employee performance managementIn last week’s post, we discussed 10 ways to effectively communicate with employees.  The end result of effective communication is, among other things, increased employee performance.  Now that you have increased performance, do you allow it to evolve organically or should you actively manage it?  

Managing employee performance needs to be considered as important as managing the company’s bottom-line performance.  Would you ignore the bottom-line and allow it to ‘do its thing’?  Of course not.  Unfortunately, many businesses choose to ignore the importance of evaluating and managing their employees’ performance on a consistent basis.  Needless to say, it isn’t surprising that these businesses are often ‘flat-liners’, or businesses whose growth seems perpetually stuck in the mud.

How can you avoid flat-lining your company’s employee performance?  Apex Leadership Ltd published a useful resource detailing their top 15 Performance Management Tips.  We selected the 5 we thought were most critical to successful employee performance management. 

  1. Honest and open communication – Employees can’t optimize their performance if they don’t receive honest feedback on how they’re performing.  Managers oftentimes avoid performance reviews simply because they’re not comfortable with ‘creating conflict’.  Bad idea.  Not only will employees remain in the dark regarding where they stand in relation to goals and expectations, their poor workplace habits and practices will never be adjusted.     
  2. Keep it simple – I’m sure you’re familiar with the KISS principle.  If not, here’s a quick refresher.  Successful businesses make it easy for employees to understand their performance goals.  A job made too complicated results in a confused, unproductive, and most likely, short-lived employee.  Why make it complex?  Rather than focus on the minutiae, build your performance strategy on the very basics of a goal. 
  3. Make goals interesting, challenging, and engaging – The key here is understanding your employees’ abilities.  Giving them goals too easily reached leaves an employee unsatisfied.  Goals that go above and beyond the employee’s ability results in frustration.  Goal setting should focus on balancing the employee’s strengths and weaknesses with the appropriate challenges.   
  4. Build on strengths more than correcting weaknesses – Employees perform at their highest levels when their work engages their strengths.  While weaknesses can be managed and corrected, the successful manager will seek to avoid giving an employee tasks that focus on their weaknesses.  Seek to steer the employee towards goals that achieve company objectives while taking full advantage of their individual excellence. 
  5. Get the right tools for the job – The days of maintaining endless file folders of employee information are coming to an end.  Invest in technology.  It’s efficient, secure, and typically simple to use.  With HR and employee management software exploding into the marketplace over the past decade, maintaining employee performance data has never been easier.  Not all systems are created equal, so take the time to evaluate a number of options before deciding on one that works best for your business.    

Give us your thoughts.  How has your business successfully managed employee performance?