Improve Staff Retention with Performance Management

By Stuart Hearn, Co Founder and CEO at Clear Review

There are certain pressing concerns that will always be weighing heavily on the mind of an HR professional, the chief among these being engagement and retention. One certainly feeds into the other, as dissatisfied employees who don’t feel engaged with the organisation will naturally feel more compelled to leave in favour of a company that perpetuates a more supportive, encouraging atmosphere.

Employees leave their organisations for a multitude of reasons, many of which are beyond your control. There are, however, certain aspects that an effective performance management system can regulate, including poor communication, unrealistic workloads, unclear expectations, lack of recognition or limited opportunities for progression. All of these elements will impact employee engagement and, as a result, employee retention. If you are still not sold, consider the costs to the company.

According to the Wall Street Journal, high staff turnover can mean you are paying out “twice an employee’s salary to find and train a replacement.”

Using your performance management system, aim to put the following measures in place; the results will be more engaged, satisfied staff who are measurably less likely to jump ship.

You operate a flexible working environment

You might assume that the key to the running of a functioning, profitable and successful organisation is strict, regimented working hours. In reality, a more flexible working environment results in happier employees who are willing to go the extra mile. Consider which is preferable: a creative, enthusiastic employee working 25 hours or a stressed, dissatisfied employee working 50. Flexible working is more than likely to result in heightened efficiency, productivity and motivation.

An incredible 43% of staff would choose flexible working over a pay rise; a compelling statistic if you’re considering ways in which to reduce turnover. This flexibility can come in the form of working from home, part-time working, job-shares or flexitime.

Be SMART about goal-setting

It is difficult for an employee to feel engaged and enthusiastic without knowing their purpose within an organisation, or knowing what is expected of them. An employee who feels they are constantly failing because they are unclear about the goals they are meant to be meeting is understandably more likely to leave than one who feels invaluable and productive.

One thing is for certain; if communication in your organisation is such that you have not adequately shared clear organisational goals with your employees, it is the company’s failing rather than theirs. To ensure that organisation-level goals are successfully delivered, encourage employees to set SMART objectives. These are objectives that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time Bound. This will result in employees who are confident about their role and how it influences the organisation as a whole, boosting an atmosphere of teamwork.

Provide regular feedback

Yearly performance reviews are becoming extinct. They are failing in comparison to regular, up-to-date feedback and continual employee check-ins. When employees are given the chance to regularly interact with managers, communication becomes more fluid and managers are kept informed regarding progress and any potential issues. This increased involvement will ensure that your employees are truly engaged in the operation and direction of the company.

Prioritise reward and recognition

When employees work hard and exceed expectations, they do it for more than monetary reward. As humans, we have an instinctive and natural need for recognition and, in fact, it has been found that recognition is the driving motivator behind good work. Taking the time to reward your employees for a job well done is a small price to pay when you consider how it can drive corporate results and boost employee engagement.

Encourage advancement and development

A skilled, motivated employee is an asset. Somebody that is constantly eager to learn and improve themselves can truly benefit the company. However, if this employee firmly believes that there is no room for advancement or promotion, it is unlikely that such a driven individual will remain with you for long.

Provide opportunities for these individuals to develop their skills. Give them additional responsibilities or projects to broaden their experