Improve Performance Management: 5 Quick Steps to Grow

Posted in Employee Experience

Why now is the time to modernize performance management

“I love annual performance reviews!”

Said no one ever. Performance management methods are often clunky, ineffective, and unpleasant for everyone involved, but it’s still important to monitor team member performance over time. So, how do you manage performance in a way that’s enjoyable and effective for both you and your employees?

We’ve got you covered. Check out our five tips to learn how you can modernize your performance management process and better track, manage, and enhance your team’s performance.

1. Increase conversations

Old-school performance reviews only happen once or twice a year. These formal meetings usually consist of unproductive conversations about past behaviors and compensation. This backward focus often leaves employees feeling discouraged and unrecognized for recent accomplishments. They may also feel restricted in what they can say because of the fear of missing out on potential compensation.

Modern performance management

Formal meetings are still an important part of modern performance management methods, but they are not the only conversations team members and managers should have. Good performance management relies on frequent and honest communication.

Discussions should stretch beyond past behaviors or compensation evaluations to include:

  • Gentle nudges for improvement.
  • Compliments for daily achievements.
  • Discussions on goal setting.
  • Behavioral reviews to prevent negative actions or thoughts from becoming habits.
  • Encouragement for positive thoughts and actions.

Traditional performance management tactics center entirely on past incidents. Modern methods take on a forward focus. You can give real-time feedback to help your team members understand how to adjust or boost their current efforts to meet expectations and goals.

Increasing the number of conversations you have with your team will help your organization move forward. You will gain valuable insights into employee performance and progress, your team members will better understand expectations and goals, and your organization will have clearer direction and success.

2. Involve team members

Managers take charge of traditional performance management methods. They are the ones setting goals for their team and then rating each member based on an arbitrary scale. The problem with this system is that it’s catered to the manager’s preferences and biases. It doesn’t account for employee strengths and weaknesses, and it often leaves employees in the dark about how they measure up to their manager’s standards.

Modern performance management

New performance management methods are collaborative processes where employees and managers work together to create goals and drive success. Instead of managers using their own perceptions to rate team members, employees evaluate their own progress. As Marcus Buckingham writes:

“Although we are not reliable raters of others, people can reliably rate their own experience.”

Consider involving your team members in performance management, as this practice will give them ownership over their work and behavior. You can partner with your employees to review their past performance and craft goals that will stretch them and increase their capabilities.

3. Foster a growth mindset

Single annual reviews often leave employees feeling judged and discouraged. These meetings tend to point out all the negative things about an employee while skipping insights on how to improve. Team members may be left disheartened and unmotivated, as they may think there is nothing they can do to improve their performance.

Modern performance management

Every individual can learn and grow. As a manager, your job is to ensure your team understands they have that capability. (This is called having a “growth mindset,” or believing you can grow and improve when you make mistakes.)

A global survey performed by the Wellbeing Project in 2022 found that resilience was particularly low in the workforce, and leaders had a significant impact on the well-being of employees. As a manager, you have the power to support your team members and help them rebound from setbacks. Incorporating a growth mindset into your performance management will encourage your team to take a proactive, optimistic stance on feedback.

4. Recognize achievements

Outdated annual or biannual reviews often consist of discussing a collection of things that have gone wrong over the months. The list of negative incidents tends to outweigh recognition for great achievements, leading employees feeling discouraged and unnoticed for their efforts.

Modern performance management

Effective performance management recognizes daily wins and accomplishments to better encourage and support employees. Positive attention can be 30 times more powerful than negative attention in encouraging higher performance. Giving praise where it is deserved will help you to build trust and confidence.

Taking the time and effort to recognize achievements will require you to hone interpersonal skills and reach beyond your biases. When you emotionally hype up your employees by celebrating their accomplishments, though, you can create a powerful team that consistently meets performance goals.

5. Set clear goals and expectations

Traditional performance management processes leave employees unsure about manager expectations and business goals. Management methods either evaluate employees on vague, unactionable goals or extremely data-driven standards that miss important markers of success or improvement. Whether goals are over- or under-defined, old-school performance reviews almost always look back and never forward.

Modern performance management

Performance management is about setting clear goals and expectations with team members so that they know what they are working toward and how you will evaluate them. Progress measurements and data are still important, but employees should take an active part in setting realistic goals that are deliberately aligned with business goals and growth.

While goals and expectations should be clearly defined, they should also be flexible and agile to accommodate changes in business environments or employee circumstances. Work with your team members to create goals that are customized to their abilities and check in with them often to adjust goals as situations change.

Effective goals will:

  • Boost employee performance.
  • Guide future professional development.
  • Inspire growth and improvement.
modernize performance management

Modernize your performance management process with Enboarder

When you’re ready to say goodbye to outdated tactics and welcome modern methods, you can trust Enboarder’s communication and workflow tech to help. We’ll assist you with implementing people-centered technology that streamlines your performance management process, improves communication, and helps your people shine. Book a demo online today to learn more about our performance management software.

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