Performance Management

Steps for running a productive and successful startup

Too many non-management employees are disengaged, and not working at full productive capacity. Increasing an employee’s salary may get the desired result for a time, but not long-term effects. It won’t create sustainable job satisfaction either. The following are the four steps of how to engage employees the right way and run a successful startup.

It won’t create sustainable job satisfaction either. The following are the four steps of how to engage employees the right way and run a successful startup.

Successful startup

1- Set goals

The main difference between a successful startup and an unsuccessful one is goal setting. The former sets goals and the later doesn’t. As it is commonly said, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

Success isn’t a day job; it takes rigorous planning. Setting a definite and achievable goal is the way to go. Success is the result of a goal well worked on.

To achieve a goal, it has to be something one wants and is willing to go the extra mile to make. One of the significant importance of goal setting is that it boosts self-confidence and increases productivity. Know what you wish to obtain and commit to it.

It is essential for a goal to be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound, and also necessary, the target must be written down. Make plans on how to achieve these goals, and check-list them when you reach them.

Goal setting helps you know what you want to achieve, what to concentrate your efforts on, and ultimately avoid distractions. It is essential for a successful startup to have a written down set goals, goals that align with the vision and mission of the organization.

Effects of goal setting in an organization are not limited to the following:

  • Organizations that set goals shows the employee what to focus on and gives clarity on priorities.
  • It increases the productivity of individuals. Goal setting in an organization gives the employees something to look forward to in their daily work.
  • There’s a collaboration between employees when they work together to achieve a goal.
  • Goal setting boost self-confidence. When an employee is involved in the process of goal setting, they know their input is valued and essential. It gives the employee a sense of ownership/belonging.
  • Setting a smart goal enable employees to track their progress.
  • When you don’t set goals, everywhere seems like the place, but a definite goal tells if you have arrived or not. A good system for goal setting for the organization is OKRs (Objective and Key Results).

OKRs is a system used for goal setting, either at the level of the company, team or individual. All team and individual objectives must be aligned to the goal of the organization. OKRs work best quarterly, and by the end of each quarter, OKRs shows how to evaluate the execution of the objectives, but shouldn’t be mistaken for employee evaluation.

It is transparent and public, helping employees know how to contribute to the goal of the organization and work well with other teams in the company. Objectives should be ambitious and seem impossible to accomplish.

Objectives answer these questions, where are you heading? What do you want to achieve? What do you hope to accomplish? And answers to these questions give a clear direction on how far you are from your goal.

In OKR, the objective is the first step to take, and it requires a lot of brainstorming. After thorough brainstorming, what shows the success or progress towards a goal is the measurable Key Result. The numbers from key results enable objective evaluation and create a learning process. Key Results, in summary, quantifies the objective.

OKRs are one of the most effective systems used for goal management. It aids in improving and also realizing the ambition of the organization, the team and the employee.

OKRs at these different levels should connect and support each other. OKRs can be done monthly, quarterly, or yearly, depending on how convenient it is to the users, but it is advised that it should be done at least quarterly.

One of the many benefits of OKRs is everyone in the organization works with the goal in mind.

2- Weekly check-ins

A system that aids the progress of OKRs in a successful startup is Weekly Check-Ins. A method for weekly questions and answers between managers and employees about whatever is happening in the workplace.

The answers to these questions become a template for discussing what is essential and meaningful for the team and organization.

Weekly check-in is a set of questions asked by the manager regarding the employee’s present week, plans for the coming week, and if they encountered any challenge in respect to their plans for the current week and the following week. In summary, it boosts the productivity of the employees.

Asking employee questions every week isn’t enough, but the manner at which the questions are asked is also a great deal. Ask sincerely, humbly and frequently. These questions can increase an employee’s morale, output, and quality of work. Some examples of items to ask are listed below.

  • Is there any work you are proud of?

Asking a question relating to a significant or not too significant accomplishment makes the employee feel at ease and encouraged to do a better job. The manager also has a measurable way to track the employee’s work.

  • What challenges are you facing?

Identify where you are struggling, call someone’s attention to it, and receive the necessary training or guide that will put you through in solving the challenge. The response to this question makes the employer know what area to improve the process, remove the barrier, and increase productivity.

  • What can business do differently?

This question sheds more light on what the employer needs to improve in the organization. Every employee has a different perspective on the company and how to develop it. The employer must gather all the information and grow the company.

