According to a recent study by Gallup, a staggering 70% of employees are disengaged at work. The vast majority of these people report feeling disconnected from their organization, that their accomplishments go unrecognized and that they are not provided with adequate coaching or opportunities for developing their skills.
The problem of disengaged employees is often the product of the actions (or inactions) of senior and middle managers. Currently most feedback provided to employees is done through the traditional performance review; that awkward, once a year meeting where managers sit down one-on-one with employees to provide them with an assessment of their performance throughout the year.
By focusing on broadly defined employee performance rather than on goal or task-specific accomplishments, standard performance reviews represent a huge missed opportunity to meaningfully engage staff. When properly conducted, performance reviews allow for ad hoc, job-specific coaching, mentoring and feedback, and most importantly, an opportunity to demonstrate to employees how their individual goals align with the overall success of their organization.
When employees begin to feel as though their work and outcomes are in line with the success of the organization and feel supported in their personal goals, they start to engage in their role. High performance does not happen in siloed work cultures, it happens when each employee understands how their individual contributions align with the achievement of the organization’s overall strategic plan and vision.
Consider these 3 strategies for evolving your performance management program:
1. Clearly define and communicate performance expectations
Performance management needs to be conducted first and foremost for the benefit of staff. The process exists to help employees learn and grow with an organization and to better understand their strengths and weaknesses in relation to maximizing their performance. For the best possible outcomes managers and employees need to work together to set achievable goals and monitor and regularly review progress against these goals.
Having clear, measurable, well-defined and realistic performance expectations from their manager ensures that every employee is pulling in the same direction and working towards common goals. Simply put, when employees have greater input on setting their own goals and are provided with regular performance check-ins to evaluate progress, they are far more likely to achieve them.
2. Schedule regular performance check-ins
Standard yearly reviews are too few and far apart. When you think about it, a performance evaluation based on the anniversary of an employee’s start date is incredibly arbitrary. Try conducting more frequent reviews throughout the year that are tied to defined and measurable performance milestones. Managers and employees can agree on expectations at the beginning of a performance period, and then evaluate, adjust and modify those expectations to suit shifting business conditions.
More frequent reviews provide managers with visibility and insight into the performance of their individual staff members. This insight supports managers in developing a much better understanding of collective progress on major goals and can identify and correct problems as they arise.
3. Connect employee tasks and goals to the organization’s strategic plan
Effective employee performance management involves ensuring that employees are aware that their individual goals are directly tied to the key strategic objectives of the organization. When employees’ day-to-day work is aligned with the success of the organization, they become more engaged and recognize the interdependence between themselves and the organization. As a result employees become more committed to achieving positive outcomes for the business overall, and share in that success!
Shifting the paradigm
Here at Envisio we have shifted the paradigm to do away with siloed annual performance appraisals and have adopted a new approach we call Aligned Employee Performance Management. Effective management of employee performance ensures that all activities and objectives throughout an organization are developed, structured, and monitored for the betterment of the business and its strategic plan. It is a process of recognizing and nurturing each employee’s’ skills and strengths to deliver the best possible outcomes that support the big picture.