Employee engagement and performance management are key elements of a healthy work culture. However, many companies must catch up by relying on annual reviews and providing ongoing, meaningful conversations.

A major component of effective performance management involves setting goals and ensuring employees understand how their efforts impact company success. Here are four ways that this process can drive employee engagement:

Improved communication

Providing employees with clear expectations and regularly updating them on their progress toward those goals helps boost employee engagement. It also allows managers to focus on coaching employees and providing them with the professional development opportunities they need to grow. As millennials dominate the workforce, many organizations have focused on creating cultures that encourage continuous performance management instead of waiting until an annual review. Making these culture changes can help companies meet the needs of a generation that expects transparency, clarity, and career advancement opportunities from their workplace.

This approach can also help with the recruitment and retention process, as it ensures that candidates understand the responsibilities and expectations of the job they are applying for. This can help reduce turnover rates and increase overall productivity. Achieving these benefits starts with communicating clearly and frequently, which is why implementing effective performance management software can be a great tool to help. Managers should also be willing to become more vulnerable when discussing employee feedback, addressing employee concerns, and giving constructive criticism.

Well-defined goals

A good performance management process makes it clear to employees what they must do to meet or exceed expectations. This includes the core goals of their role and company-wide objectives they may have a hand in creating. This helps them align their work with the bigger picture and feel like they’re part of a leadership path, which can motivate many people.

It also allows for ongoing, constructive conversations between managers and their employees about what is going well and where the employee could improve. These discussions boost continuing communication, a key driver of employee engagement and productivity.

This ongoing communication also allows employees to express their concerns about their work, such as feeling undervalued or not getting enough support from their team. These are all things that can lead to poor morale and low employee retention, so it’s important to address them quickly when they crop up. This way, you can prevent these issues from having a bigger impact on the company’s bottom line.

Regular feedback

Employees need to be told regularly how they are performing. This feedback must come as soon as possible because the sooner employees find out if they need to improve their performance, the sooner they can address the issue. When an employee receives positive feedback, it boosts their motivation and encourages them to continue trying to excel in their role.

This regular communication between managers and employees can also help identify areas of improvement for both parties. It can also be a great opportunity to provide training and development opportunities, which helps keep employees engaged at the company.

A recent poll found that companies prioritizing culture, employee well-being, support, and communication could maintain an average employee engagement of 70% – more than double that of the U.S. average during the same period. Getting started with a feedback process takes time and commitment, but the benefits will be felt throughout the organization once it is established. This is why some organizations are moving away from traditional annual reviews in favor of more frequent and informal feedback conversations, like those offered through ContactMonkey.

Recognition and rewards 

When employees are recognized for their accomplishments, it boosts their self-esteem and motivation. This can be a monetary bonus or other tangible reward, such as tickets to a company event or even a free meal at a restaurant. Intangible rewards can be just as impactful, such as a shout-out from executive leadership in a company meeting, a social media post, or a personal phone call.

Satisfied and valued employees are more likely to stay with your company longer. This can save you the cost of recruitment and training and the loss of productivity that comes with turnover.

A continuous performance management process, where managers and employees meet regularly to discuss goals and progress, can keep your workforce engaged. Employees want to know that their contributions are appreciated, and they can be confident that their professional development is a priority. This will also help you identify knowledge and skill set gaps, enabling you to focus your training efforts more effectively. This, in turn, will improve employee engagement levels and productivity.

Clear expectations

Clear expectations are a key performance management component and can help boost employee engagement. Clearly defined goals, performance standards, and skills/behaviors aligned with company needs provide employees with a road map for success. Employees also benefit from ongoing feedback that lets them compare their results to the expected performance standards and make necessary adjustments.

Managers should communicate the purpose and benefits of performance management to ensure that their teams understand how to participate in the process effectively. Additionally, they should provide training and support to help employees understand how to set clear job expectations.

The root cause of workplace stress often is more clarity regarding employee expectations. A recent survey found that 31% of employees cite unclear expectations from their supervisors as their top work-related stressor. Taking the time to clarify expectations helps reduce stress, improve communication, and increase productivity. Employees need to know what is expected of them, and clear expectations can help to boost employee engagement by ensuring that employees feel they have a strong connection to their jobs and the organization.

By Grace