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How to get better performance from your staff (without an appraisal)
What can you do with employees who are not performing, missing deadlines or missing targets?  
 
I’ve worked in, and work with, companies where the mantra is ‘Monitor / Manage / Dismiss’. But that is often counter-productive and generally undermines confidence and performance right across the business, not just amongst the targeted poor performers. 
 
Conventional wisdom has brought us up to assume that a manager's job is to manage performance - the closer, the better. That includes the annual appraisal, often seen as a demoralising, box-ticking exercise.
 
Is there is a different way? We’re working with a client who wants their employees to know that they are effective, without being told. They are putting feedback systems in place and they learn and work together. They adjust their processes and practices through continuous improvement and they talk about performance all the time.
 
These ‘performance discussions’ are welcomed as mutual conversations rather than top-down assessments. There are no appraisal forms, no bureaucracy. The only paperwork is a blank piece of paper that the employee (not the manager) uses to record the outcomes of the conversation. Managers ask one question - “What stops you from doing a great job?”
 
The focus is on creating the conditions for employees to grow and do what they do to best.  
 
The challenge is to get managers and employees to work together to encourage high performance and improve processes rather than waste time on building bureaucratic ways to nail down poor-performing employees.
 
For us. It’s about setting the context and the purpose. Why are we doing what we are doing? The best managers work out how to get great outcomes by setting the right context for their people rather than by trying to control them. A favourite quotation of mine:
 
‘If you want to build a ship, don't drum up people to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea” (Antoine de Saint-Exupery).
 
Wow! Focus on the context, not the task. Look at the whole, not the individual. Deming, the man behind Japanese post-war economic miracle, encouraged managers to focus on the organisation rather than the employee. His mantra was that “a bad system will defeat a good person every time”.
 
It goes against conventional management thinking but in a time when disruptive change continues to catch out the unprepared, the winners in the future will be the businesses that best help their employees to deliver a shared purpose.
 
The question is, where to start? For more information, you can talk to us on 07813-994556.
 
 

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thinking your way through HR