Performance management principles: creating and facilitating opportunities
When it comes to pushing and developing performance in the workplace, few things are more important than opportunities. Like most of the principles we’re covering in this series, opportunities need to come from HR professionals, line managers, and the employees themselves. Only when all three marry up can performance management really excel in the workplace.
There are a number of different opportunities that can be presented at work, mostly looking at the possibility of growth. Maintaining a growth mindset is one thing, but it’s only a small piece of the puzzle. To go beyond just the way employees think and move it into action, we need to delve deeper into the types of opportunities available and how they come about.
Let’s start at the beginning with this idea of the growth mindset. It may sound like another corporate buzzword (and perhaps it is) but the message behind it is incredibly important. Having a growth mindset is understanding that neither mistakes or failure are the end. It all comes down to the classic “if at first you don’t succeed…”.
A growth mindset is essentially a focus on wanting to grow and develop, and actively seeking opportunities to do that. In this sense, it also ties in to being proactive. When it comes to professional, career, and personal development, huge numbers of the modern workforce are taking to YouTube and Google to teach themselves more about their interests and upskill in other areas.
Employees with a growth mindset will often demonstrate the most potential. These are people who are willing to learn, able to adapt, and eager to understand the bigger picture. They don’t believe in falling at the first hurdle, and if they do, they simply pick themselves back up. These employees will proactively look for new projects to head up, responsibilities to take on, and may find other areas of your organisation they would like to move into.
This takes us nicely onto how to effectively manage someone with this level of potential. These are often people who will get bored or fed up without the chance for progression. Performance management can be a key tool for employee engagement if you use it a development opportunity and listen to what your employees really want.
A job for life is a thing of the past. With decreasing company loyalty and an increasing need to move up the career ladder for the sake of personal satisfaction, a polished CV, and increasing pressures for career progression, stifling talent is a sure-fire way to lose your best people. So, use your performance management processes to identify opportunities for your employees to grow and be understanding that what they want may not fit with your vision for your team.
This is where performance reviews come in to play. As we move away from annual appraisals and shifts towards a culture of continuous development, it is important to keep having employee-directed conversations about career direction and professional development.
Having these 1:1s or regular performance catch ups will give you the chance, as a manager, to provide opportunities for employees to practice and develop their skills. This can include a wide range of things from encouraging attendance of conferences and training days through to practising their public speaking skills at the next company meeting.
HR is known as the people profession, so as much as your organisation allows, it’s vital to put your people first. When it comes to creating opportunities for your workforce, the ability to be flexible can open doors for a lot of people. Flexible working is becoming an increasing need for modern employees, and can provide you the opportunity to hire some exceptional people who could otherwise be out of your reach.
Allowing for flexible and remote working also creates better opportunities for your high-potential employees to progress within your organisation. This can also encourage retention of your best employees and reduce the chances of them looking for more flexible opportunities elsewhere.
We touched on this a little earlier, but when it comes to creating opportunities, it often starts with HR. Implementing a meaningful performance management process can do huge things for motivation, performance, and creating opportunities for employees at all levels of your organisation. It’s up to you whether you are in the right place to implement a performance management system, but creating a culture of continuous development is vital for creating opportunities for your people.
Whether you’re looking to move away from the once a year annual review or need to implement any sort of process at all, it’s worth starting with the basics: what kind of culture do you want to create? Continuous development allows your people to thrive, creates opportunities, and creates higher levels of employee motivation and loyalty.