For many people working in organisations taking on a continuous performance management approach, a worry might arise around frequent performance conversations, or more specifically, what to talk about during these conversations.
At Advanced Clear Review we recommend managers and their team members have one on one conversations once a month. But having a conversation is not going to do any good if they don’t focus on what matters, which is why great conversations need to be:
1. A safe and honest dialog
These conversations are not a time for employees to be judged, they shouldn’t have negative associations, otherwise people will not talk openly. This doesn’t mean concerns about performance cannot be raised, just that it should be done in a helpful and constructive way, as part of a wider conversation.
Instead of going on the attack, teach managers to ask questions that get to the root cause of the issue. Maybe their team member is over worked, stressed at home or demotivated with their role. Once the issue has been identified they can offer support and resources to try get the employee back on track.
2. Separate from pay and reward discussions
If somebody thinks that any blockers / concerns that they may raise might in some way impact on a pay increase or bonus, they are much less likely to open up about it. That’s why these conversations should be kept completely separate from pay and reward discussions.
Let your employees know that pay and reward will not be forgotten about, but that these one on one conversations are about performance and development, and if they want to discuss pay this should be a separate meeting.
This way your conversations can remain focussed on managing performance, and people will hopefully be more forth coming about any problems they are having with the pay discussions off the table.
3. A two way conversation
These conversations should not be the employee being talked at by their managers, nor should it be up to the employee to drive the conversation either. This is a time for open two way dialog, using some of the talking points we’ve listed below as jumping off points, they should be about give and take.
Managers should use this time to ask questions to gauge performance, engagement and stress levels, make suggestions and ensure all key points are covered, and the employee should have the chance to voice how they feel their performance is doing, input on their goals and call out any problems.
What to talk about
Goals and objectives
Performance conversations are a chance to check progress against goals and objectives (the goal is the overarching target and the objectives are breakdown tasks within them) and to set new goals for the coming weeks.
By setting short term goals progress against them means they can be tracked, they can be better aligned with any changes in company objectives, and employees are much less likely to lose motivation with these then if they are set annually.
Blockers and problems
Managers can use this time to ask their team members if they are experiencing any blockers, or have any problems / concerns either with work or in their personal lives that might be impacting their performance.
Of course it is up to the employee whether they answer this openly, and they may choose to downplay or hide any problems. Another way to spot issues is by training managers to pick up on signs that might indicate stress, disengagement or burnout. If your organisation has the resources, think about investing in some manager training for this.
By spotting issues early managers and HR can take steps to resolve issues, and by doing so set employees back on track to great performance, as well as reducing sick days taken for stress and resignations.
This can be both within their role and personal development for their career, managers should regularly talk to their team members about their ambitions, and look at how these could be achieved.
Without these conversations high potential staff could get overlooked and their skills could go unused. If an employee doesn’t feel they have a future at an organisation, they may begin to look elsewhere for an organisation who will appreciate them more.
From these discussions personal development goals can be set. This could be to collaborate with another team, shadow an employee in the role they are interested in pursuing, enrolling on a course to grow their skill set etc. Where possible organisations should try to enable internal or external training for employees- remember they are an investment, and upskilling existing staff is often much more cost efficient than hiring someone new to fill a role.
Find out more
If you’d like some more information about implementing a continuous performance management solution in your organisation, book a demo with us today, and start saying yes to engaged and happy employees.