Build high-performing teams: 5 steps to improve performance management
Engage Your People
Current performance management systems are, at best, something employees and their managers tolerate. And implementing a brand new system for your organization can be equally as daunting for HR teams – especially given how universally disliked the entire process is. However, performance reviews are not only an essential HR responsibility, but when done well can be used to drive engagement, morale, and ultimately performance improvements across your organization.
Finding and implementing the right performance management system that benefits your employees and your organization requires investing in systems that focus on both past measurement and forward-looking development. Often, organizations give too much attention to measurement, without paying enough attention to the learning, development, and strengths of their employees. But effectively incorporating both these metrics into the review process will help build high-performing teams, and increase overall engagement.
Ready to revamp your performance review process into a system that prioritizes measurement and development equally? We’ve created five key steps that your business can implement at any level to improve your performance process. This step-by-step guide will ensure your organization gets everything it can out of performance reviews:
Step 1: Goal setting
While there are many types of goal-setting methodologies that could work for your organization (OKRs, KPIs, or SMART goals could all be great fits), there is an important step to take before you settle on your business’s goal measurement system. It’s essential to first make your organizational goals transparent to your employees. By making high-level goals clear and visible companywide, individuals and teams will feel more connected to and aligned to the company’s mission, motivating and engaging employees even more.
Also, providing a place for employees to store and manage their own goals allows for increased transparency and accountability around individual goals and encourages employees to aim to achieve those goals. Whether you’re just starting out with performance management and using something simple such as a Google Sheet, or you’re more experienced with a software management system like Culture Amp, the crucial thing is keeping a good record of those goals to inspire accountability, growth, and development at the individual, team, and executive levels.
Step 2: Self-reflections
Self-reflection assessments are a pre-review opportunity for employees to reflect on their overall performance, what goals they’ve achieved, and what their potential areas of improvement are. By allowing them to critically analyze their own role, their success in that role, and how they’ve impacted the business, employees often get a stronger voice in their review process. They can examine their own feelings towards their roles as well, and decide what their employee experience is for themselves. By giving them this space to process their place within the organization, you’re encouraging stronger buy-in, creating a better dialogue around performance – without employees just being “told” – and preparing them for what will potentially be said in the review.
Step 3: Quality feedback
Employee feedback is a critical part of the performance management process. But not all feedback is created equally. Positive feedback, while valuable, is often not enough to inspire growth. And ineffective feedback, or even worse, biased feedback, can be detrimental to the employee experience. Since only a third of employees trust that their performance reviews are fair, it’s easy to see just how significant unbiased, constructive feedback can be for an employee’s growth and development. In order to provide worthwhile feedback to your employees, we recommend 360-degree feedback, which goes beyond a manager’s feedback. It collects insights from peers, teammates, and cross-functional colleagues to get a complete snapshot of an employee’s work life. From there, you’ll be able to provide fairer, more constructive feedback.
Step 4: Manager driven
Managers are the best tool in your arsenal. Without them, your performance management process fails before it even begins. By gaining manager buy-in of the review process, they can help you share the benefits of performance conversations with the rest of your workforce. In order to achieve that buy-in, you must provide managers with the training and resources they need to be leaders in the performance review process within your organization. With strong manager support, attitudes can shift around the efficacy of review processes, making it a more welcome and useful tool for your employees and your business.
Step 5: Holistic review
No matter which performance management system you decide is the best fit for your organization, no system is complete if it doesn’t include comprehensive, universal, and standard measurements and ratings across the company. You need this in order to scope potential talent, review pay compensation, give employee promotions, and more.
In order to gain this holistic view of performance, your organization needs three key components, according to the Organisational Justice Theory: process, interactions, and outcomes. When these three components work together, your organization gains increased clarity and transparency, and builds trust. From there, you can count on stronger employee engagement, higher employee growth, and more significant performance. By providing consistent, fair performance reviews your employees will be more open to the performance conversation and will be more accepting of the overall outcome.
Positive performance reviews benefit everyone
Investing in the growth and development of your people is essential to creating a workplace culture that is fulfilling, inspiring, and engaging. Use these five steps to find the performance review process that suits your company and build engaged, high-performing teams. Our comprehensive guide to implementing a performance management system that actually works has even more tips and tricks to help you improve the performance process.