January 11, 2016

4 Ways to Shake Up Your Performance Management Process


It’s easy to talk about shaking up your performance management process, but when it comes to actually doing something about it, many employers fall short. Why is that?

The answer is simple, really: Employers get busy, and they get stuck in their ways. Lacking the time to take on a comprehensive overhaul of their performance management processes, many employers just decide that their processes are “good enough.”

I have news for you: It’s time to wake up. That kind of thinking no longer cuts it, because a poorly operated employee review process could harm employee productivity at your organization. Employees want feedback, and they want to know their worth to the company. It’s your job to communicate feedback effectively – so get on it!

After all, an astounding 69 percent of employees say they would work harder if they thought their efforts were being recognized and appreciated.

If your performance management and employee review processes aren’t up to snuff, here are four suggestions to help you improve these critical aspects of your business:

1. Revamp Your Questions

Does your stack of go-to performance review questions seem to be covered in a thick layer of dust? It’s time to stop with the one-size-fits-all approach. Instead, you should be tailoring your questions to your employees and starting conversations.

Some new questions to consider adding to your arsenal:

– In what ways would you like to be creatively challenged in your position?

– Talk about a time you had a conflict with a boss or superior in the past. How did you deal with it?

– How can I help you manage/achieve your goals?

– Which one of your fellow team members/team leaders inspires you the most? Why?

– Have you ever felt undervalued in the workplace? What made you feel that way?

2. Bring Both Long-Term and Short-Term Goals to the Table

SuccessDuring performance reviews, you should be talking about both long-term and short-term goals with your employees. That way, your employees will know that they have both a current purpose (short-term goals) and overall relevance to your company (long-term goals).

Jason Evanish, founder of the management app Lighthouse, explains the importance and purpose of both long- and short-term goals pretty well:

“Short-term goals are things to be done in the current quarter or month. They’re high-level projects assigned to that person … These are all about getting feedback so you can improve their day to day and relieve frustrations on their projects …

“Long-term goals are all about who they want to become. Everyone is growing in different ways, and people are happiest when they feel like they’re making progress on their big life goals.”

3. Connect Company Goals With Employee Performance

Show your employees that their work and accomplishments directly affect the company and that they are instrumental to helping the organization reach its full potential. As SuccessFactors puts it,

“Using goal alignment to communicate expectations, document progress, and identify employee strengths and weaknesses enables management to act and make strategic decisions rapidly. By ensuring that your employees understand what your organization is trying to achieve, and how his or her role –and performance – contributes to the organization’s core mission, you can focus their efforts on your company’s most important goals.”

Goal alignment is a cooperative tactic in which you communicate both the company’s goals and the goals you have for your employees, in accordance with the effect these goals have on the company as a whole. Ensuring this alignment exists between employee and company performance will likely boost engagement and productivity in the trenches.

4. Conduct Performance Reviews More Frequently

PuzzleThe more often that you offer constructive advice and feedback, the more opportunities your employees will have for improvement. As SHRM contributor Greg Wright explains, “Experts say conducting more-frequent evaluations also appeals to an increasingly younger workforce that appreciates fast feedback from colleagues because they were raised on instant communication such as text and video messaging.”

Now that you have a few tips to help you ramp up you performance review process, you can put yourself and your company to the test. Incorporate these ideas into your performance management operations and just see if your company’s overall success doesn’t improve.

Read more in Performance Management

Chris Arringdale is the cofounder and president of Reviewsnap, an online performance appraisal software that allows you to customize performance management, competencies, rating scales, and review periods. Reviewsnap serves more than 1,200 customers worldwide, including Penske Racing, CubeSmart, PrimeSource, and Nonprofit HR Solutions.