Five Imperatives for Driving the Future of Performance Management

As performance management evolves from an isolated HR-driven process to an intrinsic part of everyday business processes, lawn and landscape companies should consider Five Imperatives for emphasizing increased engagement through employee satisfaction and contribution.

Imperative 1: Develop Great Managers…

Great managers inspire their people to achieve exceptional outcomes by taking the time to understand what motivates them.

They also drive growth by providing a challenging workplace where people feel comfortable enough to experiment, communicate and support one another.

Some sources say that up to 70% of employee engagement is impacted by employee-manager relationships.

In the next-generation performance management model, the role of the manager continues to change from command and control to more coach and mentor. Although managers today require an entirely new skill set to excel, most organizations do not focus on building leadership skills for their frontline managers.

Great leaders have a rare combination of five talents:

  • They motivate their employees

  • Assert themselves to overcome obstacles

  • Create a culture of accountability

  • Build trusting relationships

  • Make informed unbiased decisions

All for the good of their team and company…

Imperative 2: Set goals that drive outcomes…

The connection between an employee’s work, their value to the organization and their impact on an organizational outcome is a key driver of employee satisfaction and engagement. When employees know what is expected of them and clearly see the impact they have on the organization’s success, they are motivated to deliver results.

To make the future of performance management a reality, organizations must move toward more collaborative and simplified goal setting, including designing goals that motivate and play to an employee’s strengths. Employees should be able to link individual and shared goals directly to organizational goals to identify alignment and be reviewed and revised frequently to ensure continued alignment.

When managers conduct frequent check-ins on quarterly goals, companies can realize 30-40% greater returns. Goal accountability focuses on 4 key activities:

  • 1) Setting motivating goals that are linked to business outcomes

  • 2) Reviewing and revising goals to ensure they are still aligned

  • 3) Coaching for accountability

  • 4) Providing feedback and recognition for what and how outcomes are achieved

Imperative 3: Build a feedback- and recognition-rich culture…

Working with great people is continually one of the top 10 reasons employees stay at a company. True success is creating an environment where all employees are comfortable giving and receiving feedback about performance. By receiving continuous feedback, employees will better understand what behaviors they should continue, and which do not support their development.

Organizations that nurture a feedback-rich culture and encourage all employees to share feedback have more highly engaged workforces. Building an engaged workforce through ongoing feedback and recognition is the entire organization’s responsibility and should no longer be viewed as just an HR priority but rather an overall business priority.

Research indicates that managers are consistently rated as “poor” on providing feedback and recognizing employees. One reason for this is managers fail to understand the importance. There is a broad assumption that employees understand that lack of feedback means that the employee is doing well. Gallup suggests that “frequent personalized feedback and recognition is one of the surest ways to drive that shift in workplaces worldwide.”

Recognition builds better employee/manager relationships.

The stronger the recognition practices, the stronger they feel their relationship is with their direct manager. Among the 512 US employees who say their company has strong recognition practices, 83.6% feel a strong relationship with their direct manager.

That number dips to 51% among those who reported a lack of such practices at their companies.

Imperative 4: Establish a culture of forward-focused growth and development…

Learning opportunities and employee development are top drivers of employee satisfaction, which means learning and development should no longer be just a once-in-a-while activity. It has become a business-critical priority for increasing skills, staying competitive and improving employee engagement.

Employees expect their organizations to invest in their development and provide them with the skills they need to succeed. Without a commitment to developing employees, companies risk losing key talent and not having the skills they need to compete.

When it comes to staff development, direct managers have the largest role to play in providing employees with an opportunity to apply and grow their skills and abilities.

Managers must proactively facilitate employee development by enabling employees to learn though stretch assignments, team collaboration, and regular coaching and feedback.

64% of leaders identified “managers don’t encourage, enable or follow up” as an obstacle for learning.

In addition to identifying areas for improvement and development, great managers can build engagement through strengths-based development. While focusing on strengths does not mean ignoring weaknesses, being aware of limitations provides a great opportunity for collaboration to further develop and learn.

The next generation of performance management is tightly aligned with building a culture of continuous development rather than leaving it as an afterthought or merely a method to address poor performance.

Imperative 5: Conduct ongoing performance discussions…

Building strong manager-employee relationships drives employee engagement. One of the ways to improve the manager-employee relationship and establish the trust needed for engagement is through consistent communication and meaningful ongoing performance conversations.

These conversations connect and drive your entire talent management strategy

  • From onboarding new hires

  • To supporting a culture of learning and development

  • To recognizing and rewarding success

  • To supporting career mobility and succession

Employees whose managers hold regular meetings with them are almost 3X as likely to be engaged. Employees want their managers to be open and approachable. Consistent two-way communication helps employees feel safe and supported, and it builds a productive workplace in which people feel comfortable enough to experiment, to challenge, to share information and to support one another.

To make ongoing performance discussions meaningful to the employee and improve performance, these conversations should:

  • Focus on employee contributions

  • Clarify expectations and accountability around goals and development

  • Discuss what motivates employees and what can drive greater job satisfaction

  • Provide opportunities for feedback, recognition and coaching

These activities make conversation personal for the employee, which drives improved satisfaction. At the same time, discussions reinforce organizational culture and values, and ensure desired outcomes are achieved.

One-on-one meetings between managers and employees are an ideal opportunity to discuss organizational priorities, employee challenges and manager expectations. Meetings should be scheduled and committed to, occurring as frequently as once a week to cover feedback, goal review and revision, and development and recognition.

How ongoing performance management connects all talent management areas…

The best performance management programs incorporate the five Imperatives, while also forming a foundation for all of an organization’s talent programs. This means that as companies adopt new performance management practices, they must consider whether changes will support other talent management functions.

Be Well, Do Good Work, and Keep In Touch.

Fred Haskett

To Learn More Contact Fred at TrueWinds Consulting

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