What Is Performance Management and How Can You Do It Well?

 

 

Managing the performance of your employees is one of the most essential and delicate aspects of running a successful business.

It is a little bit like adding the spice to a curry. Get it right, and you have got the perfect dish to keep everyone satisfied and powered-up. Get it wrong, and you are going to have a lot of unhappy people looking for somewhere else to eat!

While many managers find the concept of performance management intimidating, it’s actually pretty straightforward. Being transparent, authentic, open and honest are the keys to success.

Let’s have a look at some of the key ingredients for effective performance management.

 

What Is Performance Management?

Firstly, let’s cover off the main question… what does effective performance management look like?

Many people make the mistake of assuming that performance management is the appraisal process. But it goes far deeper than that. In fact, effective performance management is actually about creating an environment in your workplace where your team are enabled to perform to the best of their abilities.

As you can imagine, a lot goes into creating that kind of environment. It is not something you can leave to happen on its own – to magically create a great environment without any input.

So, these are our best tips on how to create the kind of space that enables your team to perform to the best of their abilities… and to want to do it!

 

Clarity

Would you send an invite to a dinner party but fail to include the date, time, and location? Only if you didn’t want someone to show up, right? The same goes for managing your staff. Be clear on what they are expected to achieve, how they should best go about it, and give specific deadlines.

A clear job description will help set the initial guidelines. That needs to be backed up by creating the right expectations on both sides of the relationship. Once your people know what is expected of them, they can really shine. It might help to set KPIs or goals in line with their abilities so they always have a target to strive for.

 

Follow-up

The days of formal annual performance reviews are fading away. Modern, effective managers are all about regular check-ins. They don’t have to be formal, structured meetings all the time (though it does help to schedule some catch ups of this nature). The point is to meet on a regular basis. This coaching method lets you catch mistakes early on, identify if people are on the right track, and help them shift attention if necessary. It allows for on-the-spot, timely feedback, and saves everyone’s time in the long run.

 

Feedback

While we all prefer to avoid or delay uncomfortable situations, managers need to give feedback promptly. Don’t save up your input (whether positive or negative) for a formal review when it is no longer relevant. A good mentor and coach will make use of teaching moments, giving constructive feedback as and when needed. You will find employees appreciate honesty (when delivered in a helpful, appropriate way).

Managers should also be setting a good example by actively asking for feedback from their team.

 

Future-Focus

While not every discussion needs to be sunshine and rainbows, it is important to ensure feedback is focused on developing skills for the future, not dwelling on what has gone wrong in the past.

When things go well, you can talk about how to repeat and build on these successes.

When challenges arise, look at ways to avoid and improve on these in the future without placing blame. Perhaps the employee can be paired up with another team member, receive further training to upskill, or be given more resources in order to meet their future objectives.

 

Reward and Recognition

Perhaps the most crucial part of performance management is getting the reward and recognition part right. Your employees need to feel appreciated for the work they do. Sometimes, this can be as simple as a heartfelt, individualised thank you. Other times, it may need to be a bigger incentive.

Most importantly, ensure that your rewards are fair and effective. Keep in mind that this is not a “one-size-fits-all” process. Different things motivate different people. Expend some energy finding out what works best for every individual.

 

If you are looking to get some structure in place when it comes to performance management at your workplace, then we can certainly help you do that. Get in touch with us here at Spice HR to enable your team to perform at their very best.

How to Complete Effective Performance Reviews

Do you groan when the time for performance reviews roll around?

You are not the only one!

Shocked? We didn’t think so. Managers and employees alike dread the traditional annual employee review, which has persisted throughout the business world for decades.

What might surprise you is that the traditional way of conducting staff reviews is not only a total drag, but it is ineffective, if not downright bad for business.

Research shows that a whopping 30 percent of performance reviews actually decrease employee performance. Oops!

But just because the old style of review has become irrelevant to a modern workforce, it doesn’t mean the process should be scrapped entirely. There are plenty of ways to reinvent and adapt your staff reviews so that they are quick, easy and infinitely useful for your employees and the business.

Here is what you can do…

 

How to Complete Effective Performance Reviews

Give Prompt and Regular Feedback

Scrap the idea that performance reviews should only happen once a year at a formal sit down. There are so many reasons this idea just does not work, such as:

  • It is difficult to summarise a whole year in one review, especially if items you want to discuss took place months ago
  • It is stressful for all parties
  • Feedback is commonly only from one person (who may be unwittingly biased)
  • There is little feedback or follow up during the year
  • Managers suffer from “the recency effect” (only recollecting events from the last few months rather than the entire year.)

Staff reviews should be about coaching and developing your staff, not just reviewing past performance. Employees want immediate feedback – even if it is negative. The quicker you can provide feedback, the more likely it is that you can change (or reward) behaviour – resulting in a higher performing individual.

 

Mix It Up

You don’t have to trash the entire concept of the annual staff review. When combined with regular informal catch-ups and slightly more in-depth quarterly conversations, it can be a valuable tool to sit down with your employee and renew their goals and aspirations for the year ahead.

Just make sure it is supplemented with those regular catch ups!

 

Ditch the Numbers

Trying to condense an entire person’s work ethic, success, challenges, goals and behaviours into a single number or rating is not only one-dimensional, but it is also ineffective. Numbers tell you very little about the growth or development of an individual.

