April 25, 2019: HR Morning – Secrets for Better Performance Management

May 2, 2019 | News

Performance Scoring Reviews: Tim McElgunn’s Article on the Secrets to Better Performance Management

In his recent HR Morning article, “Secrets for Better Performance Management,” Time McElgunn discusses the various (but connected) strategies and techniques needed to achieve better performance management. Performance Scoring recognizes how intertwined each of these strategies and techniques are, that’s why our performance management system was developed to give organizations the ability to measure their management of each respective strategy. The most important secret to improving performance management results is “that you can’t just discard techniques that you’ve tried and then set aside because they didn’t work as you hoped,” McElgunn begins. They must be analyzed and adapted, technology and data guide this step with reporting features. With effective performance management “you’ll see results in happier, more engaged workers; improved productivity, and a healthier work environment.”
Manager, know thyself
The best starting point when discussing performance improvement is with yourself. “Before you can be effective in helping an employee to improve performance, you need to think carefully about yourself,” observes McElgunn. Once you have given some thought to where the strengths and weaknesses lie in your leadership style you can move onto how that affects others. “As you are working to help employees improve their own performance they are observing how you handle yourself, so take some time to look from their perspective.”
The most common performance issues
Shifting gears, McElgunn then identifies the most common groupings for performance issues as:

  • “Individual productivity or lack thereof — Employee’s output of work is less than wanted and expected.”
  • “Attitude and dealing with others — The employee may be consistently negative, won’t speak up, is disrespectful to supervisors and co-workers, or exhibits other negative attitudes that hurt team morale and productivity.”
  • “Ability to work with others — Whether they have interpersonal issues, produce at a different volume than their peers, or don’t understand teamwork, some employees stand out in a negative way and negatively affect team performance.”
  • “Quality of work — Even where the volume of work meets your standards and expectation, the quality of that work is consistently below expectations for their position, experience level, etc.”
  • “Timeliness and responsiveness — An employee’s work is often behind schedule, they don’t show urgency in responding to requests, or they don’t meet commitments.”
  • “Refusal to follow instructions — Some employees resist being told how to do their work and fight against necessary changes.

Performance Scoring’s system will objectively measure performance in each of the groupings where issues commonly arise, and our guide to identifying Factors will help to view these groupings in the unique context of your organization.
Collaborate with your employees
As the spotlight grows on the glaring need for better performance management there is a consensus that employees need to be involved in the goal-setting phase of the process. McElgunn suggests to “sit down with the employee and explore some key questions together.” Herein begins the process of building a relationship of mutual respect between supervisor and employee that is vital to continuous coaching. Is the employee in an “environment that allows them to enjoy their job” while maximizing their duties? Involving employees in the process of identifying the Factors that drive their individual success will bolster accountability and keep all parties on the same page for what is expected.
Raising team performance
“A team is only as good as its parts,” McElgunn establishes. Develop the individual parts and the overall team organically improves, but a poor performer can inhibit the development of peers and their quality of work. The opposite is also true though, and “you want your highest performers to interact with your least productive employees.” The interaction of high-performers will bring up the production of the whole group. With a performance management system in place, management will also have a more holistic view of performance as the high-performers will offer peer-to-peer feedback likely lost by the interaction strictly between poor performers.
Development Opportunity
When high performers raise team performance, they enhance their individual promotability and leadership skills – invaluable to an organization. The interactions with low performers create “valuable development opportunities for your top employees.” These are important opportunities that are often overlooked with so much performance focus being focused on low and mid-performers. “By expressing your confidence and explaining your intentions, you’ve set up you’re a-teamer for success,” writes McElgunn. Employee development of all employees is critical to talent retention that performance management systems, like Performance Scoring, make fundamental to company culture.
Consider other influences
This strategy that McElgunn discusses is one that with a solid performance management system in place, and access to the respective data produced by the system, will become inherent. “It’s also important to look at what outside issues that you are not aware of might be impacting your employees’ performance.” This is ultimately why managers are so valuable – they identify and prevent the deviations from company operating procedures. Our clients set goals as an organization for their teams, and with Performance Scoring’s Factor System monitor progress towards their achievement in real-time. In this way, management teams can proactively identify the Factors that impact performance and lead to success at each role. “In most cases, taking the time to understand why issues are arising and being cleareyed about helping employees to learn and grow is worth the investment in time and money,” McElgunn concludes of the topic.
No article on improving performance management would be complete without mentioning coaching. Coaching is a critical requirement of any managerial style needed to lead the current workforce. When coaching employees, “start from a positive place” and “be open,” suggests McElgunn. Performance Scoring strongly recommends to each of its prospective clients that an overhaul in the performance management process requires emphasis on employee recognition. “As with every other aspect of people management, of course, it is critical that you document and share proof of relevant performance issues at the start of the coaching process.” It doesn’t seem possible to garner this proof without a performance management tool in place, Performance Scoring’s FactorBoard was designed specifically to provide the transparency and accountability needed to coach employees.
Inspire employees to take action
There are two main features in organizations that inspire their employees: employee engagement and recognition. When employees “look forward to showing up and creating value each day, you’re likely to see continuous individual improvement.” The Performance Scoring ScoreBoard is a company-wide display of performance that distinctively recognizes top performers for each ScoreCard Category. Businesses that prioritize their people find a motivated and inspired workforce comes naturally.
Empower employees to achieve more
Relinquishing some authority and empowering employees is something that understandably may be difficult for some managers, but an increasingly millennial workforce will require it. “Giving an employee responsibility without also giving them the authority needed to make decisions, get resources, and guide others’ work as necessary is a recipe for failure,” McElgunn proclaims. When employees are empowered, it is accompanied by accountability that must be present. This harps back to the importance of proper documentation that accompanies coaching, and again emphasizes why Performance Scoring’s FactorBoard is so vital to a company.
Motivating employees to higher performance
An investment and commitment into performance must be published to employees with full executive commitment to its importance. “Building and sustaining an energized workforce that takes initiative and is positive requires creating an inspiring atmosphere,” McElgunn affirms. Performance Scoring’s features weave in the different engagement and coaching strategies and techniques strengthening company culture and does so in a way where continuous improvement and development are second nature. McElgunn warns in closing that “employees recognize the difference between empty slogans and real commitment and will respond to an organization that walks the walk in creating a great place to work.” Performance Scoring’s development and ability to evolve with an organization secure its place as an ultimate tool needed for leadership to walk the walk and maintain a reputation of high-performance.