A key and often overlooked aspect for consistently achieving great business results is the management of individual job performance. The fact is that your company’s success is highly dependent upon your ability to manage the job performance of team members.
Consider this: without active and disciplined management of individual job performance, your business results and financial freedom are substantially dependent upon the ambitions, behaviors, and whims of employees who very likely have limited-to-no vested interest in you or your business.
Here are Five Job Performance Management Processes that you should have in place, that will help recruit and retain the best employees and propel your business to new levels.
- Setting Expectations
Every team member should have a well-written job description that spells out the principle functions, duties, and expectations of job performance. Management should, with insight from team members, review and update job descriptions at regular intervals (1-3 years) to reflect the true and sometimes evolutionary scope of job responsibilities. This will foster clarity and confidence, and will positively contribute to the overall efficiency of the organization.
Every team member should also have a well-conceived set of 3-5 personal objectives comprised of: a.) functional objectives that are well aligned with the company’s goals, and b.) personal development objectives that will enhance the team member’s value to the company. Personal objectives should be reviewed with management and updated at regular intervals (quarterly, bi-annually, annually) – see #3 below.
- Ongoing Training and Personal Development
Nothing in business is more important than developing your “A” players and dealing with your “C” players. Your “A” players need to know that the company has their best interests in mind and that they will have access to the necessary tools to perform their job duties to a high standard.
Over-and-above formal personal objective setting and performance reviews, managers need to routinely engage team members in informal conversation and listen for ideas on how to improve job performance through training and skills development. This is particularly important when implementing the use of new business tools and processes that are intended to drive productivity and value to the company.
Managers should always build on the learnings from internal and external training and should encourage sharing of information and best practices to foster a continuous learning culture.
- Periodic, Formal Performance Feedback
Critical to the management of individual team member performance and thus to the achievement of the company’s goals are formal team member performance feedback sessions. Performance feedback sessions promote open communication and better working relationships; they provide clarity of expectations, while creating a historic record of job performance. Performance feedback sessions should be well structured (we encourage the use of a form) and undertaken at regular intervals (proportional to the pace of change and/or relative ambitions of the business).
We advocate a team member driven approach to performance feedback whereby the team member takes primary responsibility for the session. He/she leads the conversation with the manager stating: big wins, outcomes relative to goals, opportunities for improvement, and areas requiring assistance from other sources. In this context, the manager’s primary role is to schedule the meeting, assure an open, non-threatening environment, listen intently and offer supportive insight most effectively using a “coaching” or “facilitative” leadership style.
- Critical Feedback
When job performance or interpersonal relationships go astray, it is important for the manager to identify the “issue” and act quickly and to address it. Addressing the issue requires critical management feedback – the delicate balance between the uncompromising commitment to achieving the best possible outcomes and a genuine caring for the individual.
When engaging the team member, the manager should do so in a private setting and frame the “issue” as a situation to be solved. There should be no finger pointing or declaration of war. Summarize the behaviors or situation as unacceptable, remove all emotion, state and validate the facts, and listen carefully when asking for insights or potential solutions.
If the behavior or situation is a matter of gross negligence or violations of company policies, it may be necessary to take disciplinary action. This should be undertaken in accordance to company process or policy.
- Recognition & Rewards
Every team member wants to be recognized for their achievements and positive contributions to the company. Recognition builds confidence and self-esteem and redirects the focus to core values, vision and mission. It promotes a positive and value-adding culture.
Effective recognition tactics include: personal attention, public praise, prizes, and appreciation events. All should be undertaken with sincerity and purpose and in a way that is aligned with the core values of the company. Consideration should always be given to the needs of the individual.