Performance Management is the most essential to drive both employee and company growth and hence has become a key tool to manage and enhance employee performance in any corporate.
When a manager and an employee get together for an open, frequent, and objective performance dialogue, it promotes a culture of giving and receiving feedback that is essential for continuous improvement.
During every appraisal season, employees go through various moods – some await eagerly as it translates into increments and some dread this entire exercise for uncertainty and unpleasantness it could bring. While some are excited, for some it is just an ordeal to put up.
Whether one likes it or not, this platform is essential – to encourage and recognize high performers and to provide constructive feedback to moderate to low performers.
Appraisals are tough for Managers too, as they have to appraise their team and go through the trouble of fitting employees in the ‘bell curve’. It is a tough call to take at the end of the year, as there are apparently more ‘top performers’ but limited seats! A regular assessment of employee performance brings more clarity.
The following three aspects help a manager to encourage employees for enhanced performance that is essential for better fulfilment of goals as well as satisfaction and growth at an individual level.
Let us look at each one of them individually to understand them better.
While strategic planning and goal setting are important initial steps in the cycle of performance management, the most important driver of performance is how much ‘related’ an employee feels towards the overall purpose and objectives of the organization.
A manager plays an important role to transform the ‘relationship’ of the employee with the organization from a transactional (work done-compensation received) contract to a psychological one. When a manager is able to transcend this to a larger purpose, employee motivation is driven towards the growth of the company and individual too.
The second part of this ‘relatedness’ is how much a manager is able to ‘relate’ to the team members and vice-versa. Each employee comes with different traits, competencies, and behaviours. By constantly connecting with them and building positive relationships, a manager is able to guide and encourage them to better performance.
Similarly, when an employee is able to ‘relate’ to the manager, they develop vulnerable trust where they feel that it is safe to speak up.
In both the above scenarios, the ‘relationship building’, happens with conscious effort. There are managers who go out of their way to improve this bonding by creating formal and informal platforms to connect.
They keep communication channels open, have quality conversations, and give constructive feedback regularly without waiting for a nudge during midterm or annual appraisals. When all this happens employees do not have to leave the organization; least of all due to ‘a manager’.
A performance management process has ‘review’ at its core, which sometimes tends to be influenced by the ‘relatedness’. Keeping objectivity during the review process is important without clouding the conversations with personal prejudices or shying away from ‘hurting’ someone.
You may be having a great time during lunch every day or having wonderful conversations over a cup of coffee, but when it is time to review, it is important, to be honest about the feedback.
It is equally essential to tell the top performers if their attitude is creating more problems in the team than their contribution due to top-rated skills! Handling low performers tactfully is important for high-performing teams.
A great manager is one, who is able to maintain a balance of having good relationships at a personal level, yet be able to give that feedback that is essential for employees to flourish in their roles.
In fact, consistent assessment and regular feedback are important to build great work relationships and enhance bonding. It promotes a culture of transparency, engagement, and self-motivation. Tiptoeing or taking an easy path to convey the message subtly, practically never works neither for the manager-employee nor for the organization.
Every formal and informal feedback can be made meaningful by outlining clear expectations, documenting performance milestones, keeping fact-based evidence for crucial conversations, and encouraging them to ask more questions. While doing all this, a manager should ensure to keep the ‘employee’ and ‘performance’ at the centre of the conversation.
Rewarding employees for their high performance, for achieving targets, and for exhibiting the required behaviours is the best way to express appreciation and keep them motivated. The rewards, monetary and non-monetary, make them feel valued, which in turn makes them more engaged.
This not only creates a positive influence on the overall business growth but also takes individual performance to the next level.
Monetary rewards are definitely the best, but even non-monetary rewards are simple and easy through which a manager can encourage the team to give their best. The right words at the right time and in the right forum will create wonders.
A simple email about a ‘great job’ brings in a lot of satisfaction as employees want to know if they have done a good job. An informal gathering over a cup of hi-tea to celebrate a small milestone achieved can add extra speed to the overall project timeline.
Creating a comfort level where your team is able to reach you anytime or guiding them when they need creates a safety net, where employees don’t fear doing new things or making mistakes.
Apart from this, managers can nominate employees for awards, and prizes as well as give certificates, gift vouchers, etc., in any communication platform. Apart from these, one can also think of less expensive and personalized items as giveaways, to have a high impact.
Multiple Roles of a Manager
A manager is someone who has the ability to ‘manage’ the team. To make ordinary people achieve extraordinary results, they have to wear many hats of being a coach, mentor, friend, leader, colleague, etc., depending on the situation.
Another aspect is to realize that the most important thing is not just to know the business, but also to know what matters in business – and that is people.