Great examples of performance management to rely on
Organizations need a performance management system that actively works for both employees and business growth. A one-and-done is not going to cut it, and neither will generic check boxes.
It must be a living conversation that is documented, well-facilitated, and empowers the employee to become invested in their career and their team. Managers must actively seek input from workers and balance that against strategic growth, keeping it future-focused and goal-oriented.
Here is a multi-step framework that managers can use to ensure they are motivating employees, increasing productivity, and retaining top talent.
Solicit employee input: Sit down with the direct report one-on-one in a private setting. For remote workers, facilitate this coaching session through Zoom or other virtual meeting platform. During this meeting, give the employee the floor. Encourage them to share their accomplishments, disappointments, how they have grown, where they want to go with their career, and any other issues they want their manager to be aware of. Leaders must avoid dismissing, demeaning, or correcting the feedback they are being given. Stick to asking clarifying questions and taking great notes.
Give coaching from managers: After considering what they learned from the employee input and how it ties into the needs of the organization, it is time for the manager to provide their direct report with coaching. They should start with reviewing the strengths that person brings to the team and why the company appreciates their efforts. Back up those observations with individualized examples of a job done well. That opens the door for the next part of the conversation: focus areas. These will be what the employee should focus on developing and improving for the next year. Avoid thinking of this as a list of weaknesses. A few examples of good focus areas for employees could include delegation, time management, or product expertise. Keep it future-focused and empower the employee to own the plan for meeting goals.
Create goals: Now it is time to create a plan moving forward. Though it is counterintuitive, this is not a job for the manager. Employees should ultimately be in charge of their own development plans. They should take focus areas and create a series of goals to meet them. Once the manager gives approval, this will be what they work on through this coaching cycle.
Check progress regularly: This one seems like a given, right? Managers are going to notice if progress is not being made on something, right?? Well, in theory, yes. In practice, people get busy, and things get put on the back burner. Before you know it, things have been deprioritized and forgotten. Meet at least quarterly to check on the progress of each development goal. Even if it cannot progress any further, the manager and direct report should have a conversation around the barriers to success.
This type of coaching-based performance management is intuitive for some while others will have a tougher time. Comfort is not always what is best. Remember, the goal is to increase your company’s productivity, employee retention, and overall growth.
Jessica Bowers is a certified Coach2 for Catalytic Coaching Inc, which is a business partner of Energage, a Philadelphia-based employee survey firm. Energage is The Washington Post’s survey partner for Top Workplaces.