How to Conduct a Gold-Standard Performance Management Review
How to perfect your performance management system and increase productivity
A continuous approach to performance management, where employees can regularly receive productive feedback from their managers, is becoming increasingly popular with organisations. However, any system or process is only as good as those carrying it out. One of the most common performance management issues is managers not conducting effective performance reviews. So HR departments need to take time to adequately engage and train managers to conduct effective performance discussions in order for the organisation to see real benefits in terms of reduced turnover, heightened engagement and increased organisational success.
If you’re wondering how your organisation might improve its performance conversations, we have compiled a list of tips that can help your employees on the way to providing stellar and productive performance reviews.
Come to the meeting prepared
Before the meeting, consider what you need to discuss and any specific outcomes you would like. Be organised and remind yourself of the employee’s personal objectives and development plans in advance of the meeting. This will save time in the meeting and allow you to focus on discussing any potential barriers to success and how these might be overcome.
Choose a calm, distraction-free environment
Never have a meeting in a hectic, busy room. Such an environment provides a wealth of distractions, and it means that your employee won’t feel like he or she is receiving the attention and recognition they deserve. Set aside the time and find a quiet room, free from colleagues and phones.
Make your employee the focus and the priority
It is important for your employees to know that you value them and their role within the company. Set aside time for your employee, and during that time make them and their work the focus. Discuss how they are performing, explore their strengths and any issues they are having. Ensure they understand how their role can contribute to current business priorities and the overall success of the organisation.
Keep it informal but structured
Informal check-ins are a great way to get the most out of your employees. More frequent communication between managers and employees promotes open, healthy and honest communication. This dialogue means that you will be better equipped to deal with issues as they arise, ultimately leading to a more productive organisation. Despite this seemingly casual approach to performance review meetings, however, you should always remember that structure is integral.
Use performance management software to help keep check-ins focused, ensure they are taking place and capture action points. This software will alert employees when it’s time to check in, inform them of what is on the agenda to discuss and will allow greater visibility for HR, who will be able to see that all employees are getting regular meetings with their managers.
Reward and recognise outstanding behaviour
If your employees are hitting their targets, or if they are going above and beyond, be sure to mention this during your meeting. Don’t underestimate the importance of recognition, which can be linked to improved morale, engagement and productivity. Rewards don’t have to come in the forms of lavish bonuses. A simple expression of your gratitude for a job well done is often enough to motivate employees to continue excelling.
Focus on the positive
Whilst it is necessary for employees to be aware of their shortcomings, it is equally important to focus on strengths and successes. Rather than chastising your workforce on their past mistakes, place the emphasis on how they can constructively make a difference to their own performance. Be specific, use facts to support your feedback and avoid generalisations at all times. It will help to specifically refer to employees’ SMART goals and personal development plans.
Be open to feedback and change
Your performance management system will never evolve and adapt if you do not take on board the opinions of others. Ask your employees periodically if they think there are any areas within the organisation that could stand to be improved and if they have any ideas. You might be surprised at how constructive these ideas can be and how they might revolutionise your company.
Address personal development plans (PDPs)
PDPs are a great way of setting career and skill development goals. This should be a collaborative effort, where employees can consider their own areas for improvement. It is a great opportunity to reflect on areas of strengths and areas for development so that the employee can be more productive in the future. Managers should never neglect the importance of supporting employee career progression, which can lead to reduced turnover, more skilled employees and enhanced loyalty to an organisation.
Collaborate on SMART goals going forward
To maximise performance, employees need their goals to be clear-cut, straightforward and measurable. Dedicate a portion of your performance review to creating and reviewing SMART goals. The act of collaborating on SMART goals can do wonders for your organisation. They provide direction and focus, they have been shown to increase engagement and motivation and they ensure that employee objectives remain aligned with company goals.
Hold regular performance review meetings
Performance review meetings that take place just once or twice a year cannot hope to achieve all of the above. These items need to be discussed regularly in order to have a positive impact on performance. And the payback is well worth the effort – employees whose managers check-in with them regularly are three times as likely to be engaged.
Incorporate the use of performance management software
To make everyone’s life simpler, performance review software should be integrated into your performance management processes. This software makes it easy for employees and their managers to keep track of objectives, give feedback and capture actions and notes arising from check-in meetings. Performance management software also benefits HR by giving them visibility of performance activity across the organisation and by prompting staff of the things they need to do so that HR don’t have to do the chasing. Top organisations utilise online performance management tools to their advantage and have seen amazing results.