By Trevor Benitone, Vice President of Business Development at Adams Keegan
Business executives, HR professionals and organizational leaders constantly seek the best ways to retain employees. That’s because it is increasingly more important to maintain established, productive and cost-efficient teams in a business climate with premium costs for good talent.
What HR and management professionals are learning is that continually evolving and rethinking strategies are key to setting their teams up for success and maximizing employee retention. Traditionally, employers have focused on evaluating an employee’s past performance without addressing their future. But today, companies with longer employee tenure know they need to ensure that team members are balanced in their current work, their benefits and their long-term prospects within the organization.
If you want to slow the rapid turnover of employees, you should actively move away from a culture of performance management, where you are looking backward instead of forward and managing employees through the traditional status quo. Instead, consider investing in a culture of performance development – managing for the company you want to become and grooming employees adequately to create that company.
Companies have traditionally structured employee evaluations in a performance management style. Many habitually evaluate employees on an annual basis, but do so in away that only sheds light on an employee’s current role, not about their future within the organization. As this process stands, it is not effective for the new economy. The company wastes money, managers and employees lose valuable time, and the process simply doesn’t yield worthwhile results.
Performance development, on the other hand, takes a more holistic view at an employees’ trajectory at the company. As a company’s structure evolves, new opportunities arise for management teams and employees. Managers in a performance development culture know to keep these opportunities in mind when evaluating employees. This allows them to examine employees’ work with an eye toward the future; and with a shared, invested view of their future. With this focus, managers can effectively focus on where team members are succeeding and how they will fit into tomorrow’s organization.
Performance development strategies also open the door to refocused peer evaluations. The primary beneficiaries to these evaluations are the employee for whom the feedback is being solicited and the employee’s manager. The manager benefits because they can then learn about how others really feel about their employee, not just in the moment but also in the confidence they have in future results.
We all want to feel challenged and encouraged at work. If an employee doesn’t feel this way, they are likely to be disengaged from both their work and the company. Embracing a culture of performance development allows workers the opportunity have a better understanding of where they fit within the company going forward, for better or worse. This can help employees feel more fulfilled, leading to higher productivity, and it can help your company more easily identify talented individuals who can further the organization as a whole.
Imagine trying to navigate a foreign city without a map. It’s possible, but extremely inefficient. And if you don’t give your employees the proper guideposts for success, you’re essentially asking them to do that with their careers – wasting valuable time and resources for the worker and the company.
That’s why it’s so important to ask and understand what your employees’ personal goals are and create an action plan to help them achieve these goals. Collaborate to visualize what success looks like in their position. Tell them where that success can take them – higher pay, promotions or recognition, for example. Then institute a regular time to evaluate their progress toward those goals.
Establishing guideposts for success is a fundamental yet powerful concept that will make a lasting impression in the minds of your employees.
Companies that place value on performance development are likely to save themselves the headache of experiencing high turnover by investing in employees at all stages of their careers. Developing and executing a solid plan will be valuable for management,employees and the overall health of your company.