Instead, focus on capturing information in a more expansive way. Don’t be limited by a score. The key is providing honest feedback on all areas of their performance. You can tell very little from a number on a page. But real constructive feedback can work wonders.

 

Keep It Positive

It is no surprise that 90 percent of employees are more motivated by positive feedback than “constructive feedback.” Managers who are afraid of conflict might save up all their unpleasant conversations to have at a performance review – preferring to get it all out of their system in one go. But a staff review should focus more on the good than the bad.

Take note of all the good things that your team do. Not just their work, but their attitude around the office, how they help their colleagues, even if they pitch in to clean up the break room. Positive reinforcement is really helpful and will help make performance reviews so much more manageable.

 

Look Forward, Not Backwards

If you are providing feedback to your staff on the spot as it is needed, then reviews can be used more as “previews.” Spend time with your employee creating goals and objectives, rather than spending an hour rehashing old material.

That switches the focus from the past to the future. Talk openly about their goals for the year if they want to upskill and if there is the chance of more responsibility and progression. They will leave feeling energised and ready to take on the year head.

 

Listen Don’t Lecture

This is a conversation between two people. And part of being a good conversationalist is to listen openly. Allow your employee to lead most of the discussion, and listen more than you speak. This shows them that you respect and value their opinion. It will ensure they feel a valued member of the team.

 

Include the Rest of the Band

Studies show that often, reviews and ratings are more reflective of the person doing the rating than the person being rated. Translated, that means the manager may have biases (even if they’re not aware of them). To avoid this, and get a well-rounded, more accurate insight into a person’s performance, bring in peers and other managers, or even request customer feedback for a 360-degree review.

 

If you are still groaning and scratching your head about the performance review process then feel free to get in touch with us here at Spice HR. We can help you to establish a review process that works for your workplace. Drop us a line today.

 

Using Emotional Intelligence To Become An Inspiring Leader

Today’s work culture is vastly different from that of only a few decades ago. The old-fashioned style of management is falling from grace, replaced with a more values-based system. This system favours leadership with a strong focus on emotional intelligence.

Gone are the days where a bullying “manager” inspired obedience through fear. Good businesses now understand that to be genuinely successful, leaders need to build trust, empathy, and respect.

While managers have people who work for them, leaders have people who willingly follow them. This may sound like a subtle difference, but it has a significant impact on morale, motivation, and productivity.

Let’s explore the difference and how you can make an impact with emotional intelligence at your workplace.

 

What is Emotional Intelligence?

To be able to use it well, you first need to know what it is! So, what is emotional intelligence?

In a nutshell, emotional intelligence is the maturity, insight and empathy required to effectively understand and manage your own emotions, as well as those of the people around you. Rather than flying off the handle in sticky situations, you can take a step back and avoid making emotionally charged decisions.

It is professionally thinking with your head, as opposed to being driven by your emotions. Good leaders have this quality and inspire their team to make good decisions also.

 

Why is Emotional Intelligence Important for a Leader?

Although technology has come a long way, most workers are not yet robots. Each individual requires a different approach. A good leader aims to inspire and motivate his or her team, know their strengths and weaknesses, and understands which approach works best to unlock each person’s full potential.

This is where emotional intelligence comes in. Identifying personality types, emotions, communication styles and getting buy-in can be achieved by using your skills of empathy and intuition.

However, it is not simply all about the feelings and emotions of others. Inspiring bosses lead by example. They are not afraid of tricky conversations or situations because they have the self-awareness and confidence to handle whatever is thrown at them.

The way you handle yourself will trickle down through your teams. Your management “flavour” dictates the overall flavour of the business. If you are spicy and hot-headed, your work environment will mimic this. Whereas if you are strong, yet calming – like a soothing cup of tea – the culture will eventually feed off this vibe and start to reflect it.

 

Management vs. Leadership

Now that you understand the concept of emotional intelligence, let’s look at how you can use it as a Leader in your workplace. There are very negative connotations around “management”. Managing and leading are two very different things.  From your own experiences, you may be able to identify with some (or all) of the examples below:

  • Managers may force people into following policies and getting things done. Leaders encourage people to believe in the journey.
  • Managers often toe the line and follow regulations to the letter. Leaders can think outside the box and aren’t afraid to try a different tack for the good of the team and the business.
  • Managers can choose to use the “carrot on a stick” technique to get results. Leaders inspire success by capturing people with their vision and helping them understand their role in the bigger picture.
  • Managers often feel the need to “micro-manage” people and projects, constraining creativity. Leaders understand the need to take a step back and trust in their team. They work to people’s strengths.
  • Managers may have an ego about needing to be the expert on everything, not allowing people to grow and shine. Good leaders know that passing the ball and letting other people’s experience and insights shine is crucial for the growth of not only the team, but the organisation.

It’s widely known throughout the business world that employees don’t quit companies, they quit managers and bosses! Take a look at your business and ask yourself: are you merely telling people what to do, or are you inspiring them to follow your lead?

Answering this question alone can be tricky. That is where the team here at Spice HR can help. Building a great workplace culture will encourage emotional intelligence and excellent team contribution. And that is exactly what we can help you do at your workplace. Get in touch with us today.