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Performance Management: Turn your employees into superheroes.

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It may not seem like it all of the time, but your employees are one of your most valuable assets. Considering that payroll is also one of your highest running costs, performance management must be approached as a crucial strategic factor for any organisation. Much more than just business jargon, performance management is a vital part of keeping your workforce productive, motivated and happy. Here are some tips on how you can unleash the inner superhero in your colleagues.

Keeping money separate from encouragement will reap real rewards for performance management.

Think about all your favourite superheroes – Batman, Wolverine, Spiderman and Wonder Woman. How many of them were paid to be superheroes? None of them. They are superheroes because they want to make things better. Motivating people to become more productive with money doesn’t work. According to the Harvard Business School, Hewlett-Packard enforced a “pay-per-performance” initiative back in the 1990s. At first it worked, but after three years it was scrapped. Employees were becoming too competitive which lead to a breakdown in teamwork as salaries can be a bone of contention in the business place. Compare this to biopharmaceutical company Quintiles, who implemented a different approach, HR America reported. They budgeted $100 per employee per year towards recognising staff with virtual high-fives, mentions in newsletters and “shout outs”. The result was a 50% decrease in staff turnover saving millions of dollars in re-hiring and training costs. By all means reward your employee of the month with something material, but offer a more personalised gift – book vouchers for the book worm or concert tickets for the office rockstar – rather than a cash bonus.  

Feedback and recognition are important aspects of performance management that need to be used.

Recognition is a must if you’re to turn your staff from everyday civilians into superheroes. But how you go about giving feedback is important if you want lasting improvements. Instead of complimenting skill, acknowledge effort. An employee who is told “you have a natural gift for numbers” may start to slack off, thinking their natural gift will carry them through.   Laxity is to the office superhero what kryptonite is to Clark Kent, so be sure that motivation comes from the right place. If you tell them “the effort you put into that last report really shone through”, they will associate the good work with effort and continue trying to improve. Keep praise public and constructive criticism private. The criticism should also be linked to a game plan to improve their weak points. Also don’t criticise for the sake of it: criticism should be used to motivate, not demoralise.  

Make performance management easy by giving your staff the right goals, training and tools.

Motivate employees by setting personal goals to help them grow within and beyond their job description. Not only will this reinforce the idea that they are valued, it will help them feel more connected to your organisation. If your workforce knows there is room for growth and progression within your company, it will drive them much more than if they think they’ve reached the ceiling in their careers at your organisation. Providing your workforce with adequate training and tools will give them the confidence that they know exactly what they are doing and have everything they need to do it. How do you think Batman would feel without his bat mobile, cool weapons and gizmos? Not too superhero-like, surely. It is also important to monitor your employee’s progress by setting Key Performance Indicators (KPI) and reviewing these regularly to make measureable improvements are taking place.   

Creating a strong company culture that your staff can relate to will make them feel part of a team and more inclined to take part in it.

If your colleagues bond and your company’s culture is conducive to bringing people together, you will have a more productive and committed workforce. Just think about how many times The Avengers saved the planet’s bacon when the members decide to put their bickering over who has the coolest superpowers aside. Organise monthly or bi-monthly activities outside the workplace. The term “team bonding” might make you groan, but it will bring real benefits and you might even enjoy yourself. Allowing your superheroes-in-the-making to provide input in what you organise will reinforce team spirit. You can also run workshops during work hours to help your staff better understand your brand. Other small touches like branded stationery can help reinforce the brand message and their appreciation of it.   A work environment that is pleasant and conducive to working smart and well-stocked with everything it needs to get the job done, is one that will excel and make performance management a source of pride for any department manager. OfficeBox can guarantee the best prices on stationery and much more. Click here to find out more.

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David Adams
21 July 2015
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