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8 Steps To Set Up Employee-Centric Performance Management

If you thought that by 2024, employee performance management would be mastered and optimized in all organizations, think again! A recent survey by Gallup found that 95% of managers don’t like their company’s performance review system, while only 20% of employees feel inspired to improve their performance following their reviews.

These statistics show that annual reviews that do not consider employees’ reality and voice are definitely a thing of the past. In order to improve performance appraisals and ensure that they support business goals and strategies, companies need to modernize their practices and set up employee-centric performance management processes. 

Here are all the steps you need to follow to refocus your performance management strategy on your teams and inspire your employees to improve their productivity.

1. Coordinate with employees to set performance goals

The first step in any performance review is to set up Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-based goals (SMART goals) that support your business strategy and your employee’s individual objectives. When possible, you need to take into account their personal ambitions, likes and dislikes, strengths and weaknesses, and coordinate with them to define goals that are aligned with their vision and aspirations.

Say that you have an employee who aspires to focus on the creative side of their marketing role and that you notice an opportunity for them to participate in content creation or campaign brainstorming. Then, you can align their wishes with your strategy by setting a goal to create three successful pieces of content during the quarter. By doing so, you will get a satisfied employee and new creativity flow into your marketing strategy!

2. Organize regular check-ins and performance meetings 

The importance of a continuous feedback culture cannot be overstated. To ensure that your employees remain motivated and inspired to improve their performance throughout the year, you need to organize regular check-ins to discuss performance issues and accomplishments and realign goals to new priorities when needed. 

Performance management is never set in stone. It is a process that needs to be continuously resculpted to fit evolving business needs and employee expectations. During your frequent performance meetings, remember to ask your employees how they feel about their tasks, projects, and objectives and survey their satisfaction regarding the performance review process in place.

3. Communicate the impact of individual performance

The feedback you share needs to be effective and transparent. This means that you need to clearly convey the impact the employee’s daily work has on the company and its productivity. All too often, employee performance is evaluated and envisioned on a micro-level, but it needs to be integral to a performance macrocosm to inspire employees to give their best on a daily basis.

4. Modernize your feedback strategy 

Traditional performance evaluations, such as annual reviews based on a criteria checklist, are often not adapted to the reality and ambitions of your employees. 360-degree feedback is a great way to involve your teams in the performance review process. 

Better yet, remember that managers need to be evaluated and open to feedback. Lead by example by asking employees what they think about management practices and how they could be improved. If you notice that they have a hard time voicing their feelings, confidential employee surveys are a great way to encourage them to share honest feedback. All in all, you should make sure that your employees and their feedback are valued and central to all your strategies and practices.

5. Offer skill development and training opportunities

We all know that development and training opportunities are essential for effective performance management processes. However, we often forget the basics: asking employees when, how, and what they want to learn. 

Traditional training programs can sometimes be a hurdle rather than a support system. Learning Management Systems (LMS) are often more adapted to the reality of your employees, especially if they are working remotely. Try to refocus your skill development strategy on your teams by providing learning opportunities that truly support individual growth. They will repay you a hundredfold in terms of daily motivation and productivity!

6. Use recognition to encourage continuous improvement 

80% of Gen Y workers would prefer to receive immediate recognition for their work. Now more than ever, appreciating your employees’ contributions is paramount to creating a sense of accomplishment and a drive to improve performance in your organization. 

If employees need to know when they have to improve their productivity, they should also know without a doubt when they are doing something right. You can show daily recognition with simple words and tokens of appreciation, by highlighting good performance on social media, or by designing an Employee of the Month. Remember that on top of outstanding performance, you should appreciate smaller contributions, collaborative skills, and positive attitudes. 

7. Implement technology for more flexible processes

Hybrid work, modern processes, and organizational flexibility are now crucial employee expectations. 

Project management software is a great tool to simplify and monitor your teams’ progression, even when they are working remotely. Similarly, performance management software solutions are accessible by employees and managers at any time to set and follow performance goals and check appraisal results. 

Technology is the best way to create a sense of engagement and accountability in performance goals, as it helps your employees actively participate in their own performance management.

8. Focus performance reviews on employee wellbeing

Nowadays, performance reviews should focus on individual productivity that supports business success rather than partial goals that seem unfair, opaque, or unattainable for workers. 

In order to be effective and employee-centric, performance management needs to be give and take. First and foremost, your employees want to be fulfilled and able to grow within the company. If you make their well-being central to your performance appraisal process, they will, in turn, want to support their team and the entire organization by giving their best on a daily basis.

Summing up

In short, by implementing our previous tips, you will show your employees that you care about them, encouraging them to care about the company. Employee-centric performance management creates a virtuous circle every organization should strive to attain!

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