Businesses hoping to improve the performance of their people could be barking up the wrong tree if they focus solely on tightening up their management systems.
Instead, they should interrogate the wider corporate eco-system to ensure that the way people are encouraged to interact on a daily basis is conducive to sustained excellence.
Most companies now have structures in place to monitor the performance and chart the development of their employees. Typically, the process will involve on-going coaching, and year-end appraisals (see model, below).
Despite the rigorous application of such systems, the boardroom refrain of ‘how do we get more out of our people?’ remains all too common.
Assuming that the chosen performance management approach is running smoothly, the answer could well lie in understanding the dynamics of how people work together within the business.
Seven key questions for senior management to ask both of themselves and about the business are:
1. Do our people receive frequent and effective recognition?
2. Are senior leaders genuinely and visibly enthusiastic about the fundamental work of the enterprise?
3. Are we managing people too closely and stifling empowerment?
4. Are we encouraging grown-up relationships, or does parent-child prevail?
5. Are our managers trained to listen?
6. Does each and everyone of our people know what they we are trying to achieve as a business? Indeed, do we as senior leaders know the answer to that question?
7. In the age of 24/7 connectivity, are we setting clear expectations about work-life balance?
The ‘right’ answer to these questions will depend on what your business is trying to achieve – but asking them in the first place will give your performance management system a head start in improving the work of the organisation, the moral of its people and achieving the goals of its stakeholders.