Managing performance in your business

The answer to this one is simple, yes!  Before we discuss the benefits of managing employee performance in business, lets first look at what performance management is.  Performance management is all about making sure your employees are aligned to your business’ goals and objectives.  (Note: We don't really like the phrase as it feels like it has negative connotations. We tend to utilise the language performance improvement or performance growth instead!)  Anyhows.... a good performance management process will enable you to create a shared vision of your businesses strategic direction and it provides a platform to set expectations and standards.  And, just as importantly, it creates a tool for employees to receive regular performance feedback and guidance.

For some business owners it may seem that implementing a performance management system will create unnecessary administrative headaches and incur costs that detract from the core part of your business. It may also appear to be overkill, as you are working with your employees all day anyway.  The fact is, there is a lot of research that strongly indicates good performance management systems increase employee engagement and performance, which in turn leads to a commitment to your business goals and improved business results.  Small businesses have so much to gain by implementing a performance management system, and it doesn’t have to be complicated - even the simplest of systems can be extremely effective. 

 Be clear about Company Vision and Goals

Be clear on what is you want to achieve in your business.  Have a business plan, and set overall goals for the business, and then individual goals for your employees which are:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Timely

An example of an individual goal may be your field tech needs to respond to on-site calls within 24 hours, or your receptionist needs to answer the phone within 3 rings, and greet customers in a particular way.

 Regular and consistent meetings with employees to give feedback

Performance management can’t happen only when you have time or just once a year.  A commitment to regular, consistent and constructive feedback is the key element.  Don’t feel you have to allocate big chunks of time in your diary to have meetings with employees. Scheduling in 20 mins once a week with each of your employees is a great starting point.

Some general rules for providing feedback include:

  • Frequently express praise and appreciation for good work - this can often be overlooked as a powerful motivator for staff.
  • Any improvement (constructive) feedback needs to focus on performance only, not the person, and should be coupled with steps for the employee to improve their performance in this area. As a side note, we encourage you to work with your staff in helping them personally develop and improve. It shouldn't be considered "negative" feedback. It is purely a means to perform better and grow as a person and business! Having this approach and culture within the business makes the conversations easier and opens a two way communication channel between both parties. 
  • Always follow up any constructive feedback with acknowledgement of any performance improvement. And it is often a good idea to provide coaching and mentoring between employees to assist with development.  Part of the feedback cycle in business is identifying areas of development for employees. Be proactive in trying to find solutions for employee development; mentoring between employees is a valuable and often under-utilised tool.
  • Embracing failure when it happens is often said but rarely done well.  If things don’t go wrong from time to time, the business probably isn’t pushing itself enough.  When failure arrives, embrace it, take corrective action, and then continue moving forward. At SOS we use a positive analysis technique to review things that go off the rails. We take the time to analyse what we would do More, Better, Less, Different if we had a next time. This tool helps identify positive changes that can be made to capitalise on the learnings from a rough experience. Side note, it is a pretty good tool to use at home too ;-)
  • If you want your employees to grow and develop, make sure you empower them to make decisions that enable them to utilise their skills and grow. Look for their strengths and fine ways to use them. Sometimes they won't even know it is a strength as it is second nature, so be sure to point them out. 

If feedback is something that happens regularly, it becomes a positive element of your culture, and employees expect it!   

If you need help implementing a performance growth aka "performance management" system, Sync or Swim can help.  We are passionate about helping you achieve every success in business, and have a proven track record of implementing some cracking systems to suit your personal style, your time, and your business. We can also coach you on how to have the right conversations with your people.

Get in touch with us today for a free 1 hour consultation to discuss your needs.