Core Components of a Successful Performance Management Process

Performance management process

Effective performance management is the key to understanding and growing the talent present within the organization. It is the process by which employees know where they stand regarding their performance and workplace behaviors. According to Gallup, 71% of employees who believe their boss can identify their abilities are more engaged and enthusiastic at work. Though catered to each organization, the performance management process is part of the strategic business strategy.  Those organizations that successfully implement a performance management process make their people/talent a competitive advantage.

What is the Performance Management Process?

The performance management process is a continuous cycle of feedback meetings focused on the employee’s performance, behaviors, and general work efforts. It is the strategy for actively investing in the retention and development of talent. The key word is ‘continuous’ – true performance management is ongoing.

Historically, performance management was equivalent to performance reviews. Feedback on employee performance was given once or twice a year in a formal setting with a format structured like a monologue. This antiquated view often led to low levels of employee engagement and no increase in performance. After years of seeing this approach yield minimal results, continuous performance management was more widely adopted, including regular employee performance check-ins, self-assessments in reviews, and 360-degree feedback.

The modern workplace relies on user-friendly technology for its performance management system process. Automated workflows and storing employee information in one single source of truth ensures greater efficiency and accountability.

The 4 Steps of the Performance Management Process

The performance management process should be unique to every organization’s needs and culture but the foundational principles remain the same. The following list details the importance of each step with examples of how to practically apply this process in day-to-day operations.

1. Plan

Effective performance management planning boils down to clear definitions and expectations. This is necessary for successful communication between managers and employees. Planning includes explicitly defining performance objectives, setting long-term goals together, and creating attainable pathways for career progression. 

  • Goals– Goals are broad, long-term accomplishments aligned with the organization’s mission and vision. Creating and setting goals with employee input encourages them to take greater ownership and shows that their contributions affect the greater mission. WorkDove’s Cascading Goals allow employees to visualize how their efforts impact their team and the organization at large. 
  • Objectives– Performance objectives are meaningful, measurable actions that are taken to help accomplish a broader goal. Whether tailored to individual employees or more general, it is crucial for objectives to have clear definitions. This clarity ensures that employees understand the benchmarks they are being evaluated against and the level of accountability they have. 
  • Individual Development Plans- It is critical for employees to ideate what their future holds. According to Zippia, 74% of workers say that a lack of employee development opportunities is preventing them from reaching their full potential. Creating thoughtful career development paths not only encourages employees to embrace coaching and development but also ensures the long-term success of the company. WorkDove’s IDP effectively identifies targeted development areas, measures success, and establishes clear action items for employees to progress in their careers. A valuable tip to keep in mind is to offer diverse career paths that don’t solely lead to people management, allowing employees to explore different avenues for growth and fulfillment.

2. Monitor

Regularly evaluating performance management indicators enables managers to provide more effective coaching to employees and allows HR to have a real-time understanding of the company’s performance. By conducting consistent check-ups and check-ins, organizations ensure that feedback loops are continuously happening and that employees are receiving the necessary development and support they deserve to thrive.

  • Check-Ins– Frequent and ongoing check-in conversations give employees a voice in the performance management process. Employees can share any challenges that they face or accomplishments, while managers can give guidance and coaching on performance as necessary. The WorkDove Check-In solution includes goal progress updates, a section for action items, and an employee sentiment tracker. The employee pulse records and tracks trends in employee sentiment to recognize turnover risk and increase retention. 
  • Surveys– Monitoring should not only be limited to performance. High-performing organizations are intentional about monitoring employee satisfaction and engagement. Utilizing well-crafted surveys and assessing overall workplace satisfaction keeps HR leaders informed as to what changes should be made. The WorkDove system offers a customizable employee survey tool, as well as a Workplace Satisfaction report that threads the needle between satisfaction levels and performance evaluation.

3. Review

High-performing organizations understand that performance reviews alone are not sufficient to gauge the effectiveness of the performance management process. However, they do recognize the value of performance reviews as a valuable data point. When continuous performance management is implemented, performance reviews become a formal and well-documented extension of ongoing conversations that take place within the organization. 

  • Performance Reviews- Impactful reviews should include an employee self-assessment, manager feedback, and incorporate additional forms of feedback, such as 360-degree reviews and peer recognition. Employee-focused review conversations will account for roughly 20% of the discussion with the remaining 80% of the time looking ahead toward the future. WorkDove’s Performance Review software places employees on a Performance-Values Matrix that evaluates performance objectives and core values/workplace behaviors as separate but equal entities. 
  • 360-Degree Feedback– Incorporating feedback from peers, leaders, and external stakeholders into the review process adds a comprehensive element to evaluating employee performance. By including 360-degree reviews in the performance management process, organizations can minimize potential bias by gathering multiple perspectives. The 360-feedback tool offered by WorkDove enables respondents to rate employees based on their performance objectives and behaviors using a star rating system. 

Screenshot of performance review

  • Leadership Succession Planning– Reviewing past performance paves the way to the future. The performance review, along with other variables, should be analyzed to identify the organization’s next generation of leadership. WorkDove’s 9-box leadership succession planning tool encourages real-time conversations amongst leaders to determine team members with high performance and potential. Evaluators can then place potential leaders into the 9-box grid for further development.

4. Reward

Acknowledging and rewarding positive behaviors and exceptional performance plays a crucial role in boosting employee engagement. A well-designed performance management process should include a platform that allows employees to both give and receive public and private recognition for their hard work and contributions. 

  • Recognition– WorkDove’s Recognition tool is built upon the foundation of core values, creating a universal language of appreciation and a benchmark for measuring recognition. Recognition programs like this fortify company culture organically. 

Screenshot of Recognition

What Are the Key Components of Successful Performance Management?

The following acronym details the c.o.r.e. components to building a healthy, impactful performance management process.

C- Clearly defined

As mentioned above, clear definitions are the difference between measuring and understanding workplace performance. If any pieces of the performance management process are not descriptive, it leaves room for misaligned expectations and inaccurate data.

O- Organizationally aligned 

All performance management efforts should ultimately align with the organization’s greater mission and vision. Without the mission/vision as the anchor point, performance efforts will head in different directions and will make the mobilization of team members that much more difficult. 

R- Reward good behaviors 

Effectively assessing performance means measuring what matters and holding people accountable. Practically, it looks like evaluating both performance and core value displays of behavior so the right actions get rewarded and the wrong ones do not fall through the cracks.  This component further validates the need for clear definitions. 

E- Employee-focused 

If performance is measured without the employee’s voice involved, retention will likely be too high to focus on important performance management practices. While leaders set the tone for company culture, employees need to know that their voice is valued and that their growth and development is a top priority.

Streamline Performance Management with WorkDove

Streamlined performance management system processes live within efficient software. For hybrid and remote employees to be evaluated fairly, it is imperative that they and their managers have access to the tools and resources they need. 

WorkDove performance management software allows you to start with the right performance management framework, and then build and customize your experience to fit your organizational needs. Get started with an intuitive performance management system process today!