For as long as I can remember, the topic of employee performance in the workplace has fascinated me. As I look back over my experience in business, I realize that all of the jobs I have held in the past and the work I continue to do now have all been focused on improving employee performance in the workplace.
I’m intrigued now more than ever about employee performance as businesses grapple with the struggles and challenges they face as they learn what business is going to be like in the new normal. So what does it take for a business to continue to improve employee performance and growth in the new normal work place today and maintain that elusive and important competitive advantage?
The first step in discovering the answer to this question begins with examining how employee performance improvement is viewed within the organization. Specifically, is employee performance improvement viewed as an integral, ongoing, way of operating that is part of the life of the organization, or not?
For too many years in too many organizations, the focus of employee performance has been directed toward the ominous and dreaded employee performance review. This has had the effect of relegating employee performance to an event. That isn’t to say that measuring and monitoring performance aren’t important for improvement, because they certainly are essential. What’s needed here is a different perspective for looking at employee performance that is much more beneficial.
In the new business normal, performance and contribution must be viewed as being more fluid than static. Emphasis needs to be placed more on continual improvement and progress instead of focusing solely on snapshot events, such as the annual performance review, to assess and measure the effectiveness of employee contribution to the organization.
So, what does that look like in the everyday workplace? Well, imagine a workplace where employees have multiple opportunities to interact with others and engage in meaningful dialogue about performance that provides them with useable information they can act on and see progress on a daily basis? Notice the words that are underlined…meaningful dialogue. This is an area of HUGE opportunity for businesses to perk up about and take action now to increase the effectiveness of their organizations in this area.
One way to assess the “health” of an organization is to examine how people interact with one another, specifically as it relates to performance, and especially in the way employees and their managers interact. Do the interactions cultivate trust? Are they open and two-way? Do they inspire and require action? Do they result in progress? These are just a few questions that get at the nature of healthy organizational interactions.
Enhancing the quality and frequency of those interactions about performance are key ways for any organization to become more effective at making employee performance improvement “business as usual” in the new business normal and viewed through a new lens.