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The importance of maintaining employee morale performance during change

Nick Gallimore, Director of Talent Transformation at Clear Review discusses why performance management shouldn’t stop when businesses face tough times.

September 2021

Performance management shouldn’t stop when businesses face tough times. Amidst the pandemic, many organisations are having immediate concerns on how to cope. Potential customers may be cancelling meetings, important campaigns may need to be pushed back, international expansions put on hold, crucial conferences postponed, etc. For many of us, thoughts are already turning to how we do more with less. Should we scale back investment? Freeze hiring? Perhaps even downsize?

If it does come to that, the fallout will be hard. Redundancy can be as tough for the people who stay as those who leave. So-called survivor guilt can take its toll. At the moment when you need your highest performers to continue being your highest performers, they may find their focus fragmenting and their resilience shattered by the emotional turmoil. It’s at times like this that performance management really proves its value. Here’s how.

Goals can help you focus on what matters

Goal-setting is a crucial part of the performance management process. During a time where employees are being laid off or furloughed, employees that are left behind may feel a loss of purpose and morale. Refocusing on goals and setting clear ones that align to an organisation can help give employees a sense of purpose by showing them how their hard work will take the company further. Setting personal development goals is another element of performance management which can help your employees grow and equip them with the skills and talent the organisation requires.

There are many and varied ways of setting clear goals — from setting individual objectives, to collaborative goals to objectives and key results and beyond. Goals — as well as being clear and assessable — need to be aligned so that the benefit and contribution to the wider organisation is clear, and aspirational to help encourage people to excel. Goals should also identify whether they are shared team goals or require collaboration with others. The process should also keep goals agile (to cater for our rapidly changing world). Goals or “Priorities”: when you’re incredibly busy, they help you to understand the things that you absolutely need to focus on.

Know who your high performers are

Knowing who your high performers are is essential for managing talent. At times of uncertainty and when there are major changes in the organisations, it’s important to know what talent you have and how you can help your employees perform better with the right training and development plans. Focusing on employee development means performance in the organisation can improve. It shows your employees that you are invested in their development and their career aspirations and helps employees feel like they are valued members of the organisation — not just another replaceable cog in the machine.

Doing performance management in a continuous way can help you get the information you need to understand your talent. The closer managers are to their employees, the clearer the performance picture will become. Making sure that you hold regular check-ins, and are available to sup-port and advise your team members, will give you a clear picture of their capabilities and potential for development. Within the Clear Review system for example, Talent Snapshots helps managers make more objective pay, promotion and succession planning decisions by assessing high performers based on fact rather than opinion.

Wellbeing matters

The wellbeing of staff members is so important to productivity, those who are stress and unhappy are not going to be preforming to the best of their ability. Wellbeing has moved up the organisational priority list, for sure. Working remotely or in a hybrid fashion has placed many people under a high degree of very different pressure, and has created a totally new set of individual challenges, and many businesses have raised the bar when it comes to helping employees understand these challenges and their effects. There is a very interesting trend emerging around the normalisation of wellbeing conversations, and particularly mental health conversations.

We have to be careful that actions around wellbeing aren't just token actions, but they are meaningful changes in organisational behaviour. People are not going to perform at their best if they are not well, so successful organisations should look to build environments where talking about and taking action around wellbeing is encouraged, accepted and rewarded.’

London Accountant

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