December is the peak time when you, as a manager, have to wrestle with the notion of how best to address performance management process in your organisation. Your team members may have delivered great performance throughout the year but you have to acknowledge many other aspects apart from this. It is the company mandate after all: a process that has to be followed strictly as per the guidelines (many years old?) at the end of every year.
Are you a manager or HR specialist who has been repeatedly performing the same set of steps year after year? Then there is a very high probability that you are not getting measurable results. In this case, you may want to analyze your performance management process.
Check if the method you are using is suited to your business model. It could also be that your performance management software is not compatible with your organisational culture.
You may have a culture of continuous feedback. But there is no way of tracking feedback given to the employees throughout the year. You could be missing out on important pieces of information simply because you chose the wrong software.
Signs of a broken performance management process:
No idea who is responsible:
Are employees aware about who is responsible for managing their performance? Is it the HR department, their manager or peers, or they themselves? Traditionally, only managers were responsible for performance management which often led to biased opinions.
However, today employees do not work in isolation. There are many inter-dependencies within a team, let alone the department. Thus, the responsibility does not lie with one person alone. Every member has to play a part in the performance management process, no matter how small it may appear.
Higher attrition or turnover:
Does your company have a high attrition or turnover rate as compared to other companies in the same industry?
If the answer is yes, then it’s definitely time to identify the root cause of it. Many times, the reason behind this is poor management of employees’ performance. There are 4 reasons why employees stop being engaged at work:
- lack of recognition
- no guidance for growth
- lack personal development & growth
- not receiving constructive feedback
Excellent strategy but no execution:
Your top management takes painstaking efforts while creating the organisational strategy. Is it being executed in a manner imagined by the management?
Due to a broken or inefficient performance management process, employees have no idea how their everyday work or their individual goals contribute to the overall strategy. It is important to bridge the strategy execution gap to ensure everyone is progressing in one direction.
Consistently not achieving goals
Another effect of incorrectly managing employee performance is that they repeatedly miss achieving their goals. It does not always mean that they are sub-par employees. It could be because there is a significant mismatch between their goals and actual outcomes due to lack of clarity in conveying expectations. This gap takes place due to an inefficient goal setting process.
Educate your management on how to effectively reinvent goal setting and subsequently performance management in the company. Check how Google used the OKR methodology to get better at setting and grading goals. Replicate the methodology or start setting SMART goals to get better. Help employees align their goals with the overall company values and eliminate confusion.
Subjective or biased feedback:
A flawed goal setting process often leads to setting goals that are not measurable. It gets difficult for managers to quantify performance in such cases. They are also unable to provide constructive feedback or end up giving feedback that appears subjective and biases.
The process should help you guide your employees on a continuous basis, provide steady mentoring and constructive feedback. Since performance is measured on the basis of facts and figures, there is little scope for you to give subjective or biased feedback.
Managers afraid to break the status quo:
Performance management is much more than a simple box-checking exercise. Some managers do not like confrontation so despite shortcomings in expectations, they blindly follow the process.
If employees are not performing as per their potential then you should make it a priority to get them back on track. Not just finding faults but by giving inputs on how to overcome these problems.
Lack of personal development initiatives:
One of the most important aspect of performance management is helping employees develop themselves. It is as important for them to move forward in their career as it is for the company to achieve its goals. If employees feel that they are becoming stagnant in the organisation, they will look for better opportunities. You definitely don’t want the good ones to jump ship. It is your responsibility as their manager to make sure they grow and become a better version of themselves.
Poor performance management can lead to huge losses to the organisation. Thus, it is best to keep a constant lookout for these signs in the workplace.