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5 Effective Ways of Developing Employees for Performance

Planning and developing employees is probably one of the most effective ways to ensure organisational performance and its ultimate success. It makes employees more capable and willing to assume more control over their jobs.

Planning and developing employees is probably one of the most effective ways to ensure organisational performance and its ultimate success. It makes employees more capable and willing to assume more control over their jobs.

As simple as this sounds, we are always amazed by the number of companies we come across where performance planning is not a conscious, deliberate and consistent practice. These same organisations then wonder why they are not achieving their desired results.

“Only three things happen naturally in organisations; frictions, confusion and underperformance. Everything else requires effective planning and leadership.” – Peter Drucker

Performance Planning and Development is a MUST for any organisation seeking to thrive and sustain performance. It begins by providing a clear definition of expected outcomes for a given position, and it continues by identifying those behaviours (best practices) and competencies that will lead to those outcomes. It defines the non-negotiable expectations for individual performance clearly and serves to:

  • – Measure individual performance
  • – Provide individual performance feedback
  • – Develop personal improvement and progression plans
  • – Create and deliver Performance Management training/development programs and coaching

The 5 Effective Steps of Developing Employees for Performance

Here are some steps for making this happen:

1. Identify Key Result Areas for a Given Position

KRAs are not metrics or behaviours but activities you simply must do, ideally, to meet your obligations and accomplish your company objectives. Your task is to determine what the key result areas for your work are, and then to create a strategy to complete and continuously improve in each area. 

The easiest way to concentrate on outcomes rather than tasks is to identify the key result areas and then ensure that everyone at all levels in the organisation is extremely clear about what they are.

Identifying KRAs allows companies and private industry individuals to make clear their position, align their roles to the business or strategic plan of the organisation, concentrate on results rather than on tasks, etc. 

KRAs should be precise and measurable. Thus, it lets workers align their role with the organisation’s business plan. The identified KRAs should be between 4 and 6. Some examples of key result areas for a Business Manager may include:

  • – Generating new businesses
  • – Retention of existing customers and ensuring quality relationships with customers
  • – Quality service or product
  • – People Management and Development
  • – Operational efficiency and effectiveness

2. Identify Model of Success

Conduct interviews and focus groups with star performers and their managers to identify “best practices” or core competencies related to each Key Result Area.

Once broad areas of accountability have been established, identify sub-categories. For example, for the Key Result Area “generating new business”, sub-categories might include identifying and qualifying target prospects, developing sales & new business development collaterals, planning and executing sales activities.

Once sub-categories have been established, conduct interviews or focus groups to identify specific behavioural practices of the organisation’s top performers in each of these areas. If you are doing this for the sub-category of generating new business, the specific behaviours might include:

  • – Ability to effectively research and pre-qualify the right target customers
  • – Ability to develop and successfully deploy effective sales materials/collaterals
  • – Sales and closing skills
  • – Follows through on projects and commitments
  • – Manages time well; finds a balance between the urgent and the important

3. Write and administer a 360 survey or competency audit based on these best practices to identify how well people are demonstrating the required behaviour for success

Performance evaluation enables each individual to understand how everyone else views his or her efficiency as an employee, coworker or staff member. The most successful 360-degree feedback systems include reviews based on behaviour which could be observed by specified workers.

These practices taken from your employees are very useful in determining the competency gaps that exist within the organisation. One approach to assessing the magnitude of gaps is to conduct a competency-based assessment. 

A 360 survey is no substitute for annual performance reviews. It is one of the methods that should be used in the performance management system. A well planned 360 survey can yield several good fruits like enhanced self-awareness, showcases Blind Spots, self-driven development, etc. However, if not done correctly, there are three reasons why it’s likely to fail. They are;

  • Wrong environment
  • Lack of commitment 
  • Poor administration

4. Provide feedback and develop personal improvement plans for each person

Feedback is said to be a piece of information about a person’s performance on a task to push improvements. It could either be good or bad, but it’s mostly to make one improve in a particular task.

It is therefore advisable for the management of an organisation to give an employee who just received a bad performance review a performance improvement plan that provides the employee with crystal clear goals to meet to avoid him/her from being fired and demoted. A tool that will help do this has been included below.

5. Develop tailored training to meet specific developmental needs

Training and coaching can then be developed from the results of this feedback to help individuals improve areas of weakness. This training is not “blanket” but pertains to the deficit of specific individuals or groups of individuals within specific roles.

Performance planning and development ground good business practices into specific and measurable skills which can become a roadmap for helping anyone who leads people to know where they are, where they are headed and how they will get there.

These effective ways of developing employees for performance can apply to any company regardless of the size. Employees tend to feel happier and supported when given the tools to do their jobs well alongside training to grow their career path. Moreso, having an employee development plan as a company might encourage the best candidate to join your team. Each, if not all, of these steps, must be carried out consistently to get the maximum result that you desire.

Adopting the approach described above will go a long way in significantly improving the probability of success for any organisation that is disciplined enough to be deliberate about planning and developing employees for performance.

Developing employees for performance is a core competency of Workforce Development. Want to talk to us about improving critical areas of your employee’s skills? Contact us

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