Article: How to empower employees to take ownership of their own performance

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How to empower employees to take ownership of their own performance

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Discover some cogent hacks and best practices of creating a successful employee-owned performance management program that your organization can use and leverage to leap ahead in the performance game.
How to empower employees to take ownership of their own performance

‘Performance Management’

The word still worries most HR professionals and leaders. Possibilities are, you may face one of the following feedback from your employees when they hear the word, ‘performance management’:

  • The process creates anxiety and stress
  • The overall process of performance evaluation is draining and time-taking
  • It is  just a one-way communication
  • The performance reviews are, more often than not, inaccurate and filled with biases

In a workplace as dynamic and multigenerational as today, the right approach to performance has become enormously important in accelerating growth, boosting motivation and engagement and thereby, curbing attrition. In that regard, it is critical to shift performance ownership from management to employees for everyone to evolve and put more skin in the game. 

However, since most Gen X / Gen Y employees have been experiencing performance management in a very traditional even conventional kind of way, there are a few quandaries and questions that every organization and employee is bound to have: “What do I have to do to own my own performance?”, “How do I get more clarity if my performance is contributing to the larger growth of the org?”, “Are my organization’s goals syncing with the needs of the market?”, “What am I to expect when my organization says ‘own your performance’?”, “Can ALL employees own their performance?”, “What should the focus areas be?”, “Will a lot of guidance be required?”, “Will there be a great amount of effort going into change management?”, “Apart from the possible increase in financial performance, are there other avenues that will get affected through an employee-owned performance system?”,“Are my managers equipped to handle this change and  provide adequate support?” 

The need of the hour is for HR to offer strategies and uncover solutions that can enable organizations to effectively shift ownership of performance to their employees. 

This is how you can empower employees to take charge of their own performance:

Mentor them to craft their own goals: 

Identify your employees’ professional goals and help by offering them a framework to establish their short term and long term goals. Let them assess how these goals would benefit them as well as the organization. When employees align their goals with the company, it helps them see whether they fit into the organization or not. It also allows them to understand what they are expected to focus on , and how they will manage their performance to achieve those goals.Additionally, personal goals really need to be driven by the employee. Handing them a list of things that you want them to do will not inspire them or make them feel engaged in the process beyond a point. So, allow them to identify opportunities and goals which they themselves want to pursue and that which will help them grow.

Enable them to initiate performance conversations:

By default, most performance evaluations focus on correcting past mistakes, identifying skill gaps and calling out personal weaknesses. Often managers are biased toward recent events or continue to emphasize problems long after the fact. Hence, most of the time employees dread performance conversations. To really drive a successful performance programme, employees should receive meaningful feedback that is timely, actionable direction, and can play an instrumental role in shaping their performance. One of the ways of achieving this  is by empowering employees to initiate and drive their performance conversations with their managers and other stakeholders. 

Technologies today incorporate functionalities like monthly or quarterly check-in, continuous feedback, and 360° feedback which allows employees to collect feedback from multiple stakeholders within and even outside the organization, to enable a holistic, unbiased and balanced evaluation their performance.

Have them conduct periodic self-reviews: 

Employees should be asked to conduct a self-review on how they think they are living out the company values before managers and employees sit for official end-of-year review. It gives them a chance to reflect on their own personal development and gives managers a chance to assess the employees’ self-awareness of their worth and buy-in to company culture, which always has a direct correlation to metric-driven performance.

Empower them to craft their learning journey:

By taking charge of their performance management, employees are able to visualize their learning path and, within that road map, adjust their course to address their specific weaknesses, strengths, and learning goals. 

Encourage employees to have a separate conversation with their managers on their individual development goals. Those conversations  should enable them to have open conversations about what skills they want to acquire, which course they want to do and how managers can support them in pursuing the learning goals. 

Making the performance management system owned by employee may seem like a challenging task at first. However, with an arsenal of technologies available, the process can be made impactful with  features like Continuous Feedback, Competency Mapping and Individual Development Plans  for both managers and employees. Besides these, there are also other comprehensive features, such as Goal Cascading, Succession Planning, Multi-stakeholder Feedback. That not only enables better alignment of the employee’s goals with those of the   organization and leadership, but also enables employees to drive their performance conversation and assessment. 

To know more about creating a new-age employee-led performance management programme, attend the webinar on How to slingshot growth by making employee the owner of Performance Management? Register yourself here for the webinar.

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Topics: Performance Management, #Smarter Work Life

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