What is Performance Management and Why Should I Care?

It would be great if everyone puts their best foot forward but the reality is that most employees need good leadership and performance management to bring out the best in them. So what can you do to take your employee’s performance to the next level? Disclaimer – don’t expect any immediate fireworks, because success doesn’t happen overnight. But you can get the ball rolling by knowing their strengths, nurturing their talents, setting clear expectations, and measuring their performance.

The First Step in Performance Management 

Take some time to understand and identify each individual by their strengths – it’ll pay off in the long run. According to research done by Gallup, people who use their strengths every day are six times more likely to be engaged on the job. As a result, they are more productive and produce better work. It takes time to find the strength of each employee, especially if their job doesn’t offer an opportunity to showcase that strength. Some strengths could even slip under the radar like the ability to organise their thoughts cohesively or connect seemingly unrelated concepts. But you’ll find this to be a worthy pursuit because bringing out the best in your team will bring out the best in your company.

So what about their weaknesses? While it is good to leverage on your employee’s strength, their weaknesses definitely shouldn’t be ignored, especially if it hinders the employee’s full capability. Weaknesses should still be monitored and corrected. It’s important to have open discussions with individuals about their weaknesses and struggles so that you can plan what upskilling is needed. 

Develop And Nurture

Now that you have identified your employee’s strengths, you can start planning their training with reference to the 70-20-10 model. Based on this model, training is most effective when 70% of learning happens through hands-on experience, 20% from others (mentoring, interactions, or podcasts), and surprisingly only 10% through traditionally structured courses.

While training your employee, start formulating a clear career path based on his or her strengths. It’s important that you communicate your plan with them. Sometimes what the employee wants to pursue may not be playing to their strengths. There is a distinction between aspiration and capability.

Set Clear Expectations

Setting expectations sounds simple, doesn’t it? However, according to a survey conducted by Gallup on companies worldwide, about 50% of employees are unsure of what is expected of them at work. From the onset, informing them of your expectations will prevent any unwanted surprises at performance appraisals. By setting out objectives for them to meet, they are better able to focus on the goals and it ensures that both of you are on the same page. So do yourself and your employee a favour by sparing them from an unintentional performance shortfall.

When it comes to reviewing the goals, Leon Yeo, Ex-Chairman and EVP of Wood Mackenzie, shares with Tigerhall that companies usually have mid-term reviews and year-end reviews, but he encourages managers and employees to conduct reviews on a more regular basis. A short, informal catch-up session to run through their progress and share your assessment of them would be extremely helpful in bringing out the best in them.

Measure Their Performance

How do you get a fair and accurate assessment of work performance? Well, look no further as Leon Yeo, Tigerhall expert suggests using the 9 Box Performance & Potential framework to measure performance quantitatively.

Start by plotting a 3×3 graph with potential and performance on either axis. On this graph, position each employee based on your assessment of them. If done correctly, your top performer with the highest potential will be on the top right corner. Whereas, your underperformer with limited potential will be on the bottom left corner.

What about measuring performance qualitatively? Soft skills, behaviour, and attitude can be rather subjective. However, you can apply the 360-degree feedback method to minimise subjectivity. This method assesses the employee based on the reviews given by multiple sources such as their peers, subordinates, supervisors, and customers.

Eventually, your way of performance management will get better and more individualised through experience. As with most challenges, sometimes certain situations call for different measures and there is no one-size-fits-all solution. If you want to find out more about performance management, hear from Leon Yeo, Ex-Chairman and EVP of Wood Mackenzie, as he explains how to manage your underperformers, middle-grounders, and top talents on Tigerhall. 

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