Many managers are guilty of delaying performance reviews when something “more important” comes up. These managers often don’t see performance management as a priority, especially when crucial administrative tasks, client communications and impending deadlines are on the table. However, performance management should be a priority if they want those tasks completed productively.
How can managers learn to make more time for employees? Here are five actionable ways managers can make more time for performance management activities.
1. Simplify Performance Appraisals
Most managers review performance with an employee annually (or every six months, if they’re on their A-game), but employees need more than an occasional check-up to stay engaged. Make performance appraisals more manageable by ditching the formalities. Setting simple goals can be more motivating, as they can feel more achievable.
Maybe you want an perpetually tardy employee to focus on attending all meetings on time for the next month. Perhaps you want to challenge a top performer to conduct research that will support their career development. Remember to keep these goals in line with business objectives; otherwise, there are no strict rules.
2. Let Go of Basic Tasks
Leadership isn’t about hoarding your workload; it’s about holding others accountable. As such, leaders need to feel comfortable delegating certain tasks — like administration or accounting — to make room for the tasks that only they can do (like performance management). Rather than being bulldozed by your to-do list, consider which you can outsource to others and which require your knowledge to complete. Once you’ve separated tasks into these two categories, put measures in place to decrease your workload. “Hiring” a virtual assistant can be a great solution; suddenly, you’ll have far more time to spend on performance management.
3. Focus on the Good
In a YouTube video, Jonny Gifford, senior adviser for organizational behavior at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), suggests streamlining the practice of performance management by focusing on the organization’s and the individual’s strengths. This approach stems from the idea that we become more successful by honing in on our strengths and making them work for us. You can’t lead a team without some constructive criticism, of course, but a positive approach does make performance management more appealing.
4. Take Control of Goal-setting
Most managers think goals should be set collaboratively with their team members through a consultation process. However, if you’re time-poor, you don’t have to use this approach. If you’re feeling really short on time, try creating departmental goals, instead of individual objectives. Although this approach to performance management is more generalized and less tailored to each employee, it’s better than ignoring performance management altogether and can be a more objective way to assess performance across the board.
5. Trust in the Process
Finally, to reap the rewards of performance management, you have to understand its value. If you don’t understand its importance, you’ll never find the time to devote to it — no matter how many practical tips you receive. At first, performance management might seem like a huge commitment with a disappointing outcome, but stick with it, and you’ll start to see improvements.
One of the turning points for managers who neglect these activities is the moment where their mind shifts to employee-centric thinking, which is increasingly critical to organizational success. After all, we always make time for the things we value, no matter how busy we are.