Performance management is often looked upon by business leaders as time-consuming and difficult. This is mainly because they really don’t understand why they should be performance managing team members, so don’t see the exceptional return that performance management offers.
Performance management is not a ‘rude’ word. It's not a strategy to exit team members from the business. It's a framework designed to leverage the best from your team to do their job to the best of their ability. In my experience, solid performance management practices have provided ‘adequate’ team members with the support and training to become ‘high performing’ team members, actively contributing to the success of the business. This plays a crucial role in both team and customer retention.
Performance management is the process of providing feedback and accountability to team members to ensure they achieve their goals and the business goals. To do this you only need two tools. A position description (PD)and supporting key performance indicators (KPI’s). If you have neither, it takes less than an hour to pull them together.
The PD details each task a team member is required to perform in order to fulfil their role. This is essential to every team member within the business. After all, why would you employ someone to do a role, and not tell them what they should be doing? Seems obvious, yes? KPI’s are metrics that define how each task should be done. For example, the PD may include renewal of leases for tenants. The supporting KPI may be to have 95% of leases on fixed term agreements.
To conduct a performance management interview with your team member, rank their ability of each task in the PD out of 5. 1 is not competent in the task and 5 is competent in the task. Do this with the team member. You'll have a list of tasks the team member is doing well and a list of tasks that need further training. Your job, as a leader, is not finished here. Your job is to provide the support and resources for this team member to learn and upskill these tasks to become competent. This is usually in the form of product or skill training through the use of other team members or even yourself.
This process could take several months to complete as you may only train them in a couple of different areas each month. It's important both you and the team member remain accountable to this program going forward. To do this, meet monthly to review what training was completed the previous month and set new training in the coming month. Continue doing this until your team member is completely competent in all tasks in their role.
Performance management is the key to ensuring your team have the tools and support to do their job well. I've been using this simple framework for many years now and have seen team members, who I thought were underperformers, move on to become senior contributors to the business. In the past, these may have been team members I had exit from the business as underperformers. It is a simple, inexpensive tool with huge returns to the business.