“Performance Management”. A phrase that strikes fear in most employers, and every employee. It is associated with managing poor performance and disciplinary problems, none of which is fun of course. However, an effective strategy aims to develop employees to their full potential, increasing their performance and productivity and ultimately assisting with engagement and retention. It is a common misconception that only corporates or big businesses benefit from a structured system. Here are our top tips to using structured appraisals to help get the best out of your workforce.
- Make sure employees know what you want for your business and that any goals you agree for them are aligned to help you achieve your overall objectives.
- Identify any criteria that can be measured for all employees but focus on matters important to you; for example, if attendance and punctuality are key then include that in your assessment.
- Have a clear job description for your employees. As well as any generic criteria, you need to assess them against the specific job you hired them to do.
- Qualify what ‘good’ means. If you are going to rate someone on being a team player, explain what that means in your business and have specific examples to back up any points you make.
- Make time. Set an appointment for the appraisal, find somewhere quiet and private, and give it the attention it deserves. A rushed meeting or one that keeps being moved sends the message that the appraisal isn’t important to you. It can leave your employees feeling that they aren’t important either.
- Appraisals shouldn’t be one-way. Let your employee talk and listen to what they say. Offer the opportunity for them to feedback too.
- An appraisal should be for life, not just a once-a-year opportunity for employees to hear where they are failing! Don’t wait until the scheduled meeting to raise an issue that has been bothering you for months. If you have employee problems, tackle them as they occur. Equally, if you only tell your staff they are doing a good job annually, don’t be surprised if they move on or become disengaged. Use the appraisal to give lots of positive feedback as well as constructively identify areas for improvement.
- SMART goals, KPI’s, objectives; whatever you use, keep it simple. Your employee wants to know what is expected of them, what they can do to be successful, and what are the benefits. Agree on a plan of action together and document what you have agreed.
- Understand what is important to your employees. A reward and recognition programme can foster great behaviour, but it must have value and not everyone has the same motivators. A training opportunity, some extra time off, or the reward of a coveted parking space might have more value than a bonus.
Don’t let that be the end of it! Too often performance management is just an annual appraisal that ticks boxes but doesn’t achieve anything. Decide the frequency of formal appraisals that suit your business then conduct ongoing feedback and check-ins to see how your employee is progressing, discuss any challenges, and see if they need any support. Jessica Kriegel at Forbes recently reported that continuous feedback enhances employee experience and is a major cornerstone in performance management in 2022. Make sure you follow up on any agreed actions, opportunities and rewards in a timely manner too.
FixHR provides documentation and expert advice to help you with a performance management including a system that grows great employees and supports your business when there are performance problems. Contact us if you would like to talk about performance.