Your palms are sweaty. Your heart is racing, and you feel sick to your stomach. You're not sure what to expect. It could be great; it could be a disaster.
No, you're not going on a blind date. You're sitting down for your annual performance review, where you might get praise and a raise, or you might spend an hour hearing about all the areas in which you're falling short.
Is this how your employees feel during their evaluations? If you don't have an ongoing performance management process, then yes, it probably is.
Employee Development: An Ongoing Conversation
Annual performance reviews have made for many funny television moments and "Dilbert" comic strips. However, it's no laughing matter for employees who don't know what they're walking into, or for managers who must deliver bad reviews and suffer the morale fallout afterward.
Because of this, a performance management system supported by communication technology is essential for any employer, whether it's a brick-and-mortar business or a virtual company. The lines of communication remain open year-round, rather than during one dreaded meeting. No one feels blindsided come first quarter, and because employees are continually being coached and developed, their performance is more likely to improve over time.
What does it take to develop a seamless performance management process?
1. Goal Setting
Most people want to do a good job, make their bosses happy, and advance at work. Yet it's hard to reach the finish line when you don't know where it is. By setting performance goals with measurable outcomes, managers give employees a clear path to success.
For example, salespeople tend to have clear metrics. Along with meeting sales quotas, they're also measured based on the number of calls they make, the number of sales prospects they actually reach, and the number of inbound leads they follow up on. They know where they stand and where they're falling short.
While other employees don't always have such a clear roadmap, it's still worth the time and effort to ensure employees keep upping their game.
2. Data Gathering
It's never been easier to track individual progress or to share that information with the employee. Performance management technology and other automated workflow solutions with reporting capabilities let managers monitor employee performance and allow employees to see where they stand in real-time. Simply put, if goals tell them where they need to be headed, technology can serve as a GPS — keeping them on course and letting them know how far they have left to travel.
For example, salespeople use CRM solutions to document interactions with prospects and customers — at least when they remember to do so. CRM in the cloud can be integrated with other enterprise tools that sales teams use every day, including the business phone. This way, all calls are automatically logged in the CRM, and sales reps can check their progress on call-related goals at any time, from any device.
3. Regular Reviews and Feedback
Management is a lot like marriage. If you withhold every complaint until the end of the year, you're going to be pretty mad by December. If you only give out compliments once a year, you might wind up alone. It's better to dole out feedback along the way. The same is true with employees. The sooner they know there's a problem, the sooner they can act on it. And the more often they hear they're on the right track, the more likely they are to stay on it.
These days, there's no excuse for poor communication with employees. Even with virtual teams, managers are never more than a phone call or video chat away.
Between data gathering and regular conversations with employees, managers can easily identify areas that need improvement and strengths they can build on. Then, they can provide the training tools or individualized coaching that team members need to excel.
The bottom line? When it comes to your performance management process, a little communication goes a long way. With communication technology, leaders can keep the conversation going year-round, whether their teams work right down the hall or hundreds of miles away.
To learn more about unified communications technology for your team, speak to a Vonage Business representative.