By exhibiting these five behaviours during performance reviews, managers can seriously boost performance

A recent study by Sussex University has confirmed that a purposeful leader can make all the difference when it comes to employee performance, commitment, retention and engagement. It all comes down to a clear vision, integrity and quality communication — all of which should be present during regular performance reviews.

The Sussex study showed that when leaders display ‘purposeful’ behaviours, businesses ultimately enjoy a diverse range of performance benefits. But how can managers be more purposeful? Moreover, how can they demonstrate this purposefulness during employee performance reviews? These are key questions to ask, given that only one in five UK bosses feel they can describe themselves as a purposeful leader. Below are five key components to keep in mind during your regular performance discussions that can turn your purposefulness into positive results.

1. Managers need to demonstrate strong morals

Before employees can really commit themselves to a role or an organisation, they need to have faith in their managers — that they have a firm set of morals and that they have integrity.

According to one study, 45% of employees have stated that lack of trust in leadership is affecting their work performance — and trust is something that comprises two-thirds of the criteria when deciding Fortune’s ‘100 Best Companies to Work For’. Lack of trust between manager and employee can lead to high turnover and low morale. After all, a trustworthy manager makes you feel secure and encouraged, while a seemingly deceptive one will always keep you in doubt. A lack of trust can certainly be tied to weak morals, so this is something that should be evident during performance discussions.

Company leaders must start by determining their own company values and morals — a critical foundation of any performance management system. Company values should be well-known, transparent and shared. They should feed into personal development planning and be referenced when giving feedback on performance. Once these company values are understood and demonstrated by management, employees will know what is expected of them and their managers, and the company’s morals will trickle down throughout the organisation.

2. Managers need to have (and share) short-term and long-term visions for the company

Performance reviews aren’t only an opportunity for employees to share. They also provide managers with the chance to discuss company objectives and organisational direction. This shouldn’t be kept secret from your employees, or they will feel superfluous and frustrated. After all, it’s well known that organisational success is often linked with a clear mission statement and strong values.

There are ways to get your employees excited about your business vision. You need to start by being transparent and open, even about difficult aspects or challenges that the company is facing. Answer employee questions — this will show them that you, as a leader, have a purpose and you are working towards very definite goals.

3. During performance reviews, managers need to show how employees fit into this vision

Part of your performance management process will involve the setting of SMART objectives. When employees are working with their managers to agree their personal goals, it is much easier to do so when they understand how they fit into the company’s vision.

This is something that should be covered in detail during performance reviews. Empirical research states that when employees understand their overall role in a business, 91% will work towards its success. When managers don’t take the time to elaborate on this, this figure drops to just 23%.

Employees need to be able to see how their objectives feed into company goals. They will then be able to make decisions on a daily basis that will benefit the company in meaningful ways.

4. Managers need to be committed to their employees

If you want your employees to be loyal to you, you must be loyal to your employees and show them they are not dispensable. Employees want to feel they matter to their company, and it fosters an atmosphere of belonging and teamwork.

There are a number of ways managers can purposefully demonstrate their commitment to their employees during (and outside of) performance reviews. Employees can be offered learning and development opportunities, managers can coach and support them to advance their careers if they are eager to do so, or they can consider flexible options when it comes to working hours or home commitments.

Of course, employee recognition and feedback also factor in (and performance management software can help considerably when it comes to recognising employee accomplishments in real-time). Further to this, managers should make it clear that they are willing to take employee opinions on board while being available for in-the-moment communication whenever necessary.

5. Managers should be consistent, fair and available

Managers should be available for communication and feedback at all times. To ensure performance is monitored properly and nobody falls through the cracks, each employee and manager should have catch-ups at least once a month.

Employees should also be confident that they have a consistent experience each and every time they have a check-in. They shouldn’t have to worry about a temperamental manager who might fly off the handle at any minute.

Managers need to be fair, reliable and consistent at all times. As stated in a Forbes article, ”consistency is the foundation of solid management”. It engenders employee confidence and sets their expectations. Erratic leadership makes employees nervous and will ultimately cost you top talent. Though it might not be easy for a leader to fight their natural human impulses when they are frustrated, tired or exhausted, it’s necessary to keep a level head in order to be perceived as a purposeful, solid leader.

Clear Review offers a free one-to-one meeting template to help you conduct fairer and more productive employee reviews. To find out how our innovative employee appraisal software can turn employees into high-performing, engaged and determined team players, book a demo today.