A well-planned performance management process is key to aligning your teams, engaging your workforce and ensuring success, not only as a business but for each individual as well. Implementing a performance management process without a strategic approach can result in many losses, most obviously time and money, but more importantly your people, their knowledge and the competitive advantage they provide to your business.
Previous research shows that less than 40% of employees said their performance management system established clear performance goals or generated honest feedback. We want to help you avoid common mistakes such as these, so here are our top 5 tips to ensure you implement your performance management process successfully!
1. Focus on strategic goals
We recommend outlining what you want to achieve through organisation wide objectives, and then specify how you are going to achieve them through SMART goals (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time based). Once you have set the business goals, these can then be used to define goals for each team and individual, ultimately ensuring all personal goals are aligned with overarching strategic business objectives.
It is important to translate and cascade the wider organisational objectives into refined expectations and goals for each individual. These need to be realistic, clearly understood, and easy to track. There are some key things to remember when setting goals. Firstly, avoid setting too many. Being SMART applies at all levels, so ensure the number of goals set are attainable. Similarly, ensure that each person’s goals match the nature of their work and are not contradicting other targets they are working towards as part of their team, or the entire organisation. We also recommend keeping learning & development at the forefront of individual goals. Try not to focus on past performance but look ahead at what can be continued and developed in the future.
2. Communicate and collaborate
Achieving buy-in to the performance management process is absolutely crucial to its success, therefore clear communication is key and collaboration can be the answer! Instead of dictating the organisational objectives to your workforce, why not ask them to help you define them? Even better, ask your employees what successful performance management looks like to them, and incorporate that into your plans!
When first implementing the performance management process, avoid focusing only on what changes are being made. Instead, emphasise why these changes are happening and what the results will be for everyone involved. We also recommend incorporating business wide training ahead of the performance management launch, at both managerial and employee level to ensure everyone is invested in the new process. By getting your entire team involved in the design and implementation of the performance management process, you will engage your people, motivating them more, and ultimately have a more successful performance management system.
3. Remember to reward
Rewarding is powerful. It’s important to adhere to employee expectations if you have promised certain rewards as part of incentivisation to meet their goals. However, the element of surprise is also extremely impactful, an unexpected thank you goes a long way to making your employees feel appreciated and spurred on to continue achieving. We recommend mixing up the types of rewards your people experience, from a simple team ‘shout out’ to tangible prizes.
4. Technology can help
There are numerous HR software packages available to help you streamline and standardise your performance management process. Research completed by ACAS predicts an increase in the future use of such software and yet 84% of organisations do not use any kind of performance management system.
Finding the right kind of software is key, ensuring it is easy to use, aligns with other software that you may already be using, and of course providing training business wide and carrying out extensive testing before launch. ACAS’ research also recommends choosing a tool that is designed to emphasise employee motivation and wellbeing, as well as working across multiple device types to promote continual monitoring of performance.
5. Monitor. Review. Repeat
We cannot stress enough that performance management is a continual process, constant monitoring and review is necessary to achieve successful implementation and this applies at every level. The foundation of performance management is to monitor each individual’s progress towards achieving their goals as well as the business as a whole. Having regular 1:1 conversation with your team can strengthen your employee relationships and underpins a culture of engagement. Encourage your employees to monitor their own progress as well and work together to review these regularly. This allows you to make adjustments together where necessary, such as to initial time scales.
Equally, review your performance management process. Ensure that it is working for you, your people and your objectives. We recommend doing this at least every quarter and making any changes you feel necessary to increase your success.
Implementing a performance management process needn’t be daunting. Get in touch today to discuss how HR Inspire can support you.