There’s a wealth of information around – theories, reports, books, models and ideas – about effective performance management. So much so that sometimes managers find it difficult to ‘sort the wheat from the chaff’! Those managers often ask me ‘what’s the one thing I need to know?’ In case the managers in your business are asking you the same question then here’s an answer you might find useful. The secret to effective performance management is: Clarity. Here’s why and how
Performance Management Secret No. 1: Get clear on expectations of staff
‘Knowing what’s expected of them’ consistently ranks highly on staff satisfaction surveys. Staff members want to know what their manager wants from them – what they have to do in order for their manager to consider them to be a good performer. It’s so important for managers to have focused, ‘adult to adult’ conversations in which they and their staff member explore and agree what effective performance looks like for their job
Research also tells us that having clear objectives with effective measures can improve performance by over 30%. If managers agree their expectations as performance objectives they can expect not only improved satisfaction from their staff but also improved performance (if you want to know more about how your managers can a) identify their expectations of their staff and b) learn to use performance objectives take a look at my video ‘Motivating Your Staff with Powerful Performance Objectives’)
In short, employees can’t give their managers what they don’t know they want. Getting clear on expectations, and why these are important (see below), takes any manager more than half way to being an outstanding manager
Performance Management Secret No.2 – Helping staff members to get clear on why they, and their performance, are important to the business
We know from research that staff members want to ‘connect their efforts to the mission and purpose of your business’. In short, I guess, they want an answer to the question – ‘why am I doing this?’ It’s important to staff members that they can see the ‘bigger picture’ and where they fit into it. Spending time with them exploring the ‘Why’ of their job – why what they do is so important to the business or organisation – brings real benefits. A simple approach is to take each of the agreed performance objectives and explain how achievement of that objective contributes to the success of your businesses or organisation
Performance Management Secret No. 3 – Helping staff members get clear on how they are performing
In the research ‘having clear objectives with effective measures can improve performance by over 30%’ I mentioned at reason 1 above, did you notice the ‘with effective measures’ part? I guess it’s obvious that staff members need clarity on how they are performing against the objectives agreed with them. They need to know what’s going well (and ‘appreciation for a job well done’, not surprisingly, ranks highly as a staff motivator in research) and also where they need to make improvements. It’s important then that managers and their staff put in place ways that enable both of them to measure their performance on an ongoing basis and then take time to review performance by sharing feedback
(In my video ‘Motivating Your Staff by Monitoring and Reviewing Performance’ I explain, step by step, how to monitor staff performance and how to give motivational performance feedback)
Performance Management Secret No. 4 – Get clear on what staff want from you
We know from research that showing a high level of interest and concern for our staff results in higher levels of motivation and performance. One of the most powerful ways to do this is to have a conversation about how to maintain or improve the staff member’s current level of job satisfaction. After all, who wouldn’t feel motivated by having a manager who cares about our satisfaction at work and who is happy to spend the time talking to us about something so close to our hearts?
(Read more at ‘Performance Appraisal: How to talk about job satisfaction’)
Performance Management Secrets Summary
So many of the difficulties I see managers, team leaders, supervisors and staff members experiencing come from, at root cause, a lack of clarity. If there’s one thing a manager can do to significantly improve not only staff performance but also staff satisfaction and motivation it’s this – get more clarity
Do the managers in your business need help in getting more clarity with their staff? Then take a look at the 10 Minute Management Toolkit video content (and how you can get access to video sessions for free) HERE. You’ll see they are all about clarity and all about performance management.