Performance management would be better termed “people management”. That’s because you’re not managing performance in a purely mechanical sense. These aren’t machines we’re talking about that provide a simple output based on a known input. Human beings don’t work that way.
We’re messy. We’re complex. We’re convoluted. People management is what you’re really doing, and that requires more than just pointing out that Area B needs to be changed and that Area C is underutilized.
How do you manage people, though? The global shift toward creating a positive environment in which people can work and thrive is a good step, but it’s only the first of many. You need to do quite a few other things and we’ll touch on some of the most important below.
Intrinsic Motivation versus Extrinsic Motivation
One of the most significant factors in managing people is understanding the difference between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, and the need to double down on the former. What are those terms? Chances are good you’ve at least heard them, but let’s take a closer look.
Extrinsic motivation is anything outside of the self. Your pressure as a manager on your employees to perform at a specific level – that’s an example of extrinsic motivation. The need to earn a paycheck to pay bills is another example of extrinsic motivation.
Intrinsic motivation is different. It stems from within your team members. A deep desire to excel is an example of intrinsic motivation, for instance. However, so is a desire to work within a diverse environment, or to do work that somehow connects with personal values and ethics.
For business owners and decision-makers, as well as for managers, it has become critical to create an environment where intrinsic motivation is the driving force. Outside factors can motivate, sure, but they can only do so much. Also, they tend to exacerbate, or even create outright, many of the negative company cultures we saw in the past.
Company Culture Plays an Increasingly Critical Role
Company culture has been around for a long time, at least as an idea. However, many firms paid mere lip service to it. Today, that’s increasingly difficult.
Employees today are empowered. They’re choosy. They’re not just looking for a job – they want to work with a company that resonates with them on a professional and personal level.
Your corporate culture is a big part of that. A positive culture can help make you an employer of choice, even establish you as a leader in your industry. A negative culture, on the other hand, will encourage employees to jump ship and will prevent you from seeing the caliber of new hires you need to achieve growth and lasting success.
It pays to delve deep into your company’s culture and analyze it. Does it line up with employee expectations? Is it positive? Does it connect with your ethics and values or does it create a negative, potentially toxic environment?
Information and Solutions Can Come from Anywhere
In the past, organizations were rigidly structured. There was this idea that the CEO was the smartest person in the organization and that the C-suite was best positioned to create initiatives, decide on activities, and to drive action. Today, those ideas are not just being challenged, but being erased.
More and more, we’re seeing companies not just survive, but thrive and grow with a flat structure, or with a more chaotic structure than the typical top-down model that was used in the past. It’s about more than just democratizing leadership or eliminating titles, though. It’s about realizing that information, knowledge, and solutions can (and should) come from anywhere and everywhere within the business.
It’s about agility and flexibility. When ideas can come from anywhere, your potential for amazing wins is dramatically increased. When information can come from anywhere, opportunities for excellence can be found everywhere. When solutions come from everywhere, anyone within the organization can be a leader or problem-solver.
Skills Fluency Matters More Than a Resume
Once upon a time, your resume was the key to a rewarding career. A hirer could look back at your job experience, note the companies you worked for, and the roles you filled, and make a decision about whether you were right for their needs. Today, that is beginning to fade away.
It’s being replaced by an idea called “skills fluency”. This is particularly important today when we’re seeing a dramatic skills shortage across the board. In this situation, upskilling, training, and charting a career path and then building skills necessary to reach new heights is becoming the norm.
Increasingly, employers are not looking for specific college degrees. Instead, they’re looking for demonstrable skills and knowledge. They know their pain points and they need specific skillsets (or people willing to learn those skillsets) to solve their issues.
Individual Growth and Development
Not all that long ago, if someone wanted to develop their potential as a professional, they handled it themselves. However, that’s increasingly being challenged. The flip side of performance management is learning and development, and savvy employers are beginning to understand that investing in their employees with L&D initiatives that go beyond mandatory corporate training can yield some massive benefits.
This ties directly into the skills shortage mentioned above. With an investment in skill development, it’s possible to apply a granular strategy to your hiring and promotion activities. By understanding the existing knowledge, skills, aptitudes, and career goals of your staff, you can begin planning how, when, and where to promote (and to train). Based on those decisions, you can hire new team members with specific skill sets or capabilities.
Are You Managing Your People?
As you can see, performance management is becoming more and more people-focused, rather than process-focused. Are you managing your people effectively? Are you able to help them become all that they can be? Use the tips and insights above to help you manage and grow your team while building a stronger, more resilient organization.