Peak Performance: How Combining Employee Engagement and Performance Management Fuels Organizational Success
The landscape for performance management (PM) is changing dramatically. Business leaders know they can get more value using performance management as a tool to engage and develop people rather than to just assess them. However, while they recognize the link between employees’ level of engagement and their performance, most organizations still operate performance management and employee engagement (EE) on separate tracks, according to a recent survey from Harvard Business Review Analytic Services.
More than 90% of the 717 business leaders who responded to the survey believe that not only do engaged employees perform better, but also that employee engagement is critical to their business’s success. “It comes down to the philosophy of why you’re doing performance management in the first place,” says Josh Bersin, president and founder of Bersin & Associates and a global industry analyst. “There are basically two reasons to do this. One is for competitive assessment, so at the end of the year we know who the top people are and who the bottom people are, and we weed out the bottom people and reward the top people. Or we’re going to do it as a coaching and development process” that recognizes all employees have the potential to develop and contribute more value to the organization. In this latter case, he adds, “We’re going to encourage and teach managers how to have continuous development conversations with their people.”
While most organizations have philosophically bought into a development approach, only best-in-class companies have actually transformed their PM efforts in this way. That’s because doing so requires some systemic, enterprise-wide changes, including:
• Senior leadership commitment to (or at least support for) the approach
• More regular and frequent manager check-ins to give and get feedback, discuss goals, and map out development opportunities
• Leadership development for managers—both to increase their own engagement and to teach them how to improve engagement among their teams
• Software and systems that bring together all the relevant data and help managers gain new insights
Engagement data is an incredibly valuable asset in the drive to better manage performance. Companies that integrate it into their PM efforts are gaining unique insights that enable them to change the game in their industries.