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Making Your Performance Management System Work


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By Mark Griffin 

Poor employee performance can kill an organization. Low productivity, incompetence, and unneeded expenses are the last thing you want at any time, particularly in today’s tough economy.

After decades of work in the field of business and human resources, I know that few things upgrade and energize an organization like a solid Performance Management System. A performance management system incorporates your organization’s annual goals and objectives to create the structure and accountability by which an employee can accomplish these goals and objectives and, more importantly, improve their lives. Only the highest-performing organizations make the performance review process a valued, appreciated, and eagerly anticipated system for the both organization and its employees.

Instead, what usually happens?

Sadly, many organizations do not systematically review or improve employee performance at all! This leads not only to unmet expectations from the management’s point of view, but also creates confusion and frustration for employees. The result is poor performance and money down the drain. Other times, organizations attempt to implement a yearly review but end up doing it backwards and it becomes counter-productive. This article will teach you how avoid this pitfall.

Have you ever weathered “The Dreaded Annual Review Meeting?”

Television and film have lampooned the phenomenon, highlighting the common foreboding employees feel and the waste of time such a meeting can be. How can you implement a Performance Review System that will consistently improve employee productivity and competency, save costs, and have eager employees lining up for it?

Start by avoiding these two biggest, most critical mistakes…

Mistake # 1 The leader fails to include input and participation of the employees at the beginning of the process.

The best performance programs are employee-driven. The leadership works in a “guide and support” role. This is a significant shift, but one that can make or break your organization. When the process of improvement and review is centered on and driven by the employees, it creates an emotionally potent sense of ownership and cooperation. Instead of being hounded and rebuked by a controlling boss, the employee is the source of increased performance through an active and vested role.

It behooves an employee to generate high performance and a good system will take this into account by providing employees the dignity of being responsible to see the improvement process through to the end. The performance program should encourage and reward employees who initiate performance conversations with management. A program executed well will encourage the employee to want to do better as he/she makes the efforts necessary to ensure it happens.

Mistake #2 Leaving out personal development.

Never forget the vital career development component. A simple career development piece can do wonders for employee morale and can be easily built right into your performance program. Employees naturally want to improve their lives and better their circumstances. A career development component helps employees know, envision, and subsequently achieve promotions, positions, and greater responsibility within your organization.

A career development focus gives the employee the opportunity to take ownership of their career destiny.

A good career development component helps the employees ascertain what they need to do to close the gaps in their experience and education in order to be promoted to other positions. Many great programs include education and seminars, but some cleverly include short-term assignments in other positions to gain vital hands-on experience.

If implementing a proper performance program seems daunting, remember that plenty of help is available from HR experts and also in the HR Mastery Toolkit we created to make high performance an ongoing reality for your organization. Your employees are not just your greatest assets; they are the key to ensuring that you can thrive in challenging economic times.

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Mark Griffin is founder and Chief Consultant at In His Name HR LLC. He has over 20 years of HR experience. You can check out his recently published book HERE. Follow Mark on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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