Organizations tend to encounter several common obstacles in their quest to develop effective employee performance management programs that can undermine their efforts or derail them altogether.
According to Bill Stavros, founder and CEO of Blueprint Interactions LLC, a Wayne, N.J.-based firm that consults in sales, marketing and customer experience, these include not having:
- clear goals and objectives;
- strong managers who provide specific, timely and frequent feedback;
- systems that automate goal-tracking; and
- sufficient tools to accomplish the objectives, such as inadequate staffing, overly complex systems, and other top-down impediments.
“These issues can adversely impact employee motivation and performance, resulting in a loss of good talent and [compromising] business results,” says Stavros. “Ultimately, the goal of employee performance management is to maximize the employee’s potential and align his or her goals with the organization’s goals to achieve the desired business results.”
What to do? Make developing performance goals a collaborative effort throughout all levels of the organization, Stavros advises, explaining this strategy will improve buy-in, a key ingredient for success. Communication is also essential. Managers and organizational leaders must provide frequent and very specific feedback—positive and corrective—as immediately as possible. This helps to speed employee development and reduces the risk that performance reviews will surprise, making that conversation much easier, Stavros says. Additionally, employees appreciate the feedback, which in turn, fosters engagement.
There are a few other mistakes Stavros cautions credit unions to be aware of. A too-frequent error he sees organizations commit is trying to turn an employee into something he or she is not and wasn’t hired to be, such as a salesperson, for example. “This is especially prevalent in credit unions that want to build a more sales-oriented culture,” he says. Another common misstep is focusing too much on results and not enough on processes, particularly where it concerns salaried employees.
“For example, take a call center agent,” says Stavros. “Their performance scorecard should heavily emphasize process, such as call quality and desired behaviors, like logging in on time and so on, and less on end results. Doing so better positions the credit union for sustainable results.”
You need to ensure that people are correctly following the prescribed processes, which have been determined to bring about the desired results, Stavros explains. This focus on correctly implementing processes will ensure consistency of results. If one were to focus on results only, without paying attention to how those results were achieved, then there is no long-term control over outcomes and consistency of outcome is not assured.
Pamela Mills-Senn is a freelance writer based in Long Beach, Calif.