Monday, August 29, 2016

2 Actions to Improve Your Performance Management Approach

illustration of the 80-20 rule where many employees are in the 20% sector of the circle and only one in the 80% sector

Performance management training experts know that, on average, 20% of employees deliver 80% of the value.  Wouldn’t you love to shatter the 80/20 rule and get more of your employees operating in the higher performing sector of the circle? 

Sometimes, all it takes is improving your performance management effectiveness from good to great.

From our perspective, the purpose of performance management is to improve employee productivity and engagement through clear expectations and constructive feedback combined with the right mix of motivation and support.  But the purpose is often lost in the process. 

Here are some alarming statistics. According to Watson:

  • Only 30% of workers believe their performance management program truly improves performance
  • Only 20% think that such programs help sharpen the skills of low performing employees. 

It seems organizations should re-think what we are doing in the name of performance management.


With over two decades worth of experience helping our clients in the field of 
performance management training, we have come to believe that you need to focus on two factors to take your performance manage system from good to great.

  1. Make sure you are measuring the activities, behaviors and skills that matter most.
    First clearly define what success looks like for the job, for your team, and for the company as a whole. Then identify the critical few goals, activities, behaviors and skills that matter most in terms of success.  While assessing against generic or “best practice” competencies is tempting, our experience tells us that they are of little help in terms of moving the needle for your unique strategy and organizational culture.  Do the hard work required to work with the specific set of behaviors and competencies that spell success in your particular situation.
  2. Establish an ongoing feedback and performance exposure system.
    Rather than relying upon an annual review by a single manager, you will gain far more accurate, useful and motivating information from a process that welcomes more consistent feedback from all levels and at any time the behavior is observed. Consider using technology to provide a way to take advantage of simple-to-use, micro-surveys. Your range of data on an individual employee will be broader and provide a more accurate picture of desired behaviors and areas for improvement. Feedback that is frequent and to-the-point will do far more to move behavior and performance in the desired direction than once-a-year observations by a single individual.

To improve performance, make sure your performance management system is the best it can be.


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