Too many companies struggle to get the most from staff because of poor and ineffective performance management systems. And that’s despite several attempts to redesign and tweak their current systems.

So what goes wrong?

Performance management has become very complex. Often the job of just maintaining the compliance requirements is time consuming and onerous. However, if you want real productivity gains much more than this needs to be done.

Research by Bersin & Associates in 2011 found that companies with strong, positive performance management processes outperformed their peers. Without an effective performance management system in place companies will struggle to be competitive.

If performance management is well-planned and well-executed, it can greatly improve enterprise success at all levels as well as advancing the motivation and morale of employees.

Role of Technology

In today’s hi-tech, economical and result-oriented business environment, injecting technology into the different facets of business is essential. This includes your staff performance systems and processes.

This is not to say that traditional performance management processes are antiquated or ineffective. It just means that by incorporating technology, performance management can be more efficient and cost-effective.

Consistency and Communication

Performance management is a continuous process of communication between supervisors/managers and the employees about job responsibilities, job performance, and expectations.

All too often this process breaks down because:

  • Compliance requirements are very specific and carry heavy responsibilities
  • Supervisors and managers often avoid conversations with employees about performance and expectations.
  • There is inconsistency in the quality and content of performance reviews.
  • There is a lack of a centralized responsibility to follow up and take actions as a result of performance reviews.

On the upside, if you have performance systems in place that provide effective and consistent feedback to staff the rewards are great.

You’ll also have a framework for feedback and coaching that fosters a high level of communication and teamwork.

What an Effective System Should Do

Any good performance management system should:

  • Establish open communication and foster a strong relationship between manager/supervisors and employees.
  • Provide transparency of the company’s and the employee’s goals, priorities and expectations.
  • Identify and determine solutions to problem areas affecting performance.
  • Recognize and support strong performance.
  • Align employee’s career goals with the organization’s objectives.

What about Coaching?

Coaching sessions are opportunities for both employees and supervisors to discuss progress in meeting certain goals or expectations. It is a personal and close interaction between supervisor and employee.

This allows supervisors to communicate feedback, recognize and reinforce strengths, and encourage areas where improvement is necessary. Unlike performance appraisal that happen quarterly or yearly, coaching is less formal and it can be done far more frequently.

 Effective performance management achieves corporate goals

An effective performance management helps diagnose performance-related deficiencies or problems and helps develop targeted training initiatives. It allows managers and supervisors to assess the training needs of staff. The training should be designed to meet the competency gaps of the workforce.

Targeted training will enable employees to correct deficiencies and improve their performance. It provides staff with the knowledge and skills that lead to increased productivity for the organization. The final result is a highly trained workforce all contributing towards clearly understood corporate goals.

Strategically complementing performance management provides mutual benefit for the workforce and the organization. While it helps staff gain competitive skills and knowledge that makes them succeed and reach their personal career goals, the organization enjoys the benefits for having a motivated and highly productive workforce and lower staff turn-over.

Learning Management System augments performance management

A Learning Management System (LMS) is technology based and it streamlines administrative and managerial functions in the learning and development area.

Most medium-sized to large companies with employees of more than a thousand (and may be in multiple locations) should have an LMS in place.

LMS doesn’t necessarily abandon traditional performance management methods which may includes face-to-face training and one-on-one coaching. In fact, it augments performance management in a more time and cost-efficient way. That means cost savings for the company.

LMS improves performance management processes by:

  • simplifying the creation and deployment of training
  • providing easy tracking and documentation
  • consolidating company-wide training information in one system
  • improving certifications and compliance requirements.

Whether it is a classroom type of training, computer-based or web-based training, LMS provides all the necessary tools to make training easier, effective and more straight-forward. With LMS in place, managers and supervisors can focus on the things they are good at—on managing and supervising people—and on the things that need their time and attention.

Call to action

As a takeaway, here are the three things to help improve the effectiveness of company’s performance management system:

  1. Link the performance management with the company’s learning programs.
  2. Align training programs with the organization’s needs and objectives.
  3. Improve the coaching skills of managers.
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