April 2015 Newsletter

Five Best Practices for Effective, Year-round Performance Management

“How do we manage performance year round, not just at appraisal time?”

I get this question frequently.


Those inquiring may have heard the current wisdom that employee performance management is a year-round activity — not just an appraisal-time function. Or they recognize that their annual performance appraisal isn’t doing the job, and they’re looking for change.


I tell them, “Think Kevin Garnett.”


I’m not being obtuse. To the contrary, I’m giving them a precise answer. Because as of February when Garnett rejoined the Timberwolves, he became basketball’s “poster boy” for performance management.


A veteran player, he will be the on-court mentor to the team’s young players who just “weren’t getting it.” And with his presence and his on-the-floor and in-the-locker-room coaching, the team hopes things will start to turn around for these youngsters.


“Whatever he says, we’re going to do it,” point guard Ricky Rubio enthused after Garnett arrived, a sentiment the ownership, managers and coaches hope all the players share.


Those of us in business or in leadership positions in any organization can learn from Garnett, Rubio and the Timberwolves. For us, performance management works in precisely the same way.


It comes down to continuous coaching and counseling — of giving individual, constructive, goal-focused feedback on performance.


If this sounds difficult or like a lot of work, you’ll be relieved to know that there are best practices that help make year-round performance management more effective and easier.


So just what are these best practices? I’m glad you asked. There are others, but here are five of the most important:


#1 Provide ongoing coaching and development activities
I’ve already mentioned continuous coaching and counseling or persistently giving your employees individual, constructive and goal-focused feedback. Add to this development activities where you see a need for shoring up an employee’s skills.


The more continuous your feedback and coaching, the more likely you’ll identify and address challenges.


#2 Keep notes
Have you ever tried to recall the details of something that happened a year ago or even several months ago? Not as easy as remembering details of something that happened an hour, day, or week ago, is it?

So what happens when it comes to employee evaluations especially if we give evaluations on an annual or semi-annual basis? That’s right. If we have no documentation when we go to write employee performance reviews, we get distorted appraisals.

 

The solution? Keep records of employee performance year round. Note milestones, accomplishments, successes and challenges as they occur when details are fresh and clear.

 

The better notes you keep, the better you will be able to evaluate your employee. Indeed, you will be able to provide detailed feedback filled with real examples.


Employees should keep notes, too.


The better notes they keep the better and more visible their contributions and perspective.


#3 Monitor progress
I’m talking managers AND employees here. Both should review goals monthly, or at least quarterly. Your objective is to

The more consistently you monitor progress, the quicker you can adjust goals that need changing.


#4 Keep performance management top of mind for everyone
There’s nothing hard about this. It’s just a matter of solid communication, e.g. regularly sent emails that

The more you remind everyone about the importance of performance management, the more it becomes a year-round activity and part of your organizational culture.


#5 Hold frequent review meetings
I hear you: “Not more meetings!”


But hear me out. I’m not talking overloading yourself or your managers with paperwork and processes.


Your goal with quarterly or monthly meetings is to provide your employees with feedback, to check on goals to ensure their relevancy and appropriateness, and to identify development requirements. This doesn’t require a lot of paperwork or approvals.


With frequent review meetings, your managers and employees will benefit from dealing with “fresher” information. This means they will deal with performance issues early on, before they become stumbling blocks.


The more regularly you hold review meetings, the more you’ll encourage ongoing dialogue and feedback between managers and employees.


Do you see the pattern here? The more consistent…the more consistent… . The better…the better… .


Here’s the bottom line. I know year-round performance management takes diligence. But the better you adhere to the best practices for managing performance year round, the more effective your performance management will become.


It’s also critical to realize that the longer you follow these best practices, the easier it gets…for everyone in your organization.


Because if you don’t understand this, you may give up too soon and return to that annual appraisal process that fails to meet your employees’ need for feedback, coaching and recognition.


Your Solution Toolbox: Learning Why We Do What We Do


When it comes to performance management, it helps to know what makes people tick. Why do they do what they do? What are their basic thoughts and feelings? How are they likely to behave in given situations?


And not only what makes other people tick, but what makes we ourselves tick as well.


By gaining insight into why we do what we do, we can change. By gaining insight into why our employees and co-workers do what they do, we can adjust the way we approach them.


Well, today I’ll tell you how you can gain that insight. I’ll tell you about Profiles Performance Indicator™ (PPI), an assessment tool that can help identify key innate behaviors, those lodged at our cores.


You can use the Performance Indicator™ to understand your employee’s behavioral characteristics. Why they behave the way they do when under pressure, for example. You can also use it to evaluate differences in employee styles.


A personality style employee performance assessment, the PPI measures behavioral tendencies in five critical, job-related competences: productivity, work quality, initiative, teamwork and problem solving.
It also outlines how to use the knowledge you gain.


If you would like more information about the Profiles Performance Indicator™ or any of Profile International’s assessments, call me today at 952-322-3330 or send an email to mgorski@mgassessments.com.


HR Consulting
Call me, too, if you are looking for professional assistance with your personnel questions. We’ll help you learn how to:

Let's Talk! We offer a no-obligation consultation to informally assess your current policies, procedures and practices. This may help determine what's missing in your current programs. Again, call 952-322-3330 or send an email to mgorski@mgassessments.com.



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