Everything in your business rides on performance.

You can’t get to any element of success without some measure of performance factoring into it, and performance hinges on employee engagement. It all works together.

So, what does the perfect performance management system look like? What elements do you need to ensure optimal success?

Gallup’s State of the American Workplace Report put employee engagement at the forefront of job performance. The results of this study strongly suggest that the more engaged employees are, the more effectively and efficiently they will perform their jobs.

In fact, companies that have a culture of high employee engagement outperform their peers to the tune of 147% in earnings per share. This would indicate that any good performance management system would incorporate strategies that engage employees.

5 Elements for a Strong Performance Management System

These five factors speak to the needs of your employees, allowing them to perform their best and improve the overall success of your organization.

1. Set achievable, yet challenging goals

Any good plan for success begins with clearly defined goals.

Relevant goals should define an organization’s identity and need to be clearly communicated to all personnel. Your employees need to know where they are going and what is expected of them.

Ideally, employees should be involved in the goal-setting process. All too often, an upper manager will hand goals down through the chain. When those goals fall before the employees, the process is so far removed from the department and it is very obvious they were set by someone who has no grasp of how the work in that area is done.

The optimal solution is to involve employees in goal setting and get feedback regarding what it is like “in the trenches.” This bridges the gap between management and workforce, making management more accessible and the workforce feels more valued and relevant.

2. Give appraisals with clear, actionable feedback

Appraisals and feedback are often treated as more of an afterthought than a valuable performance tool for the organization.

The 360 Degree Feedback system is a powerful tool for achieving this because it provides a complete view of an individual’s strengths and weaknesses. It is highly customizable, so it can be tailored to fit any organization. The feedback is delivered by a trained professional who will frame it to accentuate opportunities and guidance for areas of improvement.

Feedback must be clear and detailed. This goes far beyond the typical “needs improvement” that many appraisal programs provide. When employees are given concrete examples and strategies for doing their job better, they are more inclined to take ownership of their position and have a vested interest in the business.

3. Offer opportunities for professional & personal development

Development closes the circle for appraisals and feedback. Once the appraisal has been completed and your employees have his or her feedback, they need a plan for what to do with the information.

Having development opportunities in place allows the employee to put into action what they learned about themselves from the assessment and feedback.

Development opportunities may include:

  • taking classes for professional development
  • seminars on personal growth
  • leadership development program
  • cross training to give employees experience in other areas of the organization

Training is sometimes provided to the employee who may have several deficiencies highlighted during their assessment, but even that is rare. Training should be ongoing in an organization.  

Train the trainer models are popular in the workplace and can be very effective. When used correctly, this allows peer-to-peer training, taking the pressure off of subject matter experts (SMEs) to always be available and able to provide training.

4. Give recognition & rewards for good performance

Just as an organization’s identity is defined through its goals, that identity should be communicated through the employee value proposition (EVP) that it has in place.

An EVP should answer the question, “I work here – what’s in it for me?” while reflecting the culture and values of the organization. This should be a part of what attracts talent to the company. The right EVP attracts the right talent, and retains it.

Effective rewards systems are specific to the organization, tapping into both behavioral and emotional elements of the job and the environment.

Cash rewards are popular, but according to the State of the American Workplace report, around 72% of businesses in the United States give their employees non-cash rewards such as merchandise, gift cards, paid time off, and trips.

5. Provide a culture that encourages teamwork, collaboration & open communication

An organizational culture that encourages employees to work together and collaborate creates high-performance workforces.

Communication is key to this as it fosters the sense of community and belonging that employees crave at their very basic human level.

This is one factor that even the best organizations often forget. You aren’t employing mindless robots designed to carry out your company’s wants, rather your employees are living, breathing, feeling humans who are designed by nature to seek out community at home and at work.

The more employees can work together, the more valued and empowered they feel.

Much of employee engagement depends on leadership in the organization. Employees take their cues from leaders. When leadership supports a strong performance management system, it improves the overall view that employees have of their company. As a result, you get engaged employees which translates to a happier, more comfortable, more productive workplace.

Improve Your Performance Management System

Let Edge Training Systems help increase employee engagement in your organization. Our 360 Degree Assessments, coaching, mentoring, and other support services will help give your employees a sense of feeling valued and show them that leadership wants them to succeed.  

You may also be interested in these employee development posts:

To learn more about performance management systems, contact Edge Training at 800-305-2025.