Strategic HR

6 Strategies for Effective Performance Management

A large part of working in Human Resources (HR) is regulating performance management. Creating a space where you and your employees can produce excellent work and perform to the best of your abilities is no easy task, but with the right strategies, you can make it work.performance

Of course, effective performance management is more than just creating a work environment that works: Effective performance management is about leadership, interpersonal relationships, constructive feedback, and teamwork. Even when it comes to the difficult HR tasks of managing a process your employees don’t care for or find value in, managing a paper process, aggregating data, and keeping other managers motivated to provide employees with useful feedback, there are strategies available that make these tasks more doable.

Whatever obstacles you may be facing, we have some tips to make things run more smoothly and efficiently in the workplace. Consider the following six strategies for effective performance management.

A Wide Scope of Resources

Before we jump into the six strategies for effective performance management, it is important to note all that falls under the umbrella of performance management:

  • Setting expectations for work performance and planning ways to meet these expectations
  • Monitoring employee performance with check-ins and meetings
  • Offering rewards and praise for good performance and addressing poor performance
  • Regularly rating performance through summaries and reviews
  • Continually developing a capacity for optimal performance

Also known as “performance appraisal,” these criteria ensure that an organization is working at its best and providing optimal services and output. In time, effective performance management should lead to organization growth and success.

Try These 6 Performance Management Strategies

1. Define and Communicate Company Goals and Performance Objectives

Your employees cannot meet your performance expectations or company goals if they are not clearly outlined, making this our first step toward effective performance management. Sometimes employers are not as clear as they could be when outlining their goals or company objectives, and often, employees do not come forward to ask follow-up questions when they are confused or unclear about something. Preempt this pitfall by being as clear and communicative as you can possibly be.

You can define and outline goals by using a goal-tracking software, creating a chart within the office, by sending out an e-mail, distributing a flyer throughout the office, holding meetings, or doing each of these things in turn. When you are outlining goals and objectives, repeat the message so that it sinks in, offer visuals (such as an office chart and e-mail) so that employees have a reference, and most importantly, hold meetings to check in on progress.

2. Utilize Performance Management Software

If you are not already using a performance management software, it may be time to consider trying it out. If you do already use one and it’s not saving you any time, your team complains about it, or it has low employee engagement, it may be obsolete and in need of an upgrade. Performance management software can really streamline your performance management strategies, making it imperative that you either begin using one or at least begin looking to upgrade.

A good performance management software system is one that both offers traditional reviews and 360s, is employee-friendly, has an easy-to-use dashboard interface, allows for quick and actionable reporting and, of course, fosters employee development. The software will help both you and your employees stay on top of things so that your company is running smoothly and efficiently at all times. Some useful examples of more modern performance management software can be found here.

3. Offer Frequent Performance Feedback

While clearly communicating company and individual goals is an essential step for any business, communication alone is not going to get you all that far. Your managers will also need to check in with teams and employees periodically not only to gauge progress but also to provide feedback.

Good performance feedback reinforces strong skill sets and positive behaviors while showing opportunity areas with a clear path for improvement. This type of feedback cannot wait until HR kicks off an annual review cycle. Instead, it should be given in real time and integrated into company culture (it should also start during the interview process, but that is another post for another time).

Timely performance feedback is the best way to affirm your employees and their work while also shaping their work effectively. If you have a performance software now, it should be able to help you collect frequent feedback. If not, free tools like Google forms, survey monkey, or even just a basic e-mail request will get you pretty far.

4. Use Peer Reviews

Another great way to foster effective performance management is to utilize peer reviews, also known as 360-degree reviews.  Again, this is a feature that can be found on most performance management software programs. Peer reviews are useful because they allow coworkers to praise other coworkers and highlight positive aspects of their performance, as well as point out where improvements can be made.

This exercise helps employees to work together, build better communication, and assess where they can improve themselves while watching their colleagues. There does need to be some manager or HR oversight into this process, and all peer reviews should be read to ensure that no claims, concerns, praises, or other comments go unnoticed or unaddressed.

5. Preemptive Management and Recognition

One way to guarantee results in the workplace is to implement rewards and practice preemptive management. This simply means that your employees always know what is expected of them so there is never any guesswork or need for consequences in the workplace.

This starts everyone on the same footing, making a fair playing field where expectations are set and goals are known. Rewards, or incentives, are also an effective way to show employees that you care, that you see their efforts and are pleased with their performance, and that you want them to keep up the good work.

In the same way, having a strong “HR Toolbox” in play that helps managers catch slipping employees early on and provide appropriate feedback helps to catch a problem before it even starts. In this way, “Preemptive Management” is all about communicating with your employees and letting them know what is expected, what is not, and how to meet the goals that have been set.

6. Set Regular Meetings to Discuss Outcomes and Results

Also known as progress reports or progress meetings, setting aside time to meet with your team and seeing how things are going with your set goals and objectives are important for meeting those goals and objectives.

These meetings can be held weekly, monthly, or as often as you see fit. Ensure that your team knows that attendance is mandatory. This makes the progress feedback more accurate and allows you to make plans for moving forward.

When holding these meetings, be sure to have a clear idea of what you want to cover. Some objectives should include:

  • Following Up on Peer Reviews
  • Discussing Praises and Areas that Need Work with the Team
  • Recognizing Those Team Members Actively Meeting their Goals and Objectives with Rewards or Incentives
  • Discussing Plans for The Next Phase of Projects
  • Discussing Company Data: Revenue, Customer Involvement, Marketing and Campaign Success, Etc.

You should never meet just for meeting’s sake. You want to have something relevant to address and something worthwhile to talk about. If you feel things are going smoothly, employees are receiving performance feedback and acting accordingly, and the company overall is on a positive road, meetings may be held less frequently and treated as checkpoints throughout the year.

If there are issues, concerns, questions, or ideas you want to discuss, have meetings sooner rather than later. Keeping your team involved, up to date, and in the loop are important for ensuring the machine that is your organization runs smoothly.

These six strategies for effective performance management may seem simple, but they can work wonders when implemented into your company’s day-to-day life. Companies should be about the people involved. Making the most of their abilities, recognizing where they shine, encouraging them where they need work, and seeing them as full employees, not just cogs, are really how you can create the right work environment for success.

Sara PollockAs the head of the Marketing department, Sara Pollock makes sure that ClearCompany‘s message, products, and best practices reach and assist as many HR practitioners as possible.