Employee Performance Management: Not for Big Business Alone
Many small business owners think of formal employee performance management as "overkill" administrative activities that they can put off until their business gets bigger. After all, you spend every day working closely with your employees. Why should you implement a formal process that adds administrative burden and stress?
3 Basic Performance Management Practices
1. Individual Goals Linked to Organizational Goals
Employees understand what is expected of them.
Employees (and bosses!) understand where to focus their efforts and how to prioritize their work to bring the best return.
Employees are motivated when they see how their work supports the overall business strategy.
- Managers have a basis for providing objective feedback and performance evaluation.
Engage the employees in the goal setting process. Because they are closest to their day to day work, employees are often in the best position to know how to improve it. And they will be more invested in working hard to achieve goals when their input is included.
Set SMART goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant to the business and Time-bound (have time parameters, such as “complete X project by May 15).
Make sure employees understand both what is expected of them (the goals) and how to achieve them.
- Write out the goals and make sure both employees and their managers have copies. If priorities change, review the goals and make adjustments as needed.
2. Ongoing, Constructive Feedback on Employee Performance
Frequently praise and express appreciation for good performance. This often overlooked practice is a powerful motivator, but it must be sincere and specific.
Focus negative criticism on the performance – how the current performance varies from expected performance as defined in the goals -- rather than the person. Include coaching on what needs to change to improve the performance.
After delivering negative feedback, watch for the opportunity to acknowledge small improvement steps. This encourages the employee to continue efforts to improve.
- Feel free to praise positive performance in front of others, but always deliver negative feedback in private.
3. Development Opportunities to Support Goals and Performance
About The Author
Sean Conrad is a senior product analyst at Halogen Software, as well as a Certified Human Capital Strategist. He’s presented at a number of conferences, and writes about effective ways to manage and motivate your employees and other topics on the Halogen blog.
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