Back to the Blaast Basics: What is Performance Management?

At Blaast, our goal is driving impressive results for your business by focusing on performance management. So today, let’s go back to the basics. What is performance management? Through a search engine’s…

At Blaast, our goal is driving impressive results for your business by focusing on performance management. So today, let’s go back to the basics. What is performance management? Through a search engine’s eyes, there are several definitions: 

  • Berkeley: Performance management is an ongoing process of communication between a supervisor and an employee that occurs throughout the year, in support of accomplishing the strategic objectives of the organization.
  • Investopedia: Performance management is a corporate management tool that helps managers monitor and evaluate employees’ work.
  • Kansas University: An ongoing, continuous process of communicating and clarifying job responsibilities, priorities, performance expectations, and development planning that optimize an individual’s performance and aligns with organizational strategic goals.

Just to name a few. When asked to speak on what performance management means, Blaast’s founder, James Agnew, says this: 

“Performance management is broken, outdated.  The way we managed employees 6, 10, 15 years ago doesn’t work anymore.  The nature of work is changing right before our eyes.  The values of today’s employees has radically changed.  Unfortunately, how we are managing is not keeping up.  Performance management today is all about growth. Development.  Managing the whole person. It’s continuous, agile. It’s more real time.  It’s forward looking vs. the old backwards looking assessments.”

For Blaast, it’s about rewriting the methods, and redefining what excellent performance management can really accomplish. By honing in on developing the basics of performance management and managing the whole individual, next level successes can be found.

Why does performance management matter?

 Performance management can benefit companies in several ways: by facilitating financial gain, by engaging and motivating employees, and by improving management control.

 Financial Gain:

 Performance management within a team or a company directly ties to financial gain. A performance management plan aligns the employees with the goals of the company executives, and drives purposeful, successful work. When employees are performing well, hitting their numbers, or completing tasks on time or early, then money flow goes up. Growing sales is obviously a huge benefit to an effective performance management system, but that’s not the only way that it can directly contribute to financial gain within a company. Further, performance management can reduce internal costs by increasing retention and reducing turnover rates.

 While performance management can seem like just pushing employees to work harder and harder, it actually involves ensuring that employees feel good about the work they’re doing, too. When employees are accomplishing meaningful things at work, and feeling happy, appreciated, and seen at work, they tend to stay with their company for longer—thus: higher retention, lower turnover. You can read more about the employee experience and how it relates to retention on an earlier blog here.

Engaged Employees:

 With a successful method of performance management in place, employees can feel more motivated and engaged at work. Performance management isn’t just standing over an employee’s shoulder to make sure they’re getting their work done. Executed correctly, it is far more involved than that. Performance management should involve creating incentive plans for achieving goals, as well as for overachieving. There should be transparency as far as rewards or praise that should be expected when goals are achieved. When employees are confident that they will be acknowledged and valued when they meet and exceed expectations at work, they are likely to repeatedly accomplish company goals.

 Additionally, consider professional development programs as part of your performance management plans, as these can help to specifically align employees with company goals. At Blaast, employee engagement should be a main focus in performance management. When employees feel truly motivated and purposeful at work because they know and are driven towards the company vision, employees perform better.

Management Control Improvements:

 Performance management helps you look good on paper. Because it can and should be such an involved process, the documentation of performance management helps to track data, keep records for legislative purposes, and simplify feedback. As managers keep track of their employees via performance management tools like the Blaast platform, they can easily see the data comparisons from weeks, months, or years past, making it easy to determine which teams are improving, plateauing, or falling short. Performance management records also make it easy to pull information that may be used during regular feedback sessions, so that no achievement goes unseen when promotion season rolls around.

 So, now it’s hopefully clear what a huge role performance management systems play in the potential success of a company. Without it, a company risks low performance by their employees, high turnover rates spurring from unhappy employees, lack of organization within teams, and lack of employee engagement.

How does Blaast fit in here?

At Blaast, we know that performance management can make or break a team. It plays a huge role in a company’s overall success or failure, and we want to see businesses succeed. The Blaast platform takes a stance on performance management that focuses on the very root of what determines success or failure, and that is the individual.

 Every company is composed of teams which are then, of course, composed of individuals. If the base unit of a company is unhappy, unmotivated, or untrained, then the company as a whole suffers. Knowing this, the Blaast platform is designed to help managers pay attention to each individual on the team.

 For example, one element of the Blaast platform is the “huddle.” Huddles are the term used for regular feedback meetings. Huddles are one-on-one, individual feedback meetings that a manager holds with each of their team members that should be held every week or every other week. In doing so, managers can not only track the progress of each employee, but also evaluate how they are doing in their work life as well as in their personal life—because that has a huge effect on how an employee performs at work. These huddles make it easier for managers to determine next steps for employees for continued improvement.

 Another element of Blaast’s platform is what we call a “High 5.” This is basically a system for praising employees as they meet and exceed their goals. Forbes reviewed a study by the Harvard Business school that showed that employees who were given praise regarding their work returned to their tasks with greater creativity and higher success rates. Blaast understands the value of positive feedback, not just constructive feedback. People get tired of constantly hearing that they “did great, but….” It’s important to acknowledge the accomplishments of employees without inserting a caveat, and that’s the purpose of Blaast’s “High 5” element. Of course, there is a time and place for constructive criticism, but that’s not the point of a High 5.

 The Blaast platform centers around developing each employee to be a stronger member of an even greater team. In the words of Aristotle: “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” When performance management focuses deeply on growing the individual, then the team, and consequentially the company, grows exponentially with them.

 It’s vital to match your performance management methods to your specific company goals. When the two are aligned, employees are happier and more motivated, leading to higher performance and impressive results.

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