4 Pillars of Performance Management

Performance Management
Performance Management

A common story of workplace woes: a new employee joins your team. They have the right skills and qualifications, seem like a great fit, and your team is excited to welcome them. However, the contribution that you were expecting never materializes. 

After working with dozens of small business owners who struggle with employee performance management, I’ve noticed a few trends emerge again and again. 

I’ve also worked with organizations that hum along. The culture is great, and they are the perfect picture postcard of a high performing team.

Thus, here are the four critical areas to have in place for optimal team performance. 

  1. Job descriptions - No one LOVES (or even likes) to update job descriptions, but if these aren’t updated and communicated throughout the organization - especially during times of growth - it is easy for key responsibilities to get missed, not receive enough attention, or for multiple people to be working on the same thing. This can lead to inefficiencies, and people get upset when others start swimming in their lanes. Lack of clarity can also lead to balls being dropped, which opens the door to finger pointing and discord. When have your job descriptions been updated, and does everyone have access to all of them?
  2. Focus - Does your organization have a dashboard, or system of making sure that everyone has a “number” or other way of clearly understanding priorities? This is when a business framework, like Entrepreneur’s Operating System (EOS), can make sure that the organization is frequently reviewing and aligned on Key Performance Indicators, or metrics. Once the organizational priorities for the year are established, make sure that there is a way for employees to have specific ways that they contribute. Getting everyone on the same page and aligned around the biggest priorities can help each individual set their annual, quarterly, weekly and daily goals to have the biggest impact on the organization. Many of my clients have just finished goal setting for 2024. Do your employees know what defines success for the organization, and for themselves?
  3. Project management - Does your organization have a way to track short term activities and is accountable for deliverables and deadlines?  Business frameworks, and project management software like Asana, can help ensure that everyone knows what needs to be done by when. Some people think that having a system that gets into this level of detail is “micromanaging,” while I think of it as “managing.” If there are a lot of ongoing projects, hiring a dedicated project manager can make sense. You might have high performing subject matter experts that hate following up with people or keeping track of budget details. Free them of this responsibility and bring on someone that loves Gantt charts and driving things forward! 
  4. Feedback - Employees crave time with their supervisors to understand goals, priorities, how their effort fits into the bigger picture, to get immediate feedback when something could be done better, and to receive recognition (especially public) when things go right. Managers can be busy, and the remote and hybrid environments that exist right now don’t help. Each manager should be spending at least 15 minutes per week touching base with each team member. Having quarterly or semi-annual “celebrate success” meetings can build in regular times for mentoring and support outside of a stuffy formal performance review process. It is VERY important for managers to get feedback from their team and peers. A 360 degree feedback system helps make sure that the managers are creating a positive culture and team. As the saying goes, “People don’t leave companies, they leave managers.” Do you have a regular feedback system that helps nourish your employees desire for growth?

If an organization can get these four areas right, then you have created an environment that helps your employees be their best. 

Want to dive deeper?

Here are some free resources we can provide for you:

  • Job description template
  • Performance Management whitepaper

Want to take your performance management tools to the next level?

Here are some ways that we can help:

  • HR one hour “Quick chat” to talk about your specific performance management situations
  • Performance management workshop for managers
  • Facilitated 360 feedback session for managers (We are offering a “Buy One, Get One” for the months of March and April - a $750 value!
  • Performance management system designed for your culture and organization

You can email me at amy@amycelltalent.com or call me at 734-747-2936.

Next month I’ll be musing about employee engagement. Do you have a question that I can answer - send it to me at Amy@AmyCellTalent.com

About The Author: Amy Cell

Amy Cell is a renowned and passionate pioneer in HR and Talent initiatives. She also leads an innovative consulting firm that specializes in recruiting and HR services for startups, small businesses, and municipalities.

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