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Building a High Performance Culture

As we head closer to the end of the year both organisations and employees will be starting to think about performance reviews and setting objectives for the upcoming year. The question I asked myself was how will performance be managed this year?

The impact of COVID19 has had a significant impact across a lot of sectors – agency recruitment certainly being one of those. We at Oakleaf Partnership have adjusted how we measure performance and as a result have found staff more engaged and bought into helping to rebuild the business.

I recently had the pleasure of discussing performance management with Nina Berezowski, Founder of Avenue B Coaching and Consulting. Nina specialises in building high performance (and healthy) cultures by using the four pillars of leadership development, wellbeing, team dynamics and organisational development.

What are the biggest changes you have noticed in regard to performance management since the outbreak of COVID19?

When COVID19 hit, organisations focus instantly changed to concentrate on people’s wellbeing overnight. I have noticed a shift in what is being discussed from a performance perspective. Organisations are taking a more empathetic approach, tailoring their discussion with each of their employees. Taking the time to understand the purpose of a performance management conversation and being clear about what is being evaluated. Organisations have reassessed what they need in the current climate and are now looking at measurables such as empathy, resilience, teamwork, and the ability to adapt.

In your opinion what do you feel the key aspects of successful performance management are?

Be human! It has been proven so many times that if you show a level of humanity in these conversations that you will increase your levels of engagement and commitment from your team.

Performance management is an individual responsibility - both yourself as a leader and the employee have that responsibility. Performance management is most successful when it is seen as a partnership between the leader and the individual or the individual and the organisation. People sometimes see performance management as a Teacher/ Student relationship – this should never be the case. It should be focused on growth and you as an individual.

Do you feel companies’ performance management processes are aligned to the market we are currently in?

It goes back to the purpose– what are you trying to achieve by having these conversations?

Performance management touches on all elements of HR – reward, recruitment, learning and development. For some, the purpose is financial reward/ gain, engagement in the team/ organisation’s strategy, development of their staff. If your goal is to grow the business or to increase sales – be upfront about this. By sharing your expectations and purpose you will enable your employee’s performance. This can sometimes create micro cultures, which aren’t necessarily a negative. Own them and utilise this to have more open and authentic conversations.

What I have taken away from this conversation is that performance management during COVID has shifted to a more holistic approach. Whilst metrics and grading systems have their place shifting the focus to wellbeing and empathy you can still achieve the results your business is seeking.

If you are interested in speaking with Nina further about performance management or other HR topics, please do not hesitate to reach out.

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