11 Best Ways to Establish High-Performance Management in Your Company
What's the secret to a high-performing team? Business psychologist and TED speaker Andrew Sillitoe has the answer: purpose.
"Purpose is about meaning in our life, it's about staying engaged when things are tough, and it's about connection. We cannot operate at our full potential without purpose. If you help people find their purpose, it means they're more productive, they will be more engaged, and that means more profit."
With this in mind, our guide will take you through high-performance management centered on purpose. You'll learn how to support employee goals, help team members find meaning in their work, and ultimately drive results for your company.
🏅 What does high-performance mean?
High-performance management is a system that organizations use to monitor and improve employee productivity and achievements to ensure they're meeting their individual targets.
The main goal of building a high-performance team is to create a work environment where employees can:
- be successful and
- reach their full potential in line with company goals.
While HR departments drive high-performance management to accelerate progress in the company, there are also multiple benefits for individual employees. These include:
- Skills training: companies committed to a high-performance culture must invest in L&D to bridge skills gaps in the company. Individual learners benefit because they're constantly evolving.
- Increased job satisfaction: employees who feel like they're part of a high-performing team are more engaged and satisfied with their work. This creates a virtuous circle where satisfied employees register to high performance, which cycles back to even more satisfied employees.
- Improved career prospects: as companies invest in their high performers, employees have more opportunities to develop their skills and explore internal growth opportunities. Some of these roles may even come with increased compensation.
❗️ Why is performance management critical?
When done correctly, performance management can profoundly impact organizational success. But in the past, it's not always had the best reputation.
In some situations, companies have used performance cycles to micromanage employees and create an environment of fear.
Companies like General Electric were famous for their "rank and yank" approach to performance review cycles, where they fired employees with the lowest annual appraisal scores. The company has since overhauled its process. Now they join the likes of Adobe, Google, and Deloitte to introduce a more fluid continuous style of high-performance management that benefits employees and managers alike.
Companies now monitor actual performance and use the results as a strategic tool to provide a purpose to employees.
This new approach engages and motivates employees rather than being a process to control them.
➡️ Learn how to improve performance management and drive a culture of growth in your organization in seven practical steps.
🔍 5 Essential elements of high-performance management
We can achieve a successful high-performance management system by focusing on five essential elements, remembering to inject "purpose" into each area.
- Goal setting: Aligning company, team, and individual goals to create a sense of purpose and focus for employees.
- Communication: Prevent siloes from forming by ensuring everyone clearly understands company goals and how their roles contribute.
- Employee recognition: Never overlook milestones, no matter how small. Acknowledging successes keeps employees engaged and enthusiastic.
- Employee development: A high-functioning performance management system should tie into employee growth, clarifying roles and competencies while providing access to L&D opportunities like training and mentoring.
- Employee feedback: A two-way feedback loop such as a 360-degree or pulse survey is essential to high-performance management. Employees need to know how they're doing and where they can improve, while managers must understand what's working well and where they can lend support.
🏢 5 Stages of a high-performance management system
A high-performance management system relies on a tried-and-tested employee appraisal process, so don't wing it!
Use the following five-step process to implement high-performance management in your company.
1. Assess where your company is today
Use data and analytics to closely examine your company's current performance and measure the gap between where you are now and where you want to be. This will help you to identify problem areas and potential improvements.
2. Build your career progression framework
Role clarity is a must-have when building a career progression framework for your workplace.
Zavvy's development software ensures role clarity with role cards highlighting the required competencies and skills for each role at each level.
➡️ Need some inspiration? We gathered 11 career progression framework examples to inspire your organization's career pathways.
3. Create customized growth plans for each employee
If you want to build a culture of growth in your workplace, then encourage continuous development conversations to ensure that all employees engage in growth activities.
Tip: You will encourage personal accountability by involving individuals in setting their own goals. Growth should not be a top-to-bottom imposed process.
4. Implement feedback
Use 1:1s, self-appraisals, peer reviews, formal performance reviews, and 360-degree meetings.
5. Continuous evaluation
High-performance management isn't a once-a-year activity. Instead, it involves constant check-ins to course-correct the path to individual and team goals and to keep employees motivated.
💡 11 Performance management best practices for high-performing organizations
So, you know why you need to invest in high-performance management and have a firm sense of the steps to take. But even with the right tools and systems, you must commit to some best practices to ensure your team has a purpose.
