Rethinking Performance Management

Continuous feedback—which provides productive, useful tools to employees and organizations alike—is becoming the heart of performance management.

Performance management is about cultivating the skills and behaviors in your workforce that will help you achieve your organizational goals. Continuous feedback—which provides productive, useful tools to employees and organizations alike—is becoming the heart of performance management. Being able to collect and share feedback on a regular basis helps validate an employee’s contributions and identify development opportunities.

A “good job” or “high five” is not enough— the feedback process needs to pivot to competency-based feedback so there is a better measure of the target behaviors and skills. As an alternative to the annual performance review, many organizations are implementing monthly discussions or biannual conversations with each employee. Using a structured format, these conversations help to normalize the feedback process, provide the opportunity to assess recent and ongoing performance, and allow organizations to check on progress with more regularity.

Shifting from manager to coach is another strategy some innovative talent management teams are employing. Particularly with high-performing employees, the supervisor’s role increasingly is shifting to that of coach. Leadership coaching is not about teaching rote skills; it is about helping employees identify the areas they themselves want to improve. Leadership coaches use guided questions and observation to help employees discover, try, and assess for themselves the techniques to tackle everything from self-confidence and interpersonal relationships to communication styles and body language. The coach acts as a guide who leads employees through a period of self-discovery that can be transformative personally and professionally.

Communication gaps between employees and leadership occur when leadership fails to track employee success on a regular basis. When leaders lack insight into real-time employee performance, they have no way of knowing how to allocate resources to improve customer satisfaction. Continuous feedback based on job descriptions, along with leadership coaching, helps close the communication gap and align employee and company goals.

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