7 top tips for employee performance management

In any business, staff performance management is really important. Without your staff, your business cannot operate, so you need to make sure that all your employees are motivated and productive. We have brought together 7 top tips for employee performance management to help get you started.

  • 1. Have a consistent approach to employee performance management

The most important aspect when it comes to employee performance management is to be consistent. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to managing employee performance. You should make sure your system is tailored to your business, but that it remains the same throughout all interactions with your staff.

Think about your business and what you want to achieve with it. How are your staff going to help you get there? Build these goals in to your performance management process. Sometimes all you need is a one-page document to help you stay consistent, and on track.

This can have a list of questions on it that you ask your employees when it is time for their performance review. You could include things like: how have they demonstrated company values in their work; have they met all their objectives for this month; what the key things they have learned are, etc.

Decide how frequently you want to conduct performance reviews. Yearly meetings with your staff are great for showing them the bigger picture and setting out clear goals for the future. Having monthly or quarterly reviews could break this down further and establish smaller goals that can be ticked off a list.

If you have got the time, weekly 1-2-1s can also be great for keeping staff on the right track and quickly responding to problems as they arise. 

  • 2. Keep your employees informed

Having a staff performance review can make people incredibly nervous, which is not good for their mental health, wellbeing or their productivity. Make it clear that the review process, while being formal, is simply to help them better understand their role. It allows them to share their successes and get a little more support in the areas they may be struggling in. Having regular performance reviews can help to alleviate these worries, as your staff will know what to expect and be prepared to talk about the work they have been involved with.

  • 3. Training

All your employees should be fully trained to do their jobs. If someone does not have the right skills to complete their work, your business will suffer, and the employee in question will likely become frustrated. Make sure that all your staff feel confident to do their job well and to the best of their ability. If their role changes, ensure that they have got all the right skills, attitude and approach. The same goes for you and your managers too – do you have the right skills to be able to conduct a really useful staff performance review?

There are lots of support programmes available to growing businesses to be able to get their staff the training they need.

  • 4. Give regular feedback

Once you’ve conducted a performance review, make sure you give timely and accurate feedback. When giving feedback, try to be as clear and specific as possible, and use evidence to show your employee you really know what you’re talking about. If they’ve done well, tell them and thank them for their hard work. This helps to create a positive and productive work space and lets your staff know that their efforts are appreciated. Equally, if someone isn’t meeting their targets or isn’t conducting themselves in an appropriate manner, don’t wait for it to escalate into a larger problem, speak with them about it as soon as you notice. Feedback has to be timely.

  • 5. Goal setting

In your sessions with your employees, work with them to set goals that you can review next time. If you set goals with them, rather than for them, your employees will be much more likely to engage with the task and succeed. Your staff need to understand and believe in their goals and if you see any resistance, ask them why and address their concerns, there’s probably a good reason for it.

Make sure that all the goals you set for your staff relate back to your business plan and feed into its success. Set goals for employees that work alongside your wider business aims. You might even want to set “stretch” goals, which go beyond what you need your employees to achieve and to give them something extra to work towards. Breaking bigger, yearly targets down into smaller, manageable chunks lets people see the progress they’re making and put big ticks next to the tasks on their to-do lists.

Be realistic with the goals you’re setting – be S.M.A.R.T. This means:

  • Specific – make sure your employees know exactly what to do
  • Measureable – have a clear way of knowing when a task has been completed
  • Agreed upon – creating goals with your employees gets them actively involved and more motivated to achieve
  • Realistic – while stretch goals are a good idea, make sure you set tasks that can actually be achieved
  • Time sensitive – set deadlines for when the task needs to be achieved by.
  • 6. Create a personal development plan

If your employee has a personal development plan, they’ll be much more motivated in their work because they’ll be learning new things and challenging themselves. It’s also a great way that you can show them that you value them as people, as well as employees. In your performance review comment on what new things they’ve learned and see how it’s been beneficial to the business. Review how their training and development has impacted their work and look for other areas that might improve as a result.

You might want to create a short personal development plan document that both you and your employee can use when reviewing their progress. It can help inform their feedback and could include questions such as: what do you want to learn; how will it improve your work; when will you achieve it by; how will you know when you’ve achieved it etc.

  • 7. Motivating staff

Your employees won’t do their best work if they aren’t motivated. Sure, the thought of a pay cheque at the end of each month is a good motivator for coming into work, but getting the very best out of your staff will take a little more than that. Everyone is motivated by different things, whether that be smashing their targets, being a valued employee, developing their career or learning new things. It’s your job to find out what makes your employees tick and encourage it. Once you know what motivates people, you can build it into their personal development plan to help them achieve their goals.

You may also be interested in a free webinar exploring employee wellness and engagement.

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