1. Build trust and team cohesion
Teamwork makes the dream work! High-performing and productive teams are more than the sum of their parts – they're a group of people who trust and respect each other.
To create a cohesive, high-performing team, build trust with your employees. Trust is the foundation for effective teamwork.
Tip: Building trust starts with good communication.
Trevor Leahy, a Test Consultant at Fujitsu, explains:
"I trust my team when there are two pillars in place. Firstly, technical competence - my team can give me their intention and demonstrate that 'how' they intend to achieve the 'what' is safe.
Secondly, they can demonstrate that what they intend is the right thing to do because they have organizational clarity; they can explain how their mission relates to the goal and the vision of the programme and project."
2. Get your team invested in your company's success
Going back to finding that sense of purpose, your people need to find their work meaningful to perform at their absolute best. One way to do this is by helping them understand how their roles contribute to the company's success. When everyone is aware of the company's goals and how they play a part in achieving them, they're more likely to feel engaged and enthusiastic about their work.
Tip #1: If employees don't quite feel calibrated with their roles, introduce possibilities for internal mobility so they can find another position that's a better fit.
Tip #2: Allowing different mobility paths is a great way to retain your employees while progressing with business goals.
3. Set, track, and check in on goals
Do your employees understand the company vision and how they fit into the big picture?
Tip: Trying to accomplish too many things at once is a recipe for disaster. So start by narrowing your focus to 3-5 key priorities.
Once you have your priorities set, it's vital to cascade these down to each team and individual. These priorities will be your employees’ key performance indicators. And finally, track progress regularly with performance reporting to identify any roadblocks. Once you have a clear image of employee challenges and roadblocks, you can course-correct to reach optimum results.
4. Create a culture of feedback
Frank, actionable feedback can be an enriching experience so long as it's shared in a harmonious culture of two-way feedback.
Tip #1: Use regular check-ins to solicit feedback from your employees, and give them the space to provide honest feedback about their work experiences, goals, and development.
You will not only improve employee satisfaction, but it'll also help you identify any issues early on before they become more significant problems.
Tip #2: Introduce a 360 feedback system incorporating peer reviews, self-appraisals, upward and downward feedback flows as needed.
5. Create a culture of continuous learning and growth
With widening skills gaps, a LinkedIn report highlights that 79% of companies agree it's more cost-effective to reskill an existing team member than hire a new one.
So, to stay ahead of the curve, build a culture of continuous learning and growth.
Tip #1: Offer employees opportunities to learn new skills, whether that's through formal training programs, lunch-and-learn sessions, or online courses.
Tip #2: And don't forget to provide opportunities for career growth as well. By investing in your people, you're not only developing a stronger team, but you're also increasing loyalty and retention.
Tip #3: No time for training? Introduce learning in the flow of work – microlearning content reaches learners in the form of brief, targeted videos or articles to consume in just a few minutes.
6. Recognize milestones and achievements
Take a step back when your team hits a goal and celebrate the achievement together. This is a great way to show your employees that you appreciate their hard work – it also helps build team morale.
Digital Marketing Director Catherine Maheux-Rochette explains how this works at Folks HR:"High-performance management is the first step of any recognition program, which is a must for your retention strategies. A high-performing employee whose work is recognized is more likely to stay in your company.
In my team, we use surveys to identify how employees self-evaluate their performance and their position in the company. We also share our gratitude for highly performing or highly engaged employees on social media, with dedicated posts to celebrate performance milestones."
💡 Want to recognize your employees but don't know where to start? Worry no more. Pick and choose from 42 meaningful employee recognition ideas to boost engagement and workplace culture.
7. Coaching and mentorship of employees
Employee mentorship is an effective way to develop your people and improve engagement. Plus, it's a two-way relationship where the mentor shares their experience and knowledge. At the same time, the mentee gains new insights and skills.
👀 Note: Mentorship is more than just passing on information – it's about building trust, developing relationships, and growing as a team.
While managers may not have the time to coach or mentor every employee throughout their tenure individually, they can at least provide resources to encourage continuous learning.
Tip: Facilitate network creation by having guest speakers, organizing social events, and holding knowledge-sharing sessions regularly.
8. Get a pulse on employee experience
Employee experience, or EX, is how employees feel about their work, team, and company. And it's more important than ever.
Thomas, a talent assessment platform, reports that employee experience decreases by 22% in the first six months of employment!
So how can you improve your EX?
The first step is to get a pulse on your employees' feelings.
