As a manager, it’s important to get the most out of your employees on a daily basis.
However, trying to do this when you can’t afford to give frequent pay rises and the specific benefits that they want isn’t easy.
If you can find a winning formula to keep them highly motivated, you’ll not only improve productivity rates, but you’ll drastically reduce staff turnover rates too.
To help you achieve this, here are six tried and tested performance management tips you can implement in your business today.
There’s a very clear distinction you need to make as a manager, and that’s to position yourself as a coach – not an evaluator.
A review shouldn’t feel like a form of assessment or judgment.
If you do act as an evaluator, some employees may think that you’re not on the same team as them, which can create a clear void in the relationship.
You need to give employees a chance to share their goals with you and then work together to enable you to achieve these.
Of course, you can still raise a few recent issues, but don’t forget to come up with a positive solution or they may feel scrutinised and uninspired.
Performance management chats should be a regular occurrence
If you set certain dates for performance management reviews, you may create an air of anxiety and unrest among your employees.
An open door policy and relaxed tone towards these is a lot more effective.
If possible, try to run these every week, as this will make employees feel like you’re really invested in their futures.
In Harvard Business Review’s “The Performance Management Revolution” article, it found annual reviews…
…“hold people accountable for past behaviour at the expense of improving current performance and grooming talent for the future, both of which are critical for organisations’ long-term survival.
In contrast, regular conversations about performance and development change the focus to building the workforce your organisation needs to be competitive both today and years from now.”
So, even if you still want to hold quarterly and annual reviews, be sure to run regular, more relaxed ones to keep things positive and transparent along the way.
Ask colleagues for their feedback
Trying to keep tabs on every employee during the day is simply impossible.
To give your performance management assessments a more well-rounded view, get the employee’s colleagues to weigh in with their opinions.
A colleague can give you a true indication of how certain colleagues socialise, communicate and perform with each other.
It’s free and effective.
Give employees access to your notes beforehand
One of the biggest flaws of a performance review is that employees often walk into it not knowing what to expect.
This method creates avoidable anxiety and can force an employee to act rashly when confronted about certain things.
Remove the fear of the unknown by giving employees your initial notes and any goals you wish to make before conducting the performance review.
This way, they can have a good look at what you’ve said, prepare calculated responses and raise any concerns there and then.
Once again, it’s all about maintaining an open and transparent channel of communication between both parties.
Prepare and execute
Telling your employees that you will conduct weekly, quarterly or annual reviews is one thing, but it’s vital that you actually stick to it.
Employees want to have opportunities to chat about their progress and plan for the future.
If you don’t do it, you’ll have a team of workers who don’t feel respected and worthwhile – which often results in a high turnover rate.
You should prepare for each performance review with plenty of time in hand by reading an employee’s record beforehand and personalising the meeting.
When you compile your notes, don’t dwell too much on any negative recent events.
You should never scrutinise someone solely on these things, instead, think about the bigger picture of how great they’ve been for the past X amount of months or years.
Listen and engage
Whether you’re having a quick catch-up over a cuppa or a full annual review, good performance management all boils down to the way you listen.
Sure, you can listen, but are you actually engaged?
To do it effectively, you should…
Listen to learn
Don’t just politely listen, ask questions and show the employee that you’re genuinely interested in what they have to say.
You’ll learn a lot more about them doing this.
Be emotionally intelligent
To have emotional intelligence is to get to grips with both your own and others’ emotions.
Try to understand and appreciate how an employee is feeling.
Don’t react in a negative way if you disagree with what they say, just come up with a practical solution to suit both parties.
Repeat the things you’ve heard
To ensure you heard what an employee said or to reassure them that you’re listening, repeat what they’ve said.
Don’t be defensive
Conflicting views are part and parcel of performance management reviews.
So, calculate your thoughts, listen to their opinions and softly challenge them in a non-threatening way.
Prepare to be uncomfortable
As a manager, you’ll always have to face tricky conversations and scenarios.
So the sooner you accept these situations, the better adjusted you’ll be at dealing with them.
All-in-all, it’s essential to remember that performance management isn’t just a case of conducting reviews, it’s about creating an environment in which your employees feel comfortable enough to express their opinions on a regular basis.
Once you form this kind of relationship, you’ll gain a better understanding of an employee’s personal goals and be in a better position to help them achieve them.
A more inspired and valued team will give your company improved results and staff retention.
For more inspiration on how to keep employees happy, check out these other blogs: