Performance management is an important part of employee development, but should you take a coaching or appraisal approach?
Enabling employees to develop their skills is a key part of retaining your talent and getting the most out of your staff. Performance management allows you to balance this alongside the wider organizational needs, but what's the best way to achieve both without compromising one or the other?
Get employees engaged
To get the most out of any performance management system, you need to engage employees with the process. It's important that you clearly communicate the reasons why they need to involve themselves in the scheme both for their own professional development and the wider objectives of the company. Doing this will motivate them to achieve the goals outlined in their appraisals, while also ensuring all employees are working in the same direction to realize the potential of the business.
Define and set goals
One mistake people often make with performance management is not defining goals properly or forgetting to even set them in the first place. As well as ensuring that they align with SMART principles or something similar, it's important you ensure they complement the wider objectives of the company.
As your business goals evolve over time, so should the individual ones of employees. This helps keep all professionals working towards the same goal and gives the organization the best chance of success.
Monitor goal progress
Progress checks are a crucial element of any effective performance management system as they allow managers to identify and resolve any obstacles that may be preventing employees from working towards their goals. It also offers a valuable opportunity to ensure that they are still aligning with the organizational objectives, which will naturally change over time.
You should make the most of performance management software that allows you to track employee data across a year and even further. This allows you to effectively compare different periods to see how an individual, team or the company's performance has changed.
As part of monitoring the progress towards goals, managers should also be holding regular appraisals with their team members to give constructive analysis on each individual's performance. This should be in relation to their goals and the wider ambitions of the company, but should focus on areas where they have excelled, are making good progress towards their goals, and points where they still need to do more work.
Although managers will want to critique employees to get the most out of them, it should be an exercise that encourages loyalty to the organization and, as such, ensures that it's not a blame game. Instead, if there are areas where significant improvements need to be made, make sure you are asking what support they need. These regular meetings also allow companies to truly understand their talent and identify the professionals they may be able to coach to be the next generation of leaders.
Coaching is as much about reward as it is about strategy and goal setting. You need to devise a reward structure that motivates employees to achieve their goals but doesn't put the company in jeopardy. Cash rewards may be one of the best motivators, but for most companies it's not financially possible to give a meaningful amount to each employee who succeeds.
Instead think about how else you can acknowledge the contribution that professionals have made. From dinners out to bonus days off, there are a wealth of ways to congratulate employees without having to compromise your bottom line.
Insights for Professionals provide free access to the latest thought leadership from global brands. We deliver subscriber value by creating and gathering specialist content for senior professionals. To view more HR content, click here.