In the midst of our continuing slow economic recovery, many companies have searched for ways to reinvigorate employees, boost performance and achieve heightened business results. Some have succeeded by implementing performance management systems, i.e. improved methods of planning, developing, rating and rewarding employee performance. These systems go far beyond the standard, annual, employee performance evaluation.
Communicate Openly: Creating an effective performance management system starts with clearly identifying company goals, and showing how each employee’s efforts contribute to achieving those goals. Then, companies work to facilitate employee efforts through a wide array of activities. Effective performance management requires ongoing communication that supports education about business opportunities and challenges, identifies and addresses skills shortages or other roadblocks, provides employees with feedback about their efforts, and generates an open flow of fresh ideas within the company.
Understand Your Employees: Whether you engage in structured performance reviews or something less formal, it’s important to understand your employees’ strengths and weaknesses in order to tap into or foster the skills needed to reach company goals. It’s also vital to understand what motivates each employee. Those motivations might involve achieving financial success, hitting sales targets, learning new skills or helping other people. Tailor an employee’s work to match their motivations, and you will have an enthusiastic, highly productive team member.
Reward Success: The annual bonus or employee-appreciation dinner will generate good spirit and motivation within your company once a year. However, creating a culture of recognition may motivate employees and boost productivity year-round. Remember, recognition should be thoughtful and appropriate to the individual. It can range from a note from the CEO to a new professional opportunity, a trip to a conference, a chance to work on a pet project, or a team outing at the end of a tough project.
An effective performance management system has the potential to propel your company towards its goals, improve your bottom line, motivate your staff, make everyone’s work more satisfying, and make your firm more attractive to top talent.
Written by Alan J. Kaplan, Founder & CEO, Kaplan Partners, March 2014