5 Must-Haves in a High-Performance Management System

A manager meets with an employee for a performance management check in

According to a Gallop Workplace survey, only 2 in 10 employees say their performance is managed in a way that motivates them to do outstanding work. Their response is driven, in large part, because traditional performance management systems used to capture and measure goals data is often tedious to use and resulting performance discussions typically occur only once or twice a year. 

So why do companies continue to use outdated processes and systems to manage one of their most valuable assets—their employees? 

The answer is they don’t have to. Performance management should be data driven with frequent two-way conversations, not clunky administrative work that takes hours to complete. It should also be a way for managers to see how well teams and individuals are doing their jobs and give business leaders insight for improving operations and outcomes. 

We know there’s a better way. Here, I’ll discuss why performance management systems are beneficial in today’s workplace and share five must-have characteristics of a high-performance management system.

Why use a performance management system?

Did you know that you can have a performance management system that isn’t high performing? Seems like most businesses take an approach to performance management that falls into this category.

high-performance management approach motivates, measures, and develops the performance of a team and/or individuals. It incorporates employee strengths and skills into a focused strategy. The system relies on shared goals, transparent communication, and the involvement of all team members.

This system assists in planning and developing a successful workforce and keeps employees engaged as active participants in the organization’s growth. Businesses and organizations of all sizes, in all industries, are embracing a data-driven leadership and performance management strategy that can yield positive benefits for your workforce and your bottom line. The benefits include: 

  • Creating a culture of feedback: Employees feel motivated to reach their goals when they expect to receive constructive feedback and know that constructive criticism isn’t something to be feared. Giving your employees the quality feedback they crave can help reduce turnover and help you build a team-oriented culture.
  • Identifying high-and-low performers: A recent Zippia Career Expert report about recognition says that a whopping 92 percent of employees are likely to repeat a specific action if they receive recognition for it. Leading with data like that collected through performance management systems help your managers and employees focus on the right tasks to make a difference. It monitors performance in a way that is consistent and measurable

The report goes on to say that employees who think they’ll be recognized are 2.7 times more likely to be highly engaged at work and have a higher opinion of senior leaders because they believe their opinions actually count with the C-suite.

5 Characteristics of High-Performance Management Systems

PerformYard, a UKG partner, has identified five attributes of high-performance management systems and why your next system should have them.  

  1. Frequent touchpoints

The annual review is dead. One reason is that it can’t account for changing goals. High-performing individuals and teams have goals, and they reach those goals. When that happens, they need new goals. And sometimes existing goals aren’t quite hitting the mark and need to be scrapped and replaced.

A good goal-setting strategy sees goals aligned all the time—not once a year when annual reviews roll around.

That means managers and HR are very involved with high-performing teams, reviewing, tweaking, and working with individuals, management, and departments to celebrate achieving goals and making new ones on an as-needed basis. Frequent touchpoints and goal check-ins are baked into the process to ensure everyone is on the right track.

  1. Processes that measure high-performing individuals and teams

Individual performance impacts the team’s performance, but teams also have roles in getting work and projects done. High-performance management systems should measure team processes, practices, and collaboration, which are difficult to assess in individual reviews.

With team-based reviews, you can measure the whole team, providing support wherever it’s needed. And, as the head of the team, managers are also included in this process, thus creating a 360-degree view.

  1. Goal tracking as part of the review cycle

High-performance management is all about getting individuals and teams to hit ambitious goals. But how clear are those goals? How will you know when they have been achieved?

A strong goal-setting and tracking system is required to successfully integrate goals into the review cycle. This means creating goal-setting criteria that will help management, teams, and individuals set specific, clear, focused goals that can easily be measured and tracked.

  1. A data-based approach to performance reviews

High-performance management systems must take a data-based approach to performance reviews. Without a data-driven approach, teams and individuals are more likely to create shallow goals that are impossible to measure.

When creating or reviewing goals set by teams and individuals, ask yourself, “How will I know when a goal has been achieved?” By asking this question and keeping numbers in mind, you’ll naturally start adjusting goals so that they can be tracked and measured.

  1. Software that runs an integrated performance management system

It takes a lot of time to set up performance management systems “by hand” using Excel, Google Sheets, or Google Surveys. You need specialized knowledge to manipulate these programs to meet your needs, and a lot of time for routine tasks, which a dedicated performance management systems can easily automate.

The right data at the right time leads to better decisions

Leading with data is critical when it comes to building a culture of trust and transparency with your people, justifying decisions, making proactive changes and anticipating trends, and helping your managers and employees focus on the right tasks to make a difference. 

That’s why PerformYard and UKG have partnered to provide an integrated solution for performance management. Visit the PerformYard page in the UKG Marketplace to learn more. 

To discover how giving the right people the right information at the right time can improve your organization’s culture and inspire effective decision making at every level, check out The UKG Data Playbook.