  • What are your plans for the coming week?

The response to this question enables the employer to track the activities of employees, their progress and accomplishment.

  • What can the business do to help you?

It gives real information, instead of assumption on how to help an employee do more, right and a better job.

Culture of feedback

3- Culture of Feedback

Collection of information through feedback from reliable sources is a primary way of managing an efficient workplace. Without feedback, it is difficult to track progress. Feedback is a means to learn and improve. In business, the sources of feedback differ with organizations, but the most common of sources are the following;

  • Customers
  • Statistical Measures, KPIs
  • Superiors to Subordinates
  • Subordinates to Superiors
  • Co-workers

There are different methods of receiving feedback through the various sources listed above. In this post, we will talk on three ways of getting feedback.

Anonymous Feedback

It is a method of feedback where no one aside the giver knows who gave the feedback. This method is encouraged at the most organization, to enable employees to provide their candid opinions in privacy and to eliminate the fear of retribution. In many cases, this method isn’t encouraged, but there are times when it is needed.

Private Feedback

It is a one on one method, where both the giver and recipient are the only ones involved in the process of the feedback.

Public Feedback

Everyone in the organization is involved in this method. They know who gave it and what the feedback is about. Feedbacks can have varying effects on employees depending on if it was delivered correctly and every time. To improve performance in the workplace, employers should increase constructive feedback and decrease the critical feedback.

The types of feedback include Constructive feedback and Criticism feedback. The rules for giving feedback depends on the work environment, but the following should be adhered to:

Real-time

Feedback is better given when it is recent and can be remembered by the party or parties concerned.

Behavior, not personality: in giving feedback, no comment should be made on the kind of person the employee is, their beliefs, value system, character. He/she should be treated mainly on their behavior towards the job they were assigned to or in some cases if their personality or values affects the productivity of another employee or other employees.

Specific

When feedback is accurate, it is easier to work on. It should be directed to the behavior and how it made the giver of the feedback feel.

Personal opinion

Give feedback as it made you feel or what you thought about the behavior of the employee. Even if it’s negative feedback, it is acceptable and blame-free.

When it comes to receiving feedback, it is important to listen and not be fast to reply to the feedback. The reply should be based on behavior and not personality, even if it was given in a wrong manner. The recipient should at all times be self-aware and be able to control their emotions in replying to the feedback.

4- Performance Review

As performance review is essential to successful startup to track the way the business is working, so it is to the employee for career development. When an employee has been evaluated, it tells where the employee is doing well and what part he/she needs to improve on.

Performance review evaluates and enhances the performance of employees to increase their future potential and value to the company.

There are several stages of Performance Review; some of it is as follows:

1st Stage — Create a file

Every new employee in an organization gets a file that records their accomplishments, areas of improvement, areas of strength and weakness. It essential so as the manager can be useful and help the employee develop their skills and potential.

2nd Stage — Feedback

As it was earlier discussed, feedback is essential to the workforce of a successful startup. It ensures that an employee improves where he/she is lagging in duty to the growth of the company.

3rd Stage — Discipline

Times when an employee misbehaves, depending on the effect of the action to the company, disciplinary actions should be carried out immediately.

4th Stage — Management by Objectives

For companies that work with goal setting, they can review employees with the use of Management by Objectives to track their progress in the organization.

5th Stage — Follow-up

It is necessary that employers follow-up on their employees after a concluded performance review. It is essential for the employee’s improvement and to guide them in doing better jobs in the company.

The main reason for the performance review is to determine if an employee skill is useful to the employee’s job. Other reasons for performance review is as follows :

Strength and Weakness

Earning an employee’s strength and weakness makes it easier to know what training the employee needs to perform their job efficiently. The employer also knows what the employee can contribute better on and align responsibilities appropriately.

Goal Tracking

The employer ensures the employee is on track regarding the objectives of the company and if he/she is off the road, the employer makes a necessary adjustment regarding that.

Recognition and Award

The performance review is an opportunity for an employee’s commitment and hard work to be recognized and duly rewarded. Rewards come in different forms; monetary compensation, additional responsibility, or leadership position.

Employee Engagement

When a performance review is done correctly and effectively, it improves employee performance.

Many companies think higher profits are more important, setting aside the fact that happy employees are essential for the health of their organization. There is evidence that shows that happy employees work harder, are more productive, and are the reasons for a successful startup.

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