In the beginning, there were metrics—and business owners thought they were good. Bottom lines were most important, and ensuring that employees accomplished tasks in relation to these metrics meant that business was working to plan.
Traditional employee performance reviews were conducted annually, where criticism and praise were woven together and formed a tale of conduct; either positive or negative.
Expectations were discussed. Lines were drawn. Sometimes, this was the first time an employee was notified of their jobs’ duties.
Then there was Human Resources.
And a mighty shift occurred.
They listened to leadership and employees, becoming the middle-people who leverage the needs of both parties and drive success.
Some leaders, as a result, claimed that performance reviews were broken.
Maybe dinged up a bit, but nothing that can’t be mended.
HR knew then, and knows now, how important this evolution was—and is—to organizational growth.
Performance Reviews are Dead—Long Live Performance Reviews!
Instead of a yearly make-or-break review, things have changed quite a bit—for the better. Now, employees can feel the impact of their work, develop within the company, and make strides towards leadership positions throughout the year with reflection, coaching, and training.
Annual performance reviews have a bad reputation because, like clockwork, they rattled off performance, salary review, expectations, and growth into one knotted ball. These meant little to employees other than a reason to get frustrated and overwhelmed.
Performance reviews can’t be a set-it-and-forget-it routine.
It starts during the onboarding stage.
And differs for each employee. Meaning: HR really has its hands full.
Onboarding Sets Employee Expectations
During the onboarding phase, leaders must sit down and set expectations with new talent. This way, there are no mixed signals trickling down from leadership to management, management to new hire. Everybody begins on the same page, and understands the context of their duty.
In recent years, the shift to onboarding has become crucial to employee retention, engagement, and productivity. Set the bar upon first arrival to leverage the best of their abilities.
Your new hires will thank you with great work.
Performance Management Throughout the Year
We’ve discussed the importance of employee feedback and development—especially within the Millennial generation, and performance management is the key to nudging a swerving employee back on the right track.
HR will inevitably be tasked with confronting employees who may need additional training. Addressing concerns in the present, rather than noting them and waiting for the problem to grow, has incredible value for both retention and employee engagement.
Consider this: an employee who isn’t aware they’ve been performing below standards suddenly receives word of their many infractions over time.
That doesn’t sound like performance management—it sounds like saying “gotcha!”
Furthermore, adjusting many compounded issues is a hard task to accomplish for trainers, and incredibly frustrating for employees. You’ll likely notice a sinkhole in productivity and engagement. Before long, the employee who could have been saved has given notice and taken a new job.
Long story short: offer more frequent feedback regarding employee productivity and performance. If things are going great, let them know as frequently as you would otherwise.
Tie Employee Contributions with Organizational Goals
Everybody wants to make an impact. Everybody wants a purpose. Discuss your employees’ personal role regarding the goals and principles of the organization to provide meaningful insight into their work.
This begins by having management understand the importance of goals and employee contributions. According to a recent Success article, “only 55 percent of middle managers can name any of their company’s top five priorities.” Have management understand priorities and their relationship with them.
Before encouraging employees, it is important to make sure leaders are on the same page.
Chances are, your employees find their work important. Validating that thought serves to encourage them to meet expectations and empowers employees to go the distance.
Use Technology to Help Coach
Our most robust working generation has grown with technology. They engage with it as previous generations did with books. The benefit, of course, is the interactivity that technology provides. It brings with it modern ways to coach and develop employees.
Instead of marching to a training room, employees are free to develop skills, and acquire new ones, at their own desk. Many employee management tech solutions include collaboration, support, and ways to praise employees for their dedication and hard work.
The Evolution of Performance Management Continues
As organizations shed themselves of outdated performance reviews, more vibrant methods and practices will emerge. Take chances with your employees—give them the feedback, encouragement, and tools they need to succeed.
Use technology, but don’t neglect the human element. Tailor each employee’s developmental journey to their unique role within the organization. Offer guidance and support. And most importantly, let them thrive as an individual and within the team.
They won’t let you down.
With Balance Point Human Resources (BPHR), our primary goal is to ensure your HR compliance, freeing you of the burden and responsibilities associated with the process. Once the need is eliminated, you can focus on the strategic side of HR.
Performance management is just one aspect of BPHR. With a HR Generalist, create strategies to retain top talent and nurture them into leadership roles—key to ensuring your vision, principles, and long-term goals are met and exceeded.
For more information about how BPHR ensures compliance and focuses on your organization’s future, click here.