The Anatomy of great Employee Performance Management

Having your heart in the right place without having your hands tied: Discover the anatomy of great Employee Performance Management in this blog!

People Strategy
Human capital

Leen Sawalha

VP Product & Growth

Thursday, December 11, 2014


I’m sure you’ve never really thought of employee performance management as being anatomical. After all, it’s just evaluating an employee’s performance based on their numbers, right?

Employee performance management, if done properly, is so much more than a numerical value. It’s an employee’s performance based on their capabilities, motivation, capitalization of their strengths, and recognition and development of their weaknesses. And if you want to be able to evaluate all of this, you are going to need more than some quantitative data.

Let’s take a closer look at what the anatomy of great employee performance management entails.

#1 – You need Eyes for employee performance management

This first part is pretty straight forward; great employee performance management requires you to observe the employee’s work and behavior. Are they completing their assigned tasks? Do they appear motivated? Do they have everything they need to perform their duties? Are they the source of conflict around the workplace?

But in addition to observing their work and behavior, you should observe their work environment as well. Is the workplace safe? Are other team members hostile towards the employee? Is he/she comfortable using the necessary equipment?

You need to remain aware and vigilant of the employee’s surrounding because there is a very good chance it’s what’s causing poor performance. It might also be a strong factor for great performance, and you should be trying to figure out how to offer this environment to other workers, too!

#2 – Your Ears are mandatory

You need to have a good capacity to listen to the employees you’re evaluating. After all, employee performance management is not just about evaluating performance, it’s about managing those employees so they reach their full potential.

Listen to their wants and needs, and really understand what they’re all about. Whether you like to admit it or not, you don’t know everything (and I don’t either!); your employees know themselves better than you do. They might already know what they need to reach their maximum potential, you just need to be willing to listen to them.

#3 – A Mouth is essential for employee performance management

I’m pretty sure this is common knowledge to everyone, but great employee performance management requires you to provide your employees with constant feedback. What’s surprising, however, is how many people still do not make the effort to really provide their employees with good, effective, and constructive feedback.

Of course, people are all different; some require more encouragement than others, while some thrive on recognition of their work. Some are very sensitive, while others appreciate constructive criticism. There is no “one size fits all” here – yes, you need to provide feedback, but you also have to know which method is most appropriate for every employee.

Get to know your employees, understand how they are naturally built, and provide them with the feedback they need in order to excel.

#4 – Your Foot? Yes, your foot!

Employee performance management requires you to do what you have to do in order to improve the performance of your team. Whether it be motivating your employees, empowering them, developing their abilities, or sometimes, putting your foot down.

Let’s take a step back for a minute and take the focus off the employees. Do you, as the manager, have what it takes to put your foot down? I’m sure you do, but are you naturally built for that? Does being firm and assertive come naturally to you, or does it require a little effort? If it is natural, are you too harsh? And if it isn’t, do you know how to recover your energy after such an episode?

Sure, you need to put your foot down in certain situations, but that doesn’t mean you should be stomping around all the time. If you want to be great at employee performance management, you need to have a good understanding of not just your team, but of yourself, too.

#5 – Employee performance management requires a lot of Heart

Employee performance management is not easy; it’s a complicated process that is influenced by many factors. But the greatest downfall of performance management is that it is performed by people.

You might not think this is a big deal; who else is going to manage performance, anyway? But unlike computers, humans are very susceptible to errors, both intentional and unintentional. Allow me to elaborate.

Did you know that human beings are naturally built to like people who are similar to them? It is easy to understand that people are biased towards themselves, but when they naturally like those who are similar to them, then there’s going to be bias there, too.

Have you ever met someone who you just did not like, but you didn’t know why? It’s just something about them, isn’t it? You might not mean to, but you might be biased against those people.

You need to have the heart to be fair, ethical, and unbiased in order to achieve great employee performance management.

To be done effectively, performance management can’t just rely on numbers and figures. It involves so many parts, where some of them might come naturally to you, while others might require a little more effort. Get to know yourself and your team, and remember that the whole anatomy of great employee management is greater than the sum of its parts!

Do you think there are other “anatomical parts” to great employee performance management? Share your thoughts with me in the comments section!

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