The Power of Performance Management Tools

Big Think Edge | December 07, 2017

Strong performance has an enormous impact on an organization’s viability — it boils down to a team of highly effective, dedicated workers who can complete tasks quickly and efficiently.

If your organization struggles to create high-performing teams, tools like employee assessments, performance improvement plans, and employee learning/development courses can be a huge help.

The power of performance management tools in the workplace can take many forms, depending on the specific tool used and the manner in which it is used.

Helping Employees Reach Their Full Potential

One of the most essential goals of a performance management tool is to help employees reach their full potential. This means motivating the employee to be as creative, productive, and dedicated as they can be.

Performance improvement plans (PIPs) can be highly effective. By gathering information about an employee’s strengths and weaknesses, outlining the gaps between their current and expected performance, and creating a plan of action for addressing those gaps, organizations can help employees perform better at their job roles.

Creating that detailed plan for improving performance is like a map to guide that employee towards realizing their full potential. Even better, it demonstrates to the employee that the organization is invested in his or her best interests—an immediate boost to morale and company engagement.

By applying PIPs to employees at all levels of seniority, they can be utilized to maximize performance across the board, rather than be seen as a punishment for poor performers.

Preparing Employees for New Roles and Responsibilities

Employee assessments and performance reviews are often used as a part of the process to prepare employees for new job roles or responsibilities, and employees know it. As noted in a Big Think article by John Beeson, “Most career-oriented managers approach their annual performance reviews hoping to get useful feedback about what they need to do to increase their chances of getting promoted.”

However, many organizations don’t use performance reviews in a way that helps employees develop both in their current role and be forward thinking. Instead, as Beeson notes, “During a performance review, with its emphasis on your performance rating and salary increase, your boss is unlikely to really level with you about what you need to do to get ahead.”

By turning these performance reviews into career-path defining opportunities, organizations can both provide workers with insight into their performance and prepare them for future advancement. This helps to demonstrate to workers that they have a future in the organization and that there are opportunities for internal mobility—which can be a major motivating factor for younger generations of workers

Tracking KPIs Can Help Upper Management Maintain Focus on Major Goals

Performance management isn’t just for the rank and file workers in an organization. Upper management and senior-level execs also can benefit from performance management tools.

For example, key performance indicators (KPIs) are often used to manage performance across individual employees, entire teams and business units. Senior-level leaders in an organization can use these KPIs to track progress towards specific long-term goals.

These are the large-scale, aggressive goals that can allow the organization to improve in one or more major strategic categories:

  1. Service. Making services better to improve customer service, satisfaction, and/or retention.
  2. Social. Giving back to the community and improving the organization’s reputation.
  3. Profit. Making more money.
  4. Growth. Increasing the size of the organization by adding facilities, personnel, or market reach.

By tracking KPIs related to these goals, senior-level management can assess the organization’s progress toward achieving them. This also allows upper management to course-correct when progress toward long-term goals begins to slow by creating new short-term goals that feed into the long-term ones.

A set of aggressive long-term goals backed by KPI tracking can even help to drive employee motivation and a positive company culture that fosters innovation and productivity.

Performance management tools go far beyond simply improving performance for individual employees—they support organizations in preparing future leaders and encourage progress toward achieving long-term goals.

Now, here are a couple of questions to consider. First, does your organization have the right performance management tools?And second, what is your strategy for guiding employee performance after an assessment?

To help employees reach performance goals as part of a PIP or the performance-improving strategy, they need access to resources that can help them learn new skills, modify any deterring existing habits, and even foster innovative thinking.

Big Think Edge’s catalog of online learning content with engaging, expert-led lessons has hundreds of videos to directly support your performance management initiatives.

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