Performance management is the ongoing process of supervision, evaluation, and communication between a supervisor and an employee. Its biggest objective is to identify trends and improve productivity. Yet, the fast-paced environment of the frontline makes performance management anything but easy.
💡 At its core, an effective performance management process balances documentation and feedback.
Consistent and fair documentation is essential to understanding performance trends and making informed, data-driven decisions. In turn, actionable feedback encourages positive changes within the workplace and helps team members improve their performance.
Documentation and feedback are symbiotic — and one of the most important things frontline leaders can do is learn the art of balancing them.
Documentation in the workplace refers to a set of records that an organization keeps to monitor performance, identify top talent, and make informed decisions. Discipline, communication, and incident reports are just some examples of things that require proper documentation.
Consistent documentation allows supervisors and HR leaders to promptly address specific behaviors, make employees feel more engaged, and identify performance trends. It also serves as an insurance policy and protects your organization against litigation. For more information on documentation and its benefits, read this article.
Here are some tips on how to integrate strong documentation practices into your workplace:
→ Document consistently and often: If you don’t document on a regular basis, it’s going to be nearly impossible to get accurate data. Using a performance management tool like Secchi makes it easy to stay on track.
→ Stick to the facts: The point of documentation is to empower supervisors to make decisions based on data, not opinions or emotions. Avoid interpretations and personal bias.
→ Set clear expectations: Your employees need to be clear on what you expect of them. Have those conversations early and keep a documented record of them.
Documenting and evaluating employee performance is the first step. But if there’s no effective feedback system in your workplace, then your employees won’t be able to learn and improve. Scheduling regular feedback sessions into your operations is crucial, but not all feedback is made equal.
→ Use constructive language: Remain objective yet understanding and empathetic. How you deliver feedback matters, so stay away from criticism as well as empty praise.
→ Stay proactive: It’s important to address failure to meet expectations, disrespectful behavior, and workplace conflict before it causes bigger problems. Secchi reduces time from incident to corrective action by greater than 50% while improving the consistency of the actions taken.
→ Don’t over-fixate on the bottom 5%: Instead, focus on uplifting your best employees and helping them grow. Swiftly remove individuals who consistently ignore constructive feedback.
→ Make it regular: Employee feedback is an ongoing process. If you don’t stay consistent with it, a random feedback session can make people feel singled out and lead to tension.
→ Document it: All instances of feedback, whether positive or negative, should be documented for better results and protection from litigation.
Effectively balancing documentation and feedback is easier with a continuous performance management process in place. Traditional annual or bi-annual performance reviews are way too infrequent and confusing to be effective, especially in the frontline environment.
♻️ To make lasting positive change, create processes that allow documentation and feedback to exist in a constant & ever-evolving ecosystem. View them as a regular part of your operations instead of a special event.
In a healthy workplace, documentation must trigger feedback, and feedback must trigger documentation. Focus on removing cumbersome tasks, eliminating waste, and fostering a dynamic feedback culture.
Convoluted reports and forms, endless manual steps, and confusing Excel sheets lead to a massive waste of time, energy, and resources. Frontline teams have very little room for inefficiency, especially when it comes to performance management.
📎 Simplifying your performance management process is the first step to a more efficient balance of documentation and feedback in the workplace.
Examples of wasteful processes that could need streamlining include:
Documentation and feedback are key for continuous improvement, and you need more efficient tools than traditional annual reviews and cumbersome paperwork to effectively balance them.
Secchi is an hourly performance software that removes manual barriers and drastically reduces waste. With instant performance reviews generated from real-time data and text-like messaging features, it makes it easy to properly document and give feedback.
Book a demo today to learn more about how Secchi can help your organization grow.
With Secchi, leaders across your entire organization have access to turn-by-turn leadership directions and actionable data that guides them on how to engage their teams through recognition, coaching, engagement, and accountability.
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