The Key To Performance Management

Training meeting and endomarketing in a stainl...

You can have group meetings to discuss performance, but you still need to have individual meetings to really drive performance.

A lot of experts like to focus on the ways that you should set goals for your employees.  There are hundreds of websites that will tell you everything you need to know about setting the right goals for your employees.  Setting the goals is not where most managers fail.  The fail when they do not check in with their employees on regular intervals to ensure that they are still on track to accomplish those goals.

Performance goals are designed to help you improve and manage performance.  They can only do that if they remain relevant through the year.  If they are put in a drawer to collect dust until the end of the year then they are not very likely to drive any kind of performance.

There needs to be adequate communication between you and your employees throughout the year.  The first thing that you need to do is determine the frequency in which you want to provide feedback to you employees.  My personal feeling is that it cannot be less than quarterly, but I think monthly and/or weekly meetings are better options if you have the ability to do it.  These meetings do not have to be long, but they have to take place.    There are two things that you are trying to accomplish at these meetings:

  1. Status Check:  Both you and your employee should quickly review each of their goals and look at any relevant metrics to see where they are against them.  You could have your employee pull the relevant data ahead of time and present it at the meeting.  This makes their goals much more visible to them, and also gets them in the habit of monitoring their performance.  By conducting the meeting on regular intervals, it also clearly sends the message that these goals are important to you.
  2. Obstacle Removal:  If the employee is not progressing as expected on their goal or they anticipate problems in the near future, then this is an excellent time to discuss why and what you can do about it.  If you don’t have these meeting frequently throughout the year, then it is possible that this discussion never takes place and the goal simply goes unaccomplished.  Having the discussion allows you to brainstorm possible solutions to any problems that may come up.  This collective problem solving approach also becomes a great development tool.  By showing the thought processes you uses to resolve issues, you will help the employee become a better problem solver.  There also may be some obstacles that come up that they will need your help to resolve.  If that is the case, try to resolve those issues as quickly as possible.  Dragging your feet on overcoming the obstacle will send a very clear message that the goal is not important.

You can also schedule group status meetings where each member of a team can update the entire team on the progress that they have made.  Involving an employee’s peers can be a strong motivating factor.  This approach also helps to educate the entire group on the types of challenges that may occur and how to overcome them.  I like using the group approach, but it should not completely replace the one on one meeting.

Managers, how do you ensure that your employees hit their goals?

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