Wednesday, September 23, 2015

How do you Take Long Term View to Drive Workforce Performance

Workforce performance improvement must take the long view and may require a core DNA transplant.

Performance Management is a significant management discipline in the business system. It’s the management practice that does not have hard coded programming like other business systems but directly drives corporate mindset, attitude, and behavior. How to drive workforce performance? Is it a one-time thing or continuous effort, how to reward strong performance consistently? Do you only measure performance quantitatively, or how to measure it qualitatively, in order to improve corporate culture and building a high-performing and high-mature organization?

At its core, performance management is about creating a work environment that helps your company meet its business goals. It's more than just a collection of tools and processes, although there are many that can help you meet your goals. It's a philosophy that informs everything you do. There isn't any general rule on how to drive workforce performance, a process could be put in place to understand what flaws are in place, impeding a good performance and its improvement. It's important to identify a list of them from the organizational process, procedure, people, leadership sides. For example, the obstacles from people side include lack of workforce flexibility (both attitude or know how); interpersonal relationship drift/ issues; job-employee talent match or engagement trends. Then identifying for each and any of these main key impediments for a pragmatic solution.

You cannot command innovation and adaptation, but can enable, encourage, inspire and even lead for improving workforce performance. Also, you can't command someone to be creative or adaptive. People must have other intangible performance drivers that get them motivated every day with ambition and creativity. Designing a performance management system that makes sense for your company depends on many factors, including the nature of your business, your company culture, and your mission. In some cases, a more traditional method might make sense, but with increasing speed of change, the performance of Performance Management needs to be continuously assessed and adjusted as well. If you ensure the individuals have the autonomy within their tasks or projects, you will be able to address performance on an equal partnership basis. It seems simple as it is, and it has many different additional advantages of encouraging knowledge transfer within the team, engagement and so on.

Workforce performance improvement must take the long view and may require a core DNA transplant. There is no single initiative or program or the "theme for the year" that will suffice to raise the performance of a company or business unit. The key, of course, is not to choose one path over the other, but to tailor the solutions depending on the situation and advantages, you want to gain. When everyone has the same vision, when everyone is treated as a "partner," when communication flows from the top to bottom and from the bottom to top, when people no longer say “I have a job,” but a purpose, when management is not about paperwork and leadership is more about people, and when individuals/teams/departments are taught to solve daily operational problems, when people can "become brilliant on the basics," and when everyone understands how the business operates - then you will see a workplace with respect, genuine engagement, mutual understanding, trust, optimism, and absolutely the best customer service -and that is the competitive edge.

Each higher level person must be capable of managing a more ambiguous/longer time frame set of issues than those for which s/he holds subordinate accountable. You can't "drive" performance without mutually accepted goals and expectations. It's almost impossible to measure performance objectively, but goals and expectations help. You have to be realistic and measure the improvement continuously.You also need to identify the bottom box performers. If a bottom box performer has not evolved to an average performer or an average performer has stayed at that position for a long time, it always impacts the top performers. Recognizing your performers and keeping them motivated along with keeping the average and bottom box performers on toes are two leadership styles you will have to maintain simultaneously.

Using the forces of  respect and care for every employee, versus fear and punishment. Belief in the high value of both TEAM and EACH individual to improve the profits and business performance. This is the long view and takes some courage and faith to develop, but it ultimately releases the highest potential of each employee. Rewards systems are in place, and rewards are tailored to the individual instead of one-size-fits-all. Living out a flatter organization. A "Us," (vs. Us vs. Them) and "every person is a Stakeholder" culture, through celebration, open door listening, transparency ("we have a problem to solve together") and mutual sharing in successes. It engenders intangible, almost unmeasurable beneficial qualities or attributes like genuine engagement, mutual understanding, trust, optimism, deploying forces of love and respect.

The best performance management system needs to tie everyone in the organization to company’s profit and also company’s rewards, and at the same time, there are individual performance incentives which are measured against personal goals. This keeps all employees working together while at the same time push the individual to exceed their personal goals. It is a win-win for both individuals and the organization.


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