Performance management is the talk of the business world right now with top companies overhauling their strategies in line with new trends. One such company is General Electric, infamous for their dreaded “rank and yank” system, in which managers were required to rank employees, then fire the bottom 10% during annual reviews. Now, performance management strategies are opting to focus on achieving goals instead of meeting grades.
Changing the focus
Instead of identifying key issues and reviewing progress, performance reviews were focused on what went wrong and culling the weakest employees. New trends in performance management are looking to the future, reflecting in order to find alternative strategies to tackle obstacles and empowering employees to take charge of their own goals.
Goals that work
Goal setting is something that always elicits groans from managers and employees. Setting vague objectives that no one is sure how to deliver holds back companies from progressing. New performance management trends are highlighting the need for actionable goals that can be set for individuals and the team. Using the SMART approach to objective setting is a popular way to set stronger goals.
Goals should hit all five of the following points of the SMART acronym:
- Specific: to the job role and skills of individual employees.
- Measureable: what will success look like and how will it be measured?
- Achievable: with good work ethic and effort goals should be attainable yet stretching.
- Relevant: goals should be in line with the company’s overall vision and strategy.
- Timely: goals should have time frames for completion.
Simplifying the system
Performance management has been criticised in the past for creating a tick box mentality for managers who have reams of performance appraisal paperwork to get through. Performance management software is being implemented by many companies to make managing goals and tracking progress easier for managers and employees.
An ongoing process
For too long has performance management been viewed as a one-off annual meeting. New performance management trends are emphasising the fact that performance management should be an ongoing process. Managers should be giving in-the-moment feedback to employees on their work and providing continuous coaching so that they can improve their performance as they go. Performance Management: Research Report 2015 showed that 70% of employees say that coaching and feedback gives them better insight into how to improve their performance at work.
Performance reviews should be used as milestones to reflect on work, not as meetings to discuss everything that occurred in the previous year.
Improving performance management isn’t only about joining in with new trends. In order for these to have a big impact on the workplace, staff need to be engaged and dedicated to making progress. When implemented effectively, performance management can have a huge impact on employee productivity and that all important bottom line.
Article by: Stuart Hearn, CEO of Clear Review
Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net