Today we are going to talk about performance management. This is a critical part of a leader’s role. While we need to address performance issues promptly, the overriding goal should be getting people back on track, not managing them out.
Sure, we can’t afford to carry passengers. But the cost of a “hiring and firing” mentality is huge. Did you know that industry experts say that the cost of hiring and training employees to a very good level is about twice their annual salary? This is significantly more if we are talking about people in management roles. If you have leaders reporting to you, watch their turnover rates closely and put development plans in place to address any issues.
A leader needs to have a helicopter view of what is happening in the business, but also needs to keep a finger on the detail. It is an art form in itself to be close enough to have a deep understanding of your team and the issues they face on a daily basis without micromanaging.
If you have all the other steps in place, personal development plans for all staff, reward and recognition systems and an innovative culture, your team will respect your authenticity and realize that your observation is not micromanaging or checking up on them.
Daily: Walk around and observe on-the-job interaction, and make an analysis of what you see. Remember the One Minute Manager and “catch someone doing something right and tell him or her about it.” Drill down on daily numbers to ensure that you understand any deviations or do exploratory work to find out reasons. A leader needs to keep his or her finger on the pulse daily.
Weekly: Analyze weekly performance in team meetings, drilling down to ensure you obtain the factual evidence of exactly where everyone is according to plan. The leader who is directly managing salespeople will check the pipeline to ensure that each segment is meeting benchmarks. It will become clear which area you need to work on with the salesperson who is not achieving expectations.
- Formal one-on-ones that cover:
- Performance against KPI’s (key performance indicators)
- Customer call-back feedback
- Joint fieldwork summary
- Assessment of improvement in the attribute/skill worked on that month
- Selection of attribute/skill to work together on next month
- Upcoming personal events in their life
- What can I do to assist you?
- Action plans to address continued achievement of KPI’s or to address any areas of concern
Quarterly: Accountability workshop where performance against plan is closely scrutinized and specific actions put in place to correct any deficiencies or to reverse trends. At this workshop each leader should give a detailed overview of team members and team results against the plan to date. Also discuss developmental plans with a summary of the lift in ratings of the attributes/skills across the team.
The following model will enable you to analyze performance concerns and put you in a position to address them. Utilize this model when there is a performance deviation to determine if it is skill-based or attitude-based. If it is skill-based, provide upskilling through training, or if attitude based get to the core issue and remove obstacles or provide an attitude tune-up.
Addressing Performance Deviation
When the deviation is considered substantial enough to take action, follow these steps to address it:
Clearly Identify the Deviation
Write out the specific detail of the problem before talking with the employee. Describe clearly to yourself why the behavior is a concern so you can clearly articulate to the employee why this matter needs attention.
Acting promptly is a necessity, but do not take the employee by surprise or interrupt in the middle of a task. Set a time that is convenient.
Remain calm and tell the employee the cause of your concern and the reason why it needs to be addressed.
Have the employee come up with solutions that will solve the concern. Ensure that these steps will achieve the desired result. If the employee’s suggestions are not suitable, you should modify or propose a solution. The employee must accept responsibility to fix the concern.
- Reiterate the problem
- Ensure the solution is understood
- Set out intentions clearly with proposed actions from the employee and you
- Put it in writing
- Both sign as a commitment
Follow up with the employee as per action plan meeting at least weekly encouraging him or her if he or she is on plan.
For employees who seem to be having a problem with skills, the next tool to use after the performance deviation model is the pipeline analysis. A leader who is managing employees who have a multistage process for completing their work, such as salespeople, should analyze the entire sales process to determine where the person’s skills are leading to underperformance. For instance, if a salesperson isn’t closing enough sales, is the problem in the initial contact, obtaining appointments, at the appointment, in the follow-up, or in the closing technique? By looking at how many people the salesperson is contacting, how many potential clients are open to follow-up, and how many sales are being closed after follow-up, a manager will understand better what specific skills are lacking. By conducting this type of analysis, it will be clearly evident which area you need to focus on in the employee’s plan for improvement.
Pipeline management will highlight if the issue is a lack of opportunities (marketing, networking, or obtaining referrals) telephone skills in obtaining the interview, the interview, customer service skills in obtaining the customer’s agreement, or follow-up skills to complete the business.
Your turn…What do you do to keep on track when assessing performance? Would love to hear your ideas.
Ken Wright +61 414 157657