Performance Management and Motivation

The motivation of employees is a key success factor for the innovative and challenging organization. The employees without motivation can easily pretend their motivation, but the organization realizes no additional benefits. The efficient performance management system supports motivation through the crystal clear goal setting process, fair feedback provided by managers and by a strong consequence management. Many organizations act on top performers and high potentials. Most organizations fail on acting with the “employees in the middle” and low performers. The proper consequence management is an crucial part of the performance management. Motivation is affected if employees see no action on low performers in the team.

The efficient and trustful performance management system cannot exist without performance standards. The company has to define the basic requirements for each job position in the organization. HR and managers have to prepare balanced and fair system of requirements. Employees are not expected to meet just the volume criteria, but they have to meet the qualitative criteria, as well. The standards set clear expectations of managers from employees. The employee not meeting the performance standards cannot expect any recognition in the organization. HR can act on employees not meeting required minimum.

Employees expect managers to act on low performers. The performance standards are public, and everyone can see the expected minimum from the job position. Employees see the real results of employees in the team. Each employee wants to be a part of the successful and the winning team; the low performers are the greatest risk for the team.

Motivation can be increased in the team, if employees see a proper action on low performers in the team. The dismissal is not needed. Manager should constantly work with the high performers. Manager should continuously work with low performers. They need help and their performance can improve significantly in a short period of time. Manager has to distinguish between short-time low performers and permanent low performers. Everyone has difficult times. Everyone cannot keep the high performance all the time. Manager has to find out reasons and has to react properly.

The performance management helps to identify the permanent low performers in the team. Manager should understand the basic rules of the performance management in the organization. The rules should include the processes for permanent low performers. They should be given one or two chances to improve their performance. They should be expected to meet the performance standards. The performance standards are not defined for the top performers. They are defined for all employees as a basicly required minimum. The top performers are just far better than the standard requires.

Managers have to be educated and supported by Human Resources. HR has to prepare specific training courses about the consequences resulting from the performance management system. HR has to be ready to prepare managers for tough discussions. The low performers usually know all internal policies. They are not worried to argue. HR should support managers in discussions.

Motivation can be strongly supported by the performance management system. However, it depends strongly on managers. They have to be trained to work with high performers and low performers. They have to identify the real causes for the low performance. The permanent low performers should disappear from teams.