Performance Conversations Need to Happen Regularly

Employees can’t meet your expectations if they don’t know what they are, and yearly performance reviews simply don’t happen frequently enough to be effective. Yes, you can sit down and hammer out a professional development plan during the annual review process, but by the time the next year comes around, the entire situation under which that plan was created could be different. The goals made last year could be outdated or irrelevant by the time they’re revisited this year.

And it’s not as if performance feedback once a year is really useful for improving your performance the rest of the year. Employees need performance feedback in real time so they can make adjustments to their performance on the fly. It’s no good letting a poor process become an ingrained habit before saying something about it.

You should give performance feedback regularly, whether at group meetings or privately. There needn’t be any paperwork involved. If you run a plumbing business, you can ask your plumbers each day how their jobs went or if they need any tools or training to do their jobs better. If you manage a sales team, you could use a sales leaderboard to inspire some healthy competition and provide performance feedback to your staff. If you run a warehouse, you can measure the accuracy and speed of your workers as they fill orders, and talk to employees who are falling behind to see what support they will need to reach their potential.

Connect Performance to Company Goals

Employees want to feel as if they’re doing meaningful work. It’s one of the top drivers of job satisfaction. And you can help them find that sense of meaning in their work, by helping them see their work in the context of the company’s goals. How does their performance further the company’s larger aims? Help employees buy into your mission and objectives. Share your company’s goals and ask how employees would like to contribute to realizing them. Their answers might surprise you – and might allow you to tap into unknown resources within your workforce.

Performance Goals Should Be Based on Measurable Metrics

When it comes to measuring professional points, always use metrics you can count. For example, if you manage a call center team, you can measure things like call volume, the length of time spent on the average call, and the ratings given by customers at the end of a call. If you manage a sales team, you can measure the number of sales calls they make each period, the number of deals they close, and how much money they make for the company.

Basing your performance goals on measurable metrics makes improvement easier for employees, who would prefer specific parameters to nebulous instructions anyway. They’ll know exactly what concrete actions they need to perform to improve better. And you’ll collect hard data you can use to compare current to past performance and evaluate any improvement (or decline).

You Might Need a Performance Management System

Managing the performance of a whole team of employees can be time-consuming. You should consider a performance management system. A good performance management system allows you to track and collect data on employee performance, and then analyze and track that data over time. You can communicate one-on-one with employees via chat or video link, set goals, and give feedback.

A performance management system could make it easier to schedule and manage interactions with your employees, and keep all of their performance data in one place where you can find and analyze it when you need to. Most software tools have employee self-service portals, allowing employees to access and track their own metrics, find and use resources to improve performance, and stay in the loop about company information.

When done right, performance management can help employees feel supported to reach for their professional goals and the company’s goals, as well. Help your employees reach their full potential with the right performance management strategy and tools.

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