Written by Pete Wilkinson

Last updated 27 May 2022 ·

Who performance management benefits the most: You may be surprised!

As a business leader, when thinking about the performance management process, you are likely to consider: who performance management will benefit most and in what ways? Will this be seen as a positive or negative move amongst the wider business? What is the best way to implement a performance management process? Although you should definitely keep your own performance in mind when you consider performance management, you may be surprised to learn that those who benefit most from introducing a performance management process are not necessarily those at the top of an organisation but employees at all levels. This article explores this idea further.

The question we need to ask

Do you remember how important it was to get an A grade in school? When making a significant business change, you need to set a goal. Goal setting is the key to success. Every time someone does something, they have a goal in mind. One of the best ways to achieve goals is using the popular goal-setting framework, known as OKRs, Objectives and Key Results. At its core, OKRs are a structured way of setting and achieving goals that have been adopted by many top companies like Google and Intel. But make no mistake, you don’t have to be a huge tech giant like these to start using OKRs; the idea is that using OKRs helps you accelerate growth and who knows what the future holds!

So, ask yourself about the overall goal you want to achieve through performance management. This could be concerned with staff turnover, improving employee engagement, or establishing a cultural precedent. Your answer to this question will influence how you approach the performance management implementation process.

Some quick answers

If your intentions around performance management are to keep an eye on employees, keep them in line and simply make sure they are turning up on time and sticking to the business rules etc, then what you are looking for is more like employee monitoring. However, suppose the outcome you are looking for is to empower and engage employees, encouraging high performance and faster business growth, in that case, performance management and OKRs are the right way to go.

Goal setting serves as a powerful motivator. One of my favourite sayings is “what gets measured, gets managed.” So a critical step is to establish what is essential to measure and then set up a structured process to manage how everyone works towards achieving those measures. I believe that continual goal setting should begin with business leaders who should set compelling OKRs that serve to motivate everyone in their organisation.

The real answer

Far too often, employees ask who performance management is really for. From a different angle, employees may think it’s a way to keep them in line or a way for their boss to prove how superior they are. The truth is that all employees will benefit from performance management, especially when OKRs are added to the mix.

Employees who perform well and exceed expectations are much more likely to be recognised through the visibility and transparency that OKRs provide. OKRs provide clarity of expectations, roles and responsibilities so employees can quickly identify where they should focus their efforts and hard work to make the most significant impact. Tracking progress towards OKRs using OKR software provides effective communication of performance and achievements at all times. For employees looking to get ahead at work, apply themselves and make a difference, OKRs and performance management will help them thrive.

How self-management affects your team

Self-management is when your team sets their own goals and holds themselves accountable for achieving them. It’s a concept embraced by many companies that allow employees autonomy, and agile working, empowering them to take ownership of their work. Teams and individuals should decide how best to achieve the objectives by setting their own key results. Setting OKRs at the top of an organisation by the CEO, then cascading that strategic focus throughout all teams, allows them to understand the required outcome thoroughly. The cascading nature of OKRs a combination of top-down and bottom-up, so everyone has their input.

Remember, people are much more engaged with what they help create. Allowing employees to set their key results inspires ownership and improves performance.

The value of self-management and accountability in organisations

OKRs allow for self-management, ownership and accountability of progress, performance and achievements. It’s almost universal that we perform better when we take more ownership of our performance. This applies not only to individuals but also to teams. At its core, self-management is about being accountable for our actions (maybe even for other people’s actions as a manager). No matter how open and collaborative an organisation is, it will do little good if nobody takes responsibility for its development or makes sure that they deliver according to expectations.

How your self-management impacts organisation growth

When you know how to self-manage and have a solid personal brand, you’re much more likely to succeed in your role and contribute to your organisation’s success. 95% of managers say talent management directly impacts their organisation’s growth. Learning how to self-manage can help you master your own life and career trajectory at work. And it all starts with being able to manage yourself better.

Who performance management benefits the most

Performance management can be highly beneficial. Using OKRs as part of your performance management process is like giving employees tools and corporate insight to succeed. OKRs communicate a clear set of priorities so employees can easily see where they can impact overall business performance. Therefore, performance management benefits the employees and the business leader equally.

To get started with OKRs in your business, download our free resource - The OKR Builder™, today! It includes a step-by-step guide on how to write OKRs at each level of your business, with real-world OKR examples and tips on practical implementation.

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