Posted on September 11, 2013

4 Must-Haves for Your Performance Management Program

In today’s business environment, talent management is crucial to the organization’s success. Managers spend one full work day per week managing poor performers, which takes time away from developing high performers. Also, 70% of employees think their company’s performance management programs are ineffective.

When done right, performance management benefits managers, employees and the organization as a whole. Managers’ workloads are decreased and their teams are more productive, employees are happier and more engaged, and the organization becomes more efficient, allowing them to drive bottom-line results.

In a recent webinar, talent management expert Becky Falvey broke down performance management strategy into four must-haves:

Must-Have 1: System

Technology systems are necessary for an effective performance management program. Today’s workforce challenges demand robust, proactive talent management. Here are several technology systems employers must have:

* A system for tracking relevant documentation, such as performance reviews and job observation notes
* A system for communicating with employees about program objectives, metrics and news
* A system of processes to keep the program moving, such as automated workflows to employees, managers and HR

HR software that encompasses all these processes, such as Paycor’s HR application, provides the backbone to a great performance management program.

Must-Have 2: Process

The second must-have is for organizations to create a simple process and stick to it. Use a memorable acronym or saying to remember the process. Performance management is based on each manager’s interactions with their direct reports, such as a one-on-one meeting or team session. A process should be created to address how managers should approach each interaction, such as the simple four-step process below:

* Prepare for the interaction and what you want to get out of it.
* Analyze the interaction: is there a gap between what you observed and what you expected?
* Coach the employee to help them understand a new insight that will help them perform better.
* Execute against an action plan that outlines next steps and expected outcomes

Must-Have 3: Coaching

Coaching has been shown to improve both performance and employee engagement. Managers should focus on “coaching forward.” Use what you have observed about the employee in the past, but position it towards the future:

* Instead of dwelling on what they could have done better, apply the insight to the next opportunity.
* Challenge the employee to think about how they will use the new behavior in an upcoming project.
* Role-play a few scenarios with the employee so they will feel comfortable using the behavior in the future.
* Discuss what success looks like, so you can both measure future progress.

Must-Have 4: Continuous

For performance management to be successful, it must be happening continuously. Managers should be trained on how to keep the momentum going so they can continue to reap the benefits of improved performance.

* If you have an awkward or challenging interaction with a direct report, *you shouldn’t avoid the issue*—or the employee.
* *Keep to the schedule you have committed to*—shortening a scheduled one-on-one is better than canceling it.
* Build from one interaction to the next by reviewing your notes from last month’s one-on-one or last year’s performance review before addressing the next one.

Once the four must-haves are in place, you will be well on your way in improving performance across your organization. *Learn more about the four performance management must-haves and other talent management best practices: download the recorded webinar 5 Practical Performance Management Tips


Sources: SHRM, Gallup, Watson Wyatt