Photo courtesy of Freepik.
When I look up the definition of performance management, I get a lot of things that sound like this:
Performance management is defined as the process of continuous communication and feedback between a manager and employee towards the achievement of organizational objectives.
Which is all fine and dandy, except that if I was looking into performance management for the first time, I would think this is a lot of syllables that aren’t clarifying much. So let’s break it down a little bit, and gain that clarity.
Performance management helps people to be better at the work they do. This is the core concept around that term, plain and simple. What this used to look like, across most organizations, is an annual performance review that let employees know whether they were succeeding at their roles, or needed to pull their socks up. With this strategy of assessing performance, lots of information was passed along at once to employees who otherwise spent their days unsure of whether they were actually fulfilling their roles. Management was often far removed from the actual worker, resulting in employees feeling a bit lost at sea, and unsupported by their leaders. Moving from performance reviews into performance management makes this transfer of information happen more often, and helps develop a connection between different levels in the workforce.
When we seek to improve performance management, we need to enlist great communication skills. Being an effective communicator is an essential skill for leaders across industries, and without it, performance management is a struggle. Communicating clearly the expectations of a team member, the goals of the company or project, and the expected performance goals will make it possible for people to work toward these goals, rather than floundering without a clear path from leadership.
Performance management with communication in mind also allows for the creation of a solid relationship between leadership and those they lead. Building rapport and understanding encourages team members to trust their leaders, and vice versa. Trusting leaders provide their team with autonomy and freedom within structured goals, while trusting workers have faith that their leader has their best interests in mind and will reinforce their innovations, ideas, and encourage successes while supporting through difficult moments. These moments of communication from different levels of seniority helps leaders understand the corporate culture as well; interacting with all levels within the company gets a comprehensive look at what’s working and what needs to be changed within the company environment and between team members. That communication during performance management discussions can solve problems before they even truly become problems, and create opportunities for more success than previously thought possible.
Improving performance communication is really very simple. Our suggestion, at Take Charge Learning, is to make regular, frequent, and consistent one on one conversations part of the management practice throughout the organization. That way, every employee within the organization has the chance to connect with their managers and discuss where they’re at, performance-wise, as it happens.
Discussing performance regularly and candidly with the team is essential to reaching the goals set out for performance. Communicating effectively and with clarity across all levels of seniority encourages inclusion, fosters creativity, and helps team members feel confident in their work while they’re working, not left in the wind by leadership to succeed or fail without communication in either direction. By integrating performance management into communication with the team regularly, and at frequent intervals, everyone’s goals are clear and work gets done to the best of everyone’s abilities!