We're in an exciting time for performance management. People are sick and tired of their company's old, heavy, ineffective, time consuming annual review systems. Think about it, when have you ever heard someone say that they love performance reviews? Yeah, probably never.
Businesses are now opting for lightweight, easy to use, engaging, and effective performance management tools like Perform. But it isn't always easy to change decade old processes. Read on for five best practices to help you with the transition into Perform and away from your out of date system of the past.
1. Write SMART goals
SMART Goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. They clarify objectives so there are no questions about what’s expected in order to be considered successful. At the very least, goals should be S.M.T. Some think that Achievable and Realistic inhibit creativity and encourage employees to “play it safe.” See the example below and read more about writing effective goals.
- "Increase sales": This goal isn't specific (Increase sales by how much?), measurable (Is success considered any sort of increase or is there a specific target you want to hit?), achievable (Can you increase sales? What will you do to get there?), or time-bound (When should I see results?). I'm left with a lot of questions surrounding this goal.
- "Increase sales of Products X, Y, and Z by 12% by the end of Q2 2016.": This goal is specific (products X, Y, and Z), measurable (12%), achievable (I'll trust it for the sake of this argument), relevant (I sure hope a sales person wrote this goal), and time bound (end of Q2 2016).
2. Roll out a standard template for performance details.
The goal details and coaching tips sections in Perform are open text fields so employees and managers can write whatever they want. However, sometimes employees don't give enough detail about their performance to justify their rating or document their performance.
At TINYpulse, we have four standard points that each employee has to comment on each rating cycle and it works wonders for us, especially with having two offices spanning many timezones. You can decide which points are the most useful at your company and roll them out across the organization to get everyone on the same page.
At TINYpulse we use the General Performance goal to document the majority of our general performance details. And it's as simple as copying and pasting the template into the details and coaching tips box when you're ready to write.
- Highlights from the past rating period
- Goal updates
- Tasks to be completed before the next rating cycle
Using these four standard points, we have a pre-defined template to run 1:1 meetings. Both managers and employees come to the discussion informed and prepared to contribute each week. Again, this method has really improved transparency across our geo-distributed offices.
3. Give regular feedback and coaching tips every. single. rating. cycle.
According to Robert S. Kaplan and David P. Norton, a mere 7% of employees today fully understand their company's business strategies and what's expected of them in order to achieve company goals. (The Strategy-Focused Organization, Harvard Business School Press, 2001). Employees can't know how to improve their performance without regular coaching. Make sure to give feedback every rating period and read more about the importance in this best practices article.
4. Set a time box of 15 minutes per rating cycle.
Timeboxing is a term used in agile software development which means putting strict time boundaries around an activity. When the time limit is up, you finish working whether you’re done or not.
When you set a time box, you’re more motivated to finish tasks that you don’t want to do because you know you’re working against a clock. Only allow yourself 15 minutes each week to rate goals and give feedback if you're a leader with direct reports, and 7 minutes if you're an individual contributor. This will incent you to work quickly and efficiently to give the feedback your employees want and build out your performance portfolio without wasting too much time of your day.
5. Hold regular 1:1 meetings.
Perform is a tool to spark meaningful conversations and we think you should be having those conversations in person. Amy Adkins from Gallup states "Employees' engagement is directly influenced by their managers' engagement -- whose engagement is directly influenced by their managers' engagement... Employees who are supervised by highly engaged managers are 59% more likely to be engaged [themselves].”
Rating performance and writing coaching tips isn’t always enough to keep employees engaged. Don’t forget about the human element by having regular 1:1 meetings with your manager and direct reports.