Continuous Performance Management

If you’ve read our Guide to Mastering Continuous Performance Management with 1:1 Meetings, you have already grasped an essential piece of the performance management process.

1:1 Meetings are arguably the best way to build a foundation for a solid relationship between team members and their team leads. Having a recurring time on the calendar to check in with each team member sparks open two-way communication, strategic thinking, and collaboration in different aspects of the employee’s work life. 

But these check-ins are only one part of a successful performance management process. 

What is Performance Management?

Performance management is the continuous process of monitoring your employees’ progress, giving and receiving feedback on their work progress, and setting individual and team goals aligned to the goals of the company. Doing so ensures they have the tools and resources needed to improve their job performance. 

The key to effective performance management is that it must be done continuously. Traditionally, a performance review has been an annual evaluation. But more recently, business leaders have adopted an ongoing review process with frequent check-ins and more variety of KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) to assess performance on a more granular level. This system allows managers to track, assess, correct, and reward performance when needed. 

Why is Performance Management Important? 

A great performance management system proactively aligns the company’s objective target and includes employees’ individual objectives within the goal-setting process. By including regular feedback, it allows managers to spot and address potential conflicts quickly to keep motivation and morale high and on track. 

Through both formal and informal processes, businesses work to align their employees, resources, and systems to meet strategic objectives. Improving employee engagement in this process helps to improve company productivity and ultimately leads to increasing a company’s profitability by boosting performance management. 

Performance Management Training 

Performance Management training is the initiative in which employees work with their company to improve their work performance and skills and aims to improve performance in the short term and advance career trajectory. 

Performance training often includes 1:1 meetings and quarterly or annual reviews in order to be transparent and provide a framework of how their job duties and tasks should be completed. There are several benefits to training in a performance management point of view that assist in lowering employee turnover, higher employee productivity, higher customer satisfaction, and higher profits. 

Maintaining An Open and Transparent Culture 

Establishing a performance management system that embraces transparency is important to outline the process as far in advance as possible. Management should be with demonstrate preparation and provide the necessary tools in order to achieve a positive outcome and ultimately succeed. Teams should be clear about the motivations behind the process, encourage employees to be invested in it, and how their individual and team accomplishments contribute to corporate excellence. 

Setting Effective Goals 

A good performance management strategy always begins with setting practical goals. Defining SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound) goals is a good way to ensure that your objectives are attainable in a certain time frame and set a clear path for achieving these goals by eliminating guesswork. 

  1. Specific

For a goal to be effective, it needs to answer a specific question. 

A specific goal answers questions like:

  • What needs to be accomplished?
  • What steps need to be taken to achieve it?
  • Who’s responsible for it?

1. Measurable 

Specificity is a good starting place when coming up with new goals, but quantifying them makes it easier to track the progress and completion of the objective. 

Scorecards are a good tool to use in order to keep a “score” of everyone’s progress. Using our new KPI dashboard feature, software like Align, will help with this. Having a visual representation of all your critical numbers right in front of you makes it easy for review and assessment. 

2. Achievable

This is the point in the progress where you should reflect if your goals are realistic and if the objective is something your team can accomplish. If goals are set by someone else in the company, make sure you are communicating any restraints you’re working under or complications that might shift the end date to build trust among team members. Being honest and transparent can assist in setting realistic goals for you individually and the company as a whole.

3. Relevant 

Relevancy is all about thinking about the big picture; why are you setting the goal you’re setting?

4. Time-Bound 

To measure success accurately, it is imperative that your team is all on the same page with goal alignment by working together to create and implement the tasks at hand and set a time frame for completion. 

Knowing how to set goals using the SMART framework can help you and your team succeed in setting and achieving goals, no matter the size. 

The Impact of Information

At Align, we emphasize the importance of using KPIs to track the company’s progress on goals. It’s the same with your employees’ progress. Data is valuable yet significantly underused when businesses don’t take advantage of the data that is readily available to them.

Doug Walner, Align CEO, credits the use of data for helping him refine his performance review process for each employee.

“The value of performance management on a continuous basis is that it helps eliminate subjectivity from the review. If you meet frequently and use a tracking system to gauge progress, you don’t have to worry about inconsistencies with reports or discrepancies in your assessments. The data doesn’t lie, and it helps hold your team members accountable.” – Doug Walner, Align CEO. 

Think about how many aspects of your business strategy use metrics. From tracking revenue and cash flow to marketing research and consumer behavior, business leaders’ most important decisions are based on data. It helps create a black and white picture of what’s working, what needs improvement, and where your efforts need to be focused most.

To learn how Align can help you improve your performance management strategy, book a demo with us today.

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