A key function of a manager’s job is employee performance management, and yet, many managers haven’t been properly trained on how to effectively manage their team’s performance. These employee performance management best practices will help any supervisor or manager transform their team and their workplace.
Inspire Your Team
Inspiring your team begins with your attitude as a manager, and extends to your ability to communicate a shared vision and inspire your team to work hard. When you supervise others, they are always watching you and taking cues from your attitude, so choose to be positive, smile, and face challenges and problems with grace and a focus on solutions.
Inspiring your team also includes communicating your vision of what success looks like. Get employees’ input on defining a shared vision, as this will increase their buy-in and give them greater understanding of what their performance needs to be to achieve the team goals.
Encourage Your Team
Employee performance best practices include encouraging your team members when you see them doing something right. The more specific your feedback and praise, the more meaningful it is to the team member, and the more likely they are to repeat that behavior. Not every employee likes to be recognized and rewarded in the same way, so consider your employees’ personalities when giving praise. While some team members will thrive on applause and public awards, others would much prefer a handwritten note or a lunch together with you.
And, just as employees like to know that you’ve noticed them doing good work, they also like to know that you value their opinions and ideas. Regularly check in with each team member individually to ask them how they’re doing, how they think the team is doing, and how things could be improved. Lastly, you can encourage employees to succeed by making it okay to fail: treat failures in a positive and professional manner, creating a safe environment for team members to try new things.
Challenge Your Team
One of the hardest, but most important, employee performance management tasks is challenging employees to do better when you observe poor performance. Challenges don’t have to be confrontations, though, especially if you’ve taken action early, before a performance crisis occurs. Keep them private and positive - make sure to check your attitude so you don’t act with annoyance.
Before you speak with the employee, ensure you’ve already clearly communicated what is expected (maybe they just didn’t realize the standard), that there aren’t any conditions that are getting in the way of their performance (like they need more tools or training), and that they are aware that there are consequences for their performance (if they see no rewards and no repercussions, they’re unlikely to try very hard).
When you have your “challenge” conversation, it can be very brief and straightforward. Simply state what you’ve observed about their performance, listen for their response, then remind them what performance you expect. Ask what can be done to make sure this performance happens, and reinforce their commitment with a statement like “So we agree you’re going to be at work on-time every day from now on?”
For further information and in-depth training on employee performance management best practices, use The Practical Coach 2. This training video teaches managers the three most critical times to intervene as a performance coach, and provides realistic scenarios that model how to do so. It is a proven tool for management training.