What is Performance Enablement? Plus, How It Promotes Internal Mobility

A group of employees recognizing strong performance

The competition for talent is fierce, and if you want to retain top employees, it’s time to shift to a performance management model that acknowledges and rewards employee growth.

Performance enablement offers an alternative to traditional performance management, which focuses on the past. Performance enablement is the next generation of performance management: It focuses on the future and promotes internal mobility to give your employees the recognition and opportunities they deserve.

According to Betterworks’s 2022 State of Performance Enablement research report, one out of every 10 employees rarely or never receives feedback from their direct manager, which can stunt employee growth. Only two out of every 10 employees feel that they are always tasked to work on the right things.

When you implement continuous performance enablement, employees are much more likely to find where they belong in your company. Here’s how shifting from traditional performance management to a performance enablement model supports your company’s internal mobility strategy.

Support a culture of mobility

Performance enablement conversations between employees and managers focus on growth and potential. When those conversations happen frequently, it becomes second nature for both parties to look for opportunities to learn and grow — whether within their current role or by experimenting with new ones.

Because performance enablement targets potential, it can create a culture where managers are invested in helping employees find where they belong. Traditionally, managers have hoarded high-potential employees. A culture of enablement, by contrast, helps managers see that an employee’s greatest potential can’t always be found in the department they started in.

A culture of enablement, by contrast, helps managers see that an employee’s greatest potential can’t always be found in the department they started in.

A culture of performance enablement drives home the idea of talent as a shared resource. It helps managers prioritize optimal placement over a personal desire to hoard high-potential talent. Reward managers for helping their team members find the right place within the organization — even if it’s not in their department.

To facilitate internal mobility even further, give employees opportunities to pick up “gigs” within the business to expand their skills and learn about other roles. Performance enablement helps normalize employees taking opportunities in other parts of the business to discover their interests and strengths.

Empower purpose and growth

Performance enablement is most successful in driving mobility when each employee’s goals are attached to business priorities. When employees can see how their strengths provide value to the business, they’re more likely to engage in a search for their true potential and feel empowered to find new avenues for professional development.

With performance enablement, employees will better understand how they can grow to support the business, creating greater self-awareness of their potential.

Frequent feedback inspires employee growth

Regular conversations and frequent feedback from managers help employees discover their strengths and bring them to life. The more often managers have performance conversations with employees, the better managers will understand their team’s unique strengths and offer learning opportunities that help employees hone their strengths moving forward.

Setting expectations of daily interactions and frequent feedback shifts the employee mindset to focus on growth and development. These expectations can also help employees become better at their jobs and create opportunities for vertical mobility. When employees expect their managers to be “making the rounds,” they’re more likely to pay attention and intentionally engage with their daily tasks.

Coaching and collaboration drive career progress

When managers serve as collaborators enabling performance, one of their primary goals is to help employees discover the greatest contribution they can make to the business. Working together, managers and employees can explore career possibilities that match the employee’s strengths.

As coaches, managers help employees reach the career goals they previously helped them define. Learning opportunities are among the most important resources coaches can use to unlock employee potential, and can include learning on the job, picking up a gig in an adjacent role, or training sessions or learning modules in a learning management system.

One of the manager’s most important roles in a performance enablement model is providing accountability to employees. With their career goals defined and learning opportunities selected, it’s up to the employee to demonstrate initiative and participate. As mentors, managers can help provide accountability by asking employees about their goals in performance conversations and helping them set personal objectives to keep their learning on track.

Performance enablement elevates employees

Having options for mobility is important to the workforce. Employees need to see how they can progress within the company and their options for achieving their full potential. Performance enablement makes that happen by shifting the focus from transactional  – and often punitive – reviews to interactions that drive potential and growth.

With performance enablement driving future-focused performance conversations, employees have a greater chance of finding where they truly belong in the company.

To explore how Betterworks can boost employee performance and development, visit the Betterworks product hub page. To learn more about the partnership with UKG, visit the UKG Marketplace page.