With every breakthrough in science and technology, we see another aspect of business management being either automated or improved to cut down on costs and increase productivity. So far, performance management has been left unchanged for quite some time now, but some new studies released by the Journal of Strategy and Business has raised some interesting points that need to be examined.
Are Our Performance Management Processes Really as Effective as We Think?
Most performance management and evaluation programs today bank on a rating and ranking system to assess employees’ performance. But new studies are showing that there are two fundamental issues with this type of performance management system that create very big problems – problems that are actually detrimental to the goal of increasing productivity.
First, the ranking system that many companies and organizations use to rate their employee’s performances invokes a “fight or flight” response due to the fact they feel they are being compared to someone else. This blocks off the reflective intuition in the brain that would actually foster an effective conversation about performance management. In a sense, it shuts the employee’s rational dialogue sector off because they are now worried about losing their job which spirals into a whole slew of other fears and worries.
The second problem that the study finds is that performance management often tends to lock an employee into the mind state that the company feels good performance is fixed. That is to say, there is no room for growth in intelligence, skills, talent, etc. This is an inadvertent consequence of performance management systems, but nevertheless, is extremely detrimental to the intended outcome.
How HR Pros Turn Performance Management Results into Motivational Development
So, what’s the solution? The answer then, as it has been proposed, is supplemental feedback that takes place on a continuous basis, rather than just annually or bi-annually at performance evaluation checkpoints. There needs to be intervals (either regular or irregular) where HR professionals are creating a dialogue with the employees through questioning and feedback.
Did you know that almost 90% of all talented people crave feedback? Give them what they want to engage them, thus fostering a motivational environment that is hinged on development rather than fixed bars of entry. This type of feedback also makes the performance evaluation periods less scary since your employees will already have a feel for how they are doing. They will go into these evaluations with more confidence and perform at levels that actually depict their true performance levels.
When you get true performance readings on an employee, you are better suited to understand progress moving forward i.e. how to help them grow and what to avoid. This eliminates the poor stress-reaction that many people have when they feel their job is on the line and they are being tested. Would you want to let your best sales rep go simply because they freeze up in an evaluation due to nerves? Your next quarter’s sales sheets and revenue would certainly answer that question quickly!
Three Ways You Can Create Ongoing Feedback with Employees Today
To help you get started, here are three ways that you can start the conversation right away, ensuring that your performance management is performing as well as you imagined it:
1. Look at Their Successes. During most performance evaluations, the negative aspects of an employee’s performance are brought up. This can be demotivational and downright frightening if an employee feels their job depends on it. During your ongoing feedback, try to celebrate the successes your employees have. This doesn’t mean you should ignore failures or miscues, but put a more positive spin on the overall performance of the employee to let them know the good they do doesn’t go unnoticed. It’s not very inspirational when someone only notices when you mess up.
2. Keep it Moving. So many performance evaluations look back over the past year and nitpick everything that went wrong, it can be hard to remember that the goal of performance management is improving performance for the future. Keep your feedback sessions orientated on the future, giving clarity to expectations moving forward, what is working, what is not, where the corporation is going—in short, have a vision statement and make sure everyone is working towards that statement from here on in, not worrying about how they missed the boat.
3. Get On the Same Page. Finally, it’s vital that every level of the organization is on the same page. For this, you need a certain level of transparency. It’s not going to work if you implement these strategies for better performance management on your own—the entire team has to buy into it for it to be effective.
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