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How HR Pros Use Performance Management to Improve Staff Retention

By: SmallBizClub


How HR Pros Use Performance Management

Performance management is an invaluable tool when it comes to the important relationship between the employee and the employer. It can be used to influence and guide almost every single aspect of this relationship, improve productivity, and heighten engagement.

As such, it should come as no surprise to any HR professional that the development of an efficient performance management system can prove integral when it comes to your organization attracting and, importantly, retaining quality candidates.

When a staff member leaves your organization, it isn’t always a reflection of a flawed management system or an indication of low morale. All employees move on one day, for one reason or another. It is rare that an employee will serve out their entire working life at one company, regardless of how engaged and satisfied they may be.

However, if you notice a particularly high staff turnover, attention needs to be paid to the ethos and running of the company. Unhappy staff members may leave due to issues such as unrealistic workloads, poor communication, unclear expectations, a lack of recognition, or limited opportunities for progression. These are aspects that are within your power to control and improve.

Using your performance management system, aim to put the following measures in place; the results will be more engaged, satisfied staff who are measurably less likely to jump ship.

Set firm, achievable goals

For your staff to be fully productive and for them to feel satisfied with their own performance, they must first know and understand what is expected of them. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. If an employee is unclear about their role they will likely fail; this will not only be a personal failure for the individual but an organizational failure that could easily have been prevented.

For a more efficient and productive organization, clearly communicate your organizational objectives and encourage employees to set their own SMART objectives to support these. These objectives should be:

Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time Bound.

Employees are, on the whole, much happier when they know exactly what is needed of them as well as how to go about achieving their goals. Remember to be clear and encouraging while also explaining how their individual goals feed into organizational objectives. This will reinforce the feeling of being an important part of a well-functioning team, which directly impacts engagement and, as a result, retention.

Recognize and reward good performance

We are professionals but we are also human beings, which means that we all crave recognition. At a young age, we get it from our parents. As we mature, we get it from our teachers. It is only natural that we require it as adults in our careers.

A recent survey found that recognition was the driving motivator for good work. Employees are happier when they know that their hard efforts are being noted and appreciated. Taking the time to do this is a small price to pay when you take into consideration the talent you might lose, and the money it will cost to replace them. After all, most of your employees will doubtlessly have valuable skills that would be highly desirable to other organizations. It is not surprising that an employee might abandon one company for another if said company is more likely to reward their efforts.

Rewards don’t have to come in the form of huge bonuses; they can be small gestures and still make the world of difference. Making this effort will not only help you retain top talent and encourage employee engagement, but it can also drive measurable corporate results.

Operate a flexible working environment

Flexible working, whether it comes in the form of working from home, part-time working, job-shares, or flextime can seriously improve staff retention. In fact, according to one source, an impressive 43% of staff would choose flexible working over a pay rise. Another source suggests that flexible working could result in a more efficient, productive, empowered and motivated workforce. Flexibility can also result in fewer sick days, due to the reduced stress levels from unmanageable working hours.

Have regular, ongoing check-ins

Top companies have seen a move toward continuous performance management. This trend is increasing in popularity, much to the relief of employees the world over. Regular, short and informal catch-ups relieves the stress of a pressure-filled, annual review. On top of this, such regular meetings encourage open communication between managers and employees, meaning that your staff feel more deeply involved in their organization.

Provide opportunities to advance

Every organization wants ambitious, driven employees who want to advance and improve their existing skills. To minimize the likelihood of your quality employees leaving to pursue a challenge, provide them with the opportunities they deserve.

Failing to offer an exemplary employee the job progression or challenge they need may just put you in a rather awkward position, as when they decide to leave you are forced to replace them with a far less experienced employee.

Although finding an appropriate job might prove difficult for the exemplary employee, if you opt to deny them any opportunities to evolve and learn, it is likely that they will eventually leave your company for a place where advancement is a genuine possibility.

Author: Stuart Hearn heads up a team who design innovative performance management software. He has been working in the HR sector for over 20 years, previously working for Sony Music Publishing and co-founding PlusHR.

Published: May 3, 2016

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