Employees who do not clearly understand their goals or what is expected of them at work may feel conflicted about their duties and disconnected from the bigger picture. When performance management is done well, employees become more productive, creative contributors.
Gallup found in the report, State of the American Manager: Analytics and Advice for Leaders, that employees whose managers excel at performance management activities are more engaged than employees whose managers struggle with these same tasks. Gallup has discovered that clarity of expectations is perhaps the most basic of employee needs and is vital to performance. Helping employees understand their responsibilities may seem like Management 101, but employees need more than a written job description to fully grasp their roles.
Great managers don’t just tell employees what’s expected of them and leave it at that; instead, they frequently talk with employees about their responsibilities and progress. They don’t save those critical conversations for once-a-year performance reviews.
Engaged employees are more likely than their colleagues to say their manager helps them set work priorities and performance goals. These employees are also more likely to say that their manager holds them accountable for their performance. To these employees, accountability means that their manager treats all employees fairly and holds everyone to the same standards, allowing those with superior performance to shine.
Jonathan Hernandez, manager, Lake Nona Campus, believes that it is important to have an ongoing dialogue regarding responsibilities and progress with his team and that information is provided by both the supervisor and the employee.
“Communication is key to performance because, through feedback, our team members are able to gauge their performance. The communication should be two-way, meaning that the employee is sharing with me their progress on a goal as well as me checking on progress,” Jonathan explained.
Performance conversations are a great time to show that you are invested in the development and growth of each member of your team. “My experience has been that when each member feels valued they are more invested in the team and its overall success. I have also learned to recognize your employees in the way that is most meaningful to them.”
He added, “I also think it is important to periodically follow up on an informal basis to check-in, offer support and share praise for a job well done.” This can be scheduling a weekly, biweekly or monthly meeting, based on whatever makes sense for each team member.
Mario Richardson, student services advisor, East Campus, feels privileged to be a part of Student Services for the past seven years where the department’s focus, values and mission truly put the student front-door experience first.
“Angela Trujillo has been my supervisor for the last three years,” said Mario. “Since the very beginning, Angela has worked to establish a genuine connection with each employee to create a culture of open dialogue continuously used to coach each employee for further opportunities.”
Some of the traits that Mario most appreciates about his supervisor is that she is easy to engage in conversation, makes herself available, listens with empathy and is thoughtful.
“Angela’s humble approach and passion to find common ground helps our department develop trusting relationships with the other departments we collaborate with daily,” he said.
Erica Reese, director, standardized testing, West Campus, invests in her team by talking with team members monthly to address any concerns or roadblocks they may have when performing their job duties.
“We talk about how to address situations with staff and how to implement changes for the sake of our students. The Check-in process has helped tailor my conversations to the important tasks my staff must perform throughout the year. It is a great tool that addresses current needs and improvements with staff members, and it is a way to observe and measure progress for each employee,” she said.
Erica also consults and collects feedback from her team. “It is important to seek feedback and find the best ways to implement change based on the needs of our students and staff,” she shared. “The more your staff understands your reasoning behind the change, the more [they] will cooperate and excel in adapting to the change.”
These leaders demonstrate how connecting their team with purpose, regularly discussing individual goals and big-picture goals, as well as giving and receiving feedback, all set the stage for employee success and greater engagement on their teams.