Our Favorite 5: The Power of Performance

Why do performance reviews seem to get a bad reputation? From the dreaded “improvement” discussion to “peer reviews,” the words performance management seems to strike fear in even the most stalwart employees.


Performance reviews shouldn’t be feared. Besides being a great motivator, it also creates honest, open communication among team members and managers. With review time coming to a close for most organizations, we thought we would pull together a summary of a few articles we discovered to help your organization tap into the power of performance, and rethink your strategy for 2016.


The power of corporate culture

There’s a well-known correlation between a positive corporate culture and employee success. Happy employees go above the limits of job duties, inspire their coworkers and help the business move forward. One would think that every successful company must have a great corporate culture, right?


Not exactly, says Alina Dizik in her Wall Street Journal article “The Relationship Between Corporate Culture and Performance.” Companies with a poor company culture can suffer from a loss of productivity if they don’t try to improve morale and, if there’s no change, “generally become less profitable.”


What’s the best way to start making the changes? Dizik interviewed Michael Gillespie, assistant professor of psychology at the University of South Florida, Sarasota-Manatee, for some insights. He recommends identifying the problem areas in teams and working from there. Building up a positive culture will then enhance employee success. “Culture causes performance, not vice versa,” says Gillespie.


In terms of strength

Performance reviews can either be a dreaded, awkward conversation or an open discussion between employee and manager. The difference? Weaknesses.


In her CIO article, “How to Improve Employee Performance by Focusing on Strengths,” Sharon Florentine reports that a recent study found employees are “61% more motivated, willing, and able to perform better at work” when they discuss how to build on their strengths instead of improving their weaknesses. Recognizing an employee’s strong point both acknowledges their skills and inspires productivity.


Instead of focusing on weaknesses, Florentine recommends establishing leadership skills and how they will fill a business’s needs. Aligning these needs with an employee’s strength will help employees, management, and the entire organization achieve.


It’s time for a revolution

There’s a revolution spreading across workforces nationwide, calling for change to one of corporate’s more reviled topics: employee performance.


The root of the problem lies in how organizations view performance management, according to SAP’s Steven Hunt. In his latest article, “The real performance management revolution is not about ratings,” Hunt argues businesses should view performance management in two parts: performance coaching (mentoring) and performance investment (reviews) to achieve effective employee success conversations.


Basing performance management around these “separate but linked” concepts allows managers to build ongoing, career-focused discussions with employees and work jointly with other managers on annual reviews. Hunt emphasizes the need to “discuss performance throughout the year” to erase the dread of the annual review and make employee success an ongoing topic.


This revolution isn’t intended to erase performance management from the corporate world; instead to create “continuous performance conversations between employees and managers…to gain accurate insight into employee contributions.” Building a positive conversation with employees about their career goals and engaging feedback on employee performance builds stronger communication, more efficient employees, and a powerful business.


Keep learning

In school, students are constantly learning, but stop upon entering the workforce. According to Harvard Business Review’s “To Stay Relevant, Your Company and Employees Must Keep Learning,” author Pat Wadors states that continuous learning helps “the workforce to be agile and to adapt quickly to the changes in market.” Keeping your employees active enables them to be “fully productive and able to achieve business goals.” Check out their top tips of how to bring learning back into your business here.


One size does not fit all

Small and large, global and local, businesses come in all shapes and sizes, so why are so many trying to fit into the same size performance management?


As Christ Cancialosi examines in his latest Forbes article, “The Future of Performance Management is Not One-Size-Fits-All,” “the future of performance management is still very much in question.” What works for the global company may not work for the mom-and-pop shop around the corner. How can companies know which performance management style is right for them?


Cancialosi asked the experts for their tips in finding the ideal performance management for their business. Here are three of my favorites:

  • Coach for performance, not statistics. This will help create open communication and give the organization constant feedback as employees and managers work together to improve performance.
  • Focus on growth. Find and invest in employees that are looking towards the future. They will help positively influence corporate culture and are great candidates for future leaders.
  • Take money out of it. Separating development conversations from discussions about rewards will improve the coaching aspect of a manager/employee relationship.


It’s time to take performance management out of the shadows and use it to create employee success. What are your performance management tips? Let us know in the comments below!

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.