Managing Performance — Getting the Best out of Your Team – Part 2

Getting the Best out of Your Team – Part 2: Managing Performance

In order for your employees to perform to their potential, there are a number of things that they require, such as a safe and healthy work environment, the proper tools and equipment, enabling policies and procedures and maybe the most important is a clear understanding of what the organization expects from them and feedback on how well they are meeting those expectations.

It is this last area that we will discuss today in Getting the Best out of Your Team – Part 2: Managing Performance.  If your employees do not understand expectations or know how they are performing, you are relying on luck with respect to meeting your team’s goals and objectives and not performing one of the most critical functions of a people-manager.  Let’s look at these two elements, expectations and feedback, separately.

Expectations: Often referred to by human resources types as role clarity, it is essential that employees fully understand the accountabilities and performance objectives of their position and how their output contributes to overall team and organizational success.  This is most easily accomplished through having up-to-date job descriptions, establishing annual objectives and reviewing and reinforcing these regularly during informal and formal discussions.

When employees understand not only the what and how of their job, but also the why, they better appreciate the contribution they are making and hopefully develop increased pride in performing their job at a high level.

Feedback: Performance feedback comes in a number of ways depending on industry and position type.  In racing and other sports competitions, success is measured by finishing results and standings, with championship titles being the ultimate positive overall feedback.  Across other industries things like quality statistics, market share, sales volume, customer retention and units produced may be indicators of organizational, team and/or individual success.  For many, commission and/or bonus payments may also provide direct reinforcement of performance results.

If there are metrics such as the ones above available, they are a fantastic feedback tool, however simply posting stats and expecting employees to extrapolate what they mean with respect to their individual performance is insufficient.  It is your responsibility as a manager to relate any metrics to how individual employees are performing their job.  While it is hoped that employees take responsibility for their performance and independently look for ways to improve, this does not always happen.  Many marginal employees take the approach that they must be doing okay or their manager would tell them otherwise.  Many top employees also may not know how good they are, or how valued they are by the company, if you as their manager does not give them that feedback.

Managing performance is not just about addressing poor performance, it is also about recognizing and rewarding good performance.  Poor and marginal performers need coaching, training, encouragement and maybe even formal performance improvement programs that include the clear potential of them being terminated if their performance does not see sustained improvement.  Top performers need positive reinforcement of their contribution, opportunities to continue to increase their contribution and recognition of their performance.  Feeling appreciated and having input into organizational decisions are two key elements that are regularly identified as being keys to employee engagement. It is critical that you find ways to do this with top performers, and simply throwing some extra money at them is not sufficient.

You should have an annual (or even semi-annual) performance appraisal process in place where there is a formal document and discussion related to how well an employee met the accountabilities and performance objectives of their position.  However, it is important that the once a year performance appraisal meeting is not the only time during the year that performance feedback is provided.  It needs to be an ongoing process where there is regular reinforcement of expectations and standards and recognition of good results.  Something as simple as a quick ‘thank-you’ or ‘great job’ goes incredibly far in making employees feel that they are appreciated.

By ensuring that your employees understand what is expected of them and hear regularly how well they are performing their jobs, you will be able to maximize success and get the best out of your team.

H3R Human Resources Services Inc. is an HR consulting and outsourcing business with offices in the Lake Norman (Cornelius, Huntersville, Davidson, Mooresville) area of Charlotte, NC and Toronto, Canada that assists organizations achieve superior results through their people.

H3R is recognized for providing trusted and high quality counsel, support, products and services to small and medium sized businesses, non-profits and associations, financial services firms as well as specialized support for organizations involved in motorsports – teams, tracks, sanctioning bodies, media, suppliers.

H3R is a proud member of the North Carolina Motorsports Association, Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce and Mooresville-South Iredell Chamber of Commerce.

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