News & Views

Enabling Performance – quality or quantity?

Published: April 29, 2021

We recently came across an article about how some organisations continue to use outdated and bureaucratic performance reviews of their employees. Whist some of these ‘appraisals’ are a genuine attempt (albeit poor) to engage and motivate staff, many others simply treat the process as a tick-box exercise and treat the individuals involved as mere numbers who can be ‘managed by objectives’

The article then went on to say that the bigwigs in management consulting are now recommending ‘drastic changes’ to the way performance reviews are constructed – focussing now on just two main goals:

  1. Higher Performance… REALLY?
  2. Employee Engagement & Development… AT LAST!

Let’s cover Higher Performance. Seriously? What does that even mean? In this context, we assume ‘Higher’ to mean increased, quicker, longer, more productive! ‘Improved’ might be nearer the mark, but again, by what criteria? We would suggest that ‘Optimised’ is probably the word they were looking for.… after all, performance can only be assessed once everything else of importance and value is attended to, i.e. the person is already engaged and on top of their role! If we can firstly focus on helping and supporting our employees to be ‘on-top-of-role’, performance will just happen! Looking for performance first and more, more, more (higher) is simply unhelpful – if not damaging.

Why, oh why are these ‘so-called’ experts advocating (or reintroducing) management behaviours that were out of date 20 years ago?

At what point will employers realise that you can’t squeeze blood from a stone? Put simply, do you want consistent, reliable and sustainable performance ‘quality’ from your employees…. or do you want one-off performance ‘quantity’ – along with the subsequent disengagement and burnout that goes with it?

When it comes to optimising performance, here’s some news…. employees need to be ‘engaged’ first and to achieve that, employers need to start by engaging with them at a life level.  What’s driving them inside and outside of work? What motivates them to get up and come into work each morning? .…(it’s rarely just money)! What makes them want to do a good job?

Although for some this might be seen as pandering to the whims of the millennial generation, the fact is that is that the millennials happen to be the first generation to demand this level of personal interest and interaction from their employers. But as a methodology of management it has proven to work, regardless of age and generation. Managers and leaders need to help their employees understand the big picture and the importance of their role within it. Share vision and ambition…. you might be surprised at how much people will enjoy contributing and adding to those ideas – especially those with years of experience who have previously been ignored! And most importantly, listen.… in the end, nobody knows how to do the job better than the person tasked with doing it!

It is only when employees are genuinely engaged that training and development is most meaningful and cost-effective.

In a nutshell, if you don’t engage in the higher values of individual employees and align them to the values of the organisation, ‘development’ simply becomes another training session that will eventually be forgotten, overlooked, or need repeating.

As an alternative to appraisals (or as an addition to), the most enlightened leaders and managers will already know how to get the best from their reports by adopting a coaching approach to management. Known as a ‘coaching culture’ or ‘coaching in the line’, this is a skill that allows managers to engage from the highest quality of the human experience day-in, day-out – and not wait until the next appraisal to pick up on the lottery of misalignment and underperformance. In a modern agile workplace and by adopting this mature style of leadership, at least 70% of a person’s development needs can be identified (and in many cases attended to) ‘in the line’ – where the line-manager can attend to employee needs ahead of time.

Our 1-day workshop: ‘Mastery In People & Coaching Skills is just one programme in our range of fundamental ‘flagship’ development workshops, for those who manage people in the workplace; and is available from as little as £333 + VAT per person. Booking a group of employees onto this programme can also be used as a low-risk start to test-driving our service and as a start to embedding this style and culture of people management in your organisation. Both virtual and ‘Covid-secure’ face-to-face delivery options are available.


To find out more and receive details of the workshop content, get in touch on 01733 645001 or email: andrew.whittaker@enrichyou.co.uk

Leaders Of The Future Brochure: [download brochure here]



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