Launching your new performance management process
But how do you launch your new process so that it sticks with your employees?
The performance management process is more than just a buzzword. It’s a pivotal Human Resources led process that helps maintain productivity. Yet, introducing or enhancing the performance appraisal process can be daunting.
It’s not just about goal setting; it’s about ensuring that team members understand, appreciate, and commit to the process. In order to ensure that managers and employees fully engage with this process, there are key areas of focus.
Key Takeouts in This Article
1) CommunicationCentral to any performance management is ensuring that everyone knows why you are doing it and what’s in it for them. This will mean different things to different people; senior management team vs managers vs employees. But where it really counts is with your employees. If they see the benefits for them personally, you will get much better buy-in.
2) EducationIt’s all very well having a process, but you must ensure that everyone knows how to actually do good performance reviews and act on the output from them, especially managers. Simple things like how to give constructive feedback, how to write good objectives or how to make development plans can make all the difference.
3) ConsistencyOnce you have the process in place, make sure it’s followed. Not just the reviews, but actions that come from them.
4) Leading by exampleThe performance management process is an inclusive one that the CEO and senior management must buy into to. They are not immune to the process and must follow it themselves. When developed and applied properly, it will become a component of organisational management that every employee takes seriously and follows diligently.
Why is it vital?
At the core of any performance management cycle lies effective communication. Without clear dialogue, the bridge between organisational goals and individual objectives weakens. Whether it’s a line manager explaining performance standards or human resources detailing the annual review schedule, clarity is crucial.
Tips for Effective Communication:
- Tailored Messaging: Each group within an organisation, from senior management to employees, has unique concerns and needs. Address these specifics to ensure all parties are on board.
- Highlight Benefits: When employees feel the performance review process will personally benefit them, they’re more likely to invest in it. Showcase how it aids in personal growth and aligns with their career aspirations. Answer their question “What’s in it for me?“.
- Maintain an Open Door: Foster an environment where employees and managers can freely discuss the performance appraisal process, ask questions, or share insights.
Ideas on what benefits you can mention in your internal communications:
- It helps them with your career development
- It can identify parts of the job you find difficult, frustrating or stressful and help you overcome those difficulties through training, support or finding better ways of working
- Clearly defines what’s expected and can show them how they fit with the bigger picture. Well-defined objectives make it clear what is expected from employees. A clear understanding of shared goals will reinforce to employees the role they play towards driving organisational success
- A performance review is as an opportunity for broader feedback, giving employees a platform for upward feedback or to share feedback on others, ensuring that no good deed ever gets forgotten
- It’s a standardised procedure that helps ensure equitable treatment of employees
Why is it essential?
The phrase “knowledge is power” rings true here. Familiarity with the process empowers both managers and employees. It’s one thing to know about the performance management cycle; it’s another to truly understand its components, from 360-degree feedback mechanisms to constructive feedback sessions.
Tips for Effective Education:
- Workshops and Training: Host sessions dedicated to elements like setting goals, problem solving, and delivering feedback. Equip team members with the tools they need.
- Resource Availability: Whether it’s a guide on performance appraisals or a portal dedicated to goal setting, make sure resources are accessible.
- Practice Makes Perfect: Role-playing can be invaluable. Allow managers to simulate performance review scenarios, enhancing their confidence and competence.
Why is it pivotal?
Consistency is the linchpin holding the performance management process together. When employees and managers recognise a consistent pattern, they know what to expect and how to prepare. Whether it’s an annual review or a mid-year check, having a predictable pattern boosts trust and engagement.
Tips for Upholding Consistency:
- Scheduled Check-ins: Beyond the annual review, implement regular check-ins. This not only ensures that employees are on track but also fosters an environment where feedback becomes routine.
- Tracking Mechanisms: Utilise tools or platforms that remind managers of pending performance appraisals and follow-ups.
- Refine with Feedback: As the performance management cycle evolves, solicit input from team members. Adapt and refine to meet changing needs and ensure alignment with organisational goals.
- Use the tools available to you in your performance management software
Monitor the process and Ensure that reviews are conducted properly
Managers responsible for performance reviews must follow best practices that allow the process to be effectively utilised and deliver the desired impact. These include establishing an environment that encourages 2-way communication and open discussions. A consensus should be reached, next-cycle objectives must be set to make it clear what will be measured in the future and training/professional development should be identified.
Little and often: Annual performance reviews alone don’t work. Objectives change and the process must keep up. Also, if development plans are not being followed or are no longer appropriate, acting sooner rather than later is best for everyone.
4. Leading by Example
Why is it key?
Leadership’s commitment to the performance appraisal process sends a strong message. When senior management, right up to the CEO, actively engages in setting goals, giving and receiving feedback, and striving for improvement, it sets the tone for the entire team.
Tips for Leading by Example:
- Top-Down Engagement: It should be public knowledge that everyone, including the senior leadership, undergoes performance reviews. Their commitment can inspire other team members to take the process seriously.
- Showcase Growth: Highlight instances where leaders took 360-degree feedback to heart and made tangible improvements. Such stories can motivate employees to view feedback constructively.
- Continuous Learning is Key: Demonstrate that even the upper echelons of the company are dedicated to professional growth. This can be through courses, workshops, or simple problem-solving sessions.
The success of a performance management process isn’t determined merely by its launch but by its sustained momentum. With clear communication, thorough education, unwavering consistency, and leaders who walk the talk, organisations can ensure that their performance appraisal system becomes a cornerstone of growth. By helping employees achieve their goals and objectives, companies can align individual growth with the broader organisational vision.