Performance Management

A New Way To Work ​: Continous Performance Management

Useful insights on performance management and employee engagement for fast growing companies

Over the years, the corporate world has evolved into what it is today. Though, technology has bridged the gap between the old ways of working and the new way. It has given people powerful ways to communicate, collaborate and access information that is important to the growth of their organizations.

However, the challenge is, many organizations are stuck in the old way of working. And for them to overcome that challenge, they need to evolve. In this era of an ever-changing work environment, it’s time to create new ways that employees can quickly adapt.

1. Goal Setting with OKRs

The first new way of working is by setting goals. Companies who don’t set goals are prone to be unsuccessful. It when they fail to plan, there’s already a plan for failure.

He who fails to plan, plans to fail.

Emily Giffin

Companies that set goals have employees who are self-confident, perform excellently well, and they experience a boost in productivity. Goal setting is a way of keeping everyone focused on the top list priority of the company.

It is important to set SMART goals that align everyone to the vision and mission of the company. It establishes a guide for your company’s decisions, operations, and execution.

And the new way to set company goals is through OKRs. Google uses them, so does Twitter, Uber, Zynga, to name a few. These companies have adopted a new way of working with OKRs. This method is one of the most effective systems used to manage goals in recent times.

OKRs is a cross-functional alignment system that makes employees see the bigger picture of the company. And not only that, employees see the value of their work and how it contributes to the company goals.

If there’s a doubt on why companies should implement OKRs consider this survey that says: 70% of employees are disengaged and not satisfied at work, which costs companies $500 billion per year. And why that? Because these employees don’t know if their work contributes to the growth of the company.

You can learn more about how to successfully set up OKRs in your company post.

2. Performance Reviews

Employees need to know where they stand and their performance compared to the company’s expectations. Several companies have performance review systems that keep employees in lop on how they are performing. It is usually conducted annually, but holding it quarterly is the new way of working.

Performance reviews are conducted according to employee set objectives and the previous performance evaluation. The review analyzes how well an employee performed toward achieving their goals. It’s done via:

  • self-evaluation, where the employee rates his performance relying on the set objective.
  • peer evaluation where employees who work on the same task rate each other building on the team’s objective.
  • manager’s assessment, where all employees rate the performance of their manager regarding his roles and responsibilities.

Holding frequent performance reviews has several benefits, including improvement of workforce performance and productivity. They are usually viewed as formalities that accomplish little to nothing but it shouldn’t be the case. To get the best out of each performance review, companies should exchange feedback as frequently as possible and also conduct 1-on-1 sessions.

360 Degree Feedback

First thing first, to make performance review go smoothly and eliminate surprises, exchange internal feedback when the situation that warrants it occurs. As easy as that may seem, many companies still fumble in that aspect. And it’s quite understandable. Employee engagement reduces to 29% when there’s no exchange of internal feedback. But when it is regularly exchanged employee engagement increases to 79%. You can read more on reasons to trade internal feedback in this post.

Feedback can be a simple comment or a detailed and structured discussion on what’s done and what can be better. And it should be exchanged amongst everyone in the company. To get the best out of feedback, follow these principles below:

Exchange feedback on the action and not the personality. When requesting for feedback, make sure to be specific at the things you do and not who you are. Same goes for when giving feedback.

Exchange specific feedback. ‘Great job!’ or ‘Try harder next time’ is not enough. Be clear on what task or what needs improvement. Unclear feedback is difficult to respond by the employee. Let the feedback be on what happened and not what you think happened.

Exchange feedback when in the right frame of mind. Otherwise, it will affect the feedback, either positively or negatively.

Exchange feedback when it can be remembered, which is immediately. Waiting for the best time will not make negative feedback positive. The sooner feedback is exchanged, the quicker everyone moves forward.

Exchange feedback in an excellent manner. The feedback that wants the other party to feel evil or incompetent won’t be productive. But negative feedback when exchanged nicely has a positive effect and becomes productive.

1-on-1 sessions

The second way to keep the performance review system running smoothly is through scheduling and conducting a manager-employee 1-on-1 session. It helps employers avoid possible problems and also make the employees feel heard. Several fast-growing companies like Intel, Hubspot, Moz, etc. are advocates for the 1-on-1 session as it is effectively implemented within these companies.

Communicate with each employee on a weekly or bi-weekly basis for at least 30 minutes. It has a long-term positive effect on the productivity of your employees and the company at large. Read more about the importance of 1-on-1 discussion in this post.

These are seven keys points for a productive and successful 1-on-1 session:

  1. Consistency is key when it comes to 1-on-1. Hold it regularly.
  2. As the manager, 1-on-1 is the time of the employees
  3. Avoid discussing the status of employees projects or tasks.
  4. Hold 1-on-1 in a pleasant and relaxing environment.
  5. Prepare ahead of every 1-on-1 session. You can send survey questions to employees that can act as a guide during the meeting.
  6. Try to avoid canceling a scheduled session.
  7. After each 1-on-1 session, follow up on each employee. Especially those who may be facing one challenge or the other.

3- Effective Communication

A new way of working is through effective communication in the workplace. Unfortunately, the connection is the most common struggle in most workplaces. Data shows that it lacks in the work environment today.

Companies that practice effective communication experiences higher employee engagement, productivity, and all-around success. While companies with poor communication system are more likely to experience the opposite.

To achieve successful communication within the company, both the managers and employees at every level must maintain an “open-door policy”. It describes a manager-employee relationship in which the employee has an open, standing invitation to approach the manager with questions, concerns, complaints, and comments at any time. This management approach lets employees know their concerns are valued and that the manager is always available and willing to communicate. This management style can have a positive impact on morale and employee performance.

Overall, communication is an important key to business success in today’s world and it’s the new way of working.

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