In a quest to improve performance management at our organizations, we try to improve performance management tools and process. Instead we should be focusing on improving the efficiency of performance management behavior. 

Though companies only see Performance Management as an administrative process, they fail to understand the impact it makes on business bottom line. 

1. Communication of the bigger picture

Helps employees to understand the bigger picture and how they are contributing to the overall progress of the company.

Employees feel more responsible for connected, make wiser decisions. For managers, it becomes less work as the employees now understand the bigger picture and have increasing results.

2. Continuous feedback

Employees feel part of the system and more confident about their contributions. They understand how their work is shaping up and being useful. Managers get higher quality of work from staff with less iteration of rework.

3. Team leader plays the mentor

Team Leaders accomplish more, succeed faster and focus on what they do. Employees grow and develop, one of the primary motives of Performance Management.

4. De-emphasize and streamline administrative requirements

Often, a lot of administrative requirements create hindrance to the performance review process. With focus on timely form filling exercise, the focus from performance discussion goes away. Reduce the number of steps and process.

5. Keep 2-3 competencies maximum    

 Keep as few competencies required to achieve result. Break down the process which is used to achieve results. Analyze and only keep absolute necessary steps which will help to achieve targets. Large number of competencies require more amount of time by the managers and thus causes a hindrance in making the process a daily affair.

6. Introduce new training

Behavioral change training should be conducted with the help of tools, environmental cues. The idea is to get away from traditional training, focus on knowing/doing gap, skill building and training for both managers and employees.

7. The right people in leadership

Selecting people with strong leadership skill is important and vital to Performance Management practices. If you are promoting someone just on the basis of technical skills, it might take time and effort is needed for training them. Select someone who can drive everyone towards results and helps people to develop.

8. Tools and resources

Provide tools and behaviors that will help people to do make performance management a part of their daily life. Simple things like message of the day from leadership, making ‘quick guide tours’ which are ready reckoners for managers as well as employee on how to go towards result and drive skill development. Automated tools(like GroSum, TinyPulse, BetterWorks) with simpler access to the management, so that they can use them daily and make performance management part of their daily routine.

9. Make leaders accountable

Have employee surveys which shows if managers are driving development and giving growth opportunities, providing enough feedback. Use the results of these surveys to guide managers and adjust behaviors.

The reinvention of Performance Management lies in creating trust between employees and managers, reducing administrative and formal burdens. There might be great effort in putting the above guidelines in place, but if done once, they will have high quality results.

For further reading, you can read material written by Elaine Pulakos.