You can do this through regular check-ins and surveys.
Tip #1: Anonymity can help you obtain honest feedback without fear of retribution.
Access to honest insights will help you identify any areas of concern and take action to improve the employee experience.
Tip #2: Choose from various employee surveys, including pulse surveys, job satisfaction surveys, and engagement surveys, to get the most comprehensive view of your employee experience.
9. Prioritize trust, respect, and inclusion
Creating a respectful and inclusive environment is essential to building a high-performing team.
When every team member has a voice, they'll feel engaged and motivated to do their best work.
DEI is key to success in the modern workplace. InStride reports that DEI-friendly workplaces are 35% more likely to outperform their peers.
If you're not sure where to start, here are some tips:
- Foster an open and honest environment where people feel comfortable speaking up
- Encourage employees to share their ideas and perspectives
- Promote diversity and inclusion through your hiring practices
- Celebrate employees' unique backgrounds and cultures.
Tip: Create safe spaces to identify and address workplace biases. Don't forget to invest in diversity training to promote awareness of various cultures while acknowledging our implicit biases.
10. Have ongoing discussions about impact, growth, and retention
Growth and development isn't a one-time event – it's an ongoing journey. And as a manager, it's your responsibility to facilitate these discussions with your team.
Commit to open and frequent development conversations with your team to ensure everyone is on the same page. These conversations should cover:
- Individual roles and responsibilities;
- Short-term and long-term strategic goals;
- The company's vision and how each team member can help contribute;
- Feedback on performance, including what's going well and what needs improvement;
- Development opportunities with a focus on learning new skills or upgrading existing ones.
Tip: Encourage upskilling and reskilling initiatives to help employees keep up with the ever-changing work landscape.
For example, employees might commit to skills niches such as learning green skills to ensure a high-performing team meets sustainability targets or developing digital skills to stay ahead of the curve.
11. Carefully handle conflicts
Altercations happen in teams, sometimes between team members, and sometimes between a leader and direct report.
Sadly, Harvard Business Review reports that 94% of workers have worked with a "toxic person" in the past five years. This type of conflict may be normal, especially in a driven culture where employees are passionate about their roles. Nevertheless, leaders must resolve any disputes for the team to move forward.
Conflict resolution is one of the most crucial leadership skills in your arsenal if you're a manager.
Tip: By proactively addressing the conflict head-on, you can prevent further damage and help rebuild trust within the team.
Some best practices for handling conflicts include:
- Encouraging open and honest communication;
- Promoting a culture of respect;
- Listening to all sides of the story;
- Offering resources to the employees to help resolve the conflict.
Tip: Use mediation or counseling services to help with more complex conflicts.
➡️ Let's partner up to build and manage high-performance teams
Building a high-performing team doesn't happen overnight. But with the right culture and management strategies in place, new joiners shouldn't take too long to ramp up and become productive fast.
Zavvy's welcoming onboarding tool is packed full of motivation, human interaction, and engaging content, so new hires feel immediately at home.
➡️ Check out our Alasco case study here. It details how the company has cut its time-to-productivity in half while boosting employee growth by 67% in a year.
And once your team members are up and running? Remember to implement those best practices with a strong focus on purpose.
Use our employee development software to create customized growth plans and build your competency framework while tying continuous 360 feedback for a comprehensive picture of developmental needs and wants.
Book a demo with our experts today to see each of our employee experience solutions at work.
❓ High-Performance management FAQs
Are you still scratching your head about high-performance management? Then, we've got you covered!
What is the difference between management and high-performance management?
Management is the process of achieving goals through the efficient use of resources.
High-performance management is a more holistic approach that considers the individual needs of employees and the company's goals. While both management and high-performance management may ultimately achieve your company's goals, high-performance management is more likely to do so while developing your employees' skills and retaining them long-term.
What are the main benefits of high-performance management?
High-performance management can benefit your entire organization through:
- increased employee engagement;
- increased productivity, and
- employee retention.
But these wins also filter down.
So, from individual contributors to C-suite execs, all get a stronger sense of purpose and satisfaction with their work and more significant career growth opportunities.
How can you boost power management to high performance?
Upgrade from power management systems to high-performance management by assessing your current practices and pinpointing the areas where you can improve.
Next, focus on creating your developmental framework to set your team up for success.
Finally, create a positive feedback system within your organization to ensure everyone is on the same page and working towards the same goal.