5 Steps to Effectively Managing Performance

Photograph of Jenefer Livings, Founder of Silk Helix Ltd
21 February 2023
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Do you manage a team but feel more like you’re nagging and being ignored? It’s a common cycle people managers and business owners find themselves in, asking people to do something, it doesn’t get done so they either do it themselves or it just doesn’t get done. It leaves you feeling frustrated and exhausted. It could be really holding your business back.

It is a cycle and your team won’t break it, you need to take the steps, make the changes and they will follow.

In this blog I’ve outlined my 5 top steps you need to take, if you want to go deeper and learn exactly how to do all of these things and more then our digital course Managing Employee Performance is for you.

1. Set Clear Expectations

It is impossible to judge or manage performance if you have not set clear expectations in the first place, and when you tell people what you expect they have a much better chance of achieving it.

Ideally you’ll have goals for the whole business that you’re linking these expectations to, this helps everyone to see how their role fits in the grander scheme. Expectations shouldn’t just list the tasks you want people to complete but also those “softer” parts of the role like communication and teamwork - this ensures that performance is defined by the expectations of your particular business, how I want my coffee served will be very different in the Ritz to McDonalds!

2. Provide Support

Ensure your team has the training, support and resources they need to achieve your goal. If you’re asking them to change the way they do something, look for practical ways you can help embed the new ideas. Let’s take a simple change of “introducing a clocking in system”, we don’t want people to forget, one thing we can do is to stick signs on the door as a reminder. It helps embed the new way of working and avoid problems. Whilst not every change will be that simple, anything we can do to help people achieve benefits them and the business.

3. Feedback

Feedback needs to be regular and directly relate to the expectations set. When the expectations are really clear and you know how you’re measuring the achievement then feedback should be reasonably easy. In fact, in many cases people will already know and be able to tell you how they are doing - when they’re able to identify areas for improvement and make suggestions on steps needed they are more likely to take ownership and take action.

4. Recognition

Research shows that recognition is crucial to motivating people and avoiding loss of productivity. It even reduces the risk of absence from stress or burnout.

Recognition is personal and people will have different views of what recognition looks like, therefore listening and understanding those in your team is crucial. At the very least you should be telling people they are appreciated, valued and making a contribution to the success of the organisation. Other forms of recognition could include; team shout outs, career development, pay increases and bonuses.

5. Hold People Accountable

There must be consequences to both good and poor performance. Good performance should be recognised and rewarded. Poor performance or refusal to follow instructions should also have a consequence, which could lead to dismissal. Without any consequence managers find themselves being ignored as their team carry on doing what they want rather than what the business needs.

Formal warnings and dismissal are subject to the requirements of the disciplinary procedure and therefore you should take advice before undertaking these processes. You can learn more about these processes and the tools available to you as a manager or business owner in our course Managing Employee Performance.

When the same performance issues are present for a number of people it would suggest there is a wider problem across the business that needs to be addressed before considering individual consequences.

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