Performance management, the process by which a company evaluates an employee’s effectiveness, is an important topic as the workforce struggles to meet the current economic conditions. Keeping good people and providing measurable results helps companies to maintain productivity.
At the very least, employees should receive an annual review with feedback on the entire year’s performance. Even better, they should receive annual reviews with several check-in sessions throughout the year. When performance management is rushed, it results in little useful feedback to the employee and benefits neither employer or employee.
Companies can update their performance processes in many ways. An outside perspective can help in creating and maintaining accountability.
Identifying what performance to measure is key. Some companies rely on “gut feel” to decide if someone is performing well. Create goals with the employee that achieve two things:
- Make the employee more valuable to the company
- Have a measurable impact on the company
Discuss the goals with the employee and get a commitment to them. Too often the goals come across as “what the manager wants you to do.” If the employee believes in and understands the goals, then he or she is more motivated to meet them.
Have goal-setting meetings with the employee. Look at the company and department goals and the role the employee currently plays, and decide together where his skills could make the most impact.
Automate the Process
Many applications are available, including in the cloud, that allow you and the employee to document goals and track efforts. Managing individual goals is not unlike managing any project. Break up the goal into manageable pieces, set a timeframe and report progress against the pieces, which you and the employee can do online.
Streaming Feedback Instead of Point-to-Point
Using an online system also gives you the chance to have a continual dialog with the employee throughout the review period instead of having the occasional check-in. Measuring progress is easier with a continual feedback loop. Knowing when things go well, when there is an obstacle and when the employee is “stuck” and needs assistance is valuable information that meets goals and makes for a more productive review.
Online systems readily engage the employee in his or her own performance management process. By tracking his or her progress in measurable terms, recording issues, listing resolutions and modifying the goals, the employee is put in charge of his or her performance.
Tying into social media and networking creates the opportunity to capture peer input, which is a valuable asset but rarely used for performance management. More fluid than spreadsheets and documents, these systems make it easy to maintain the information that will later feed into an employee review.
Improvements Benefit Everyone
Performance management engages management and employees to help track progress, identify issues and meet individual and shared goals. Companies such as Cornerstone OnDemand have a background in the tools and processes that work with performance management and can offer advice as to what would be effective in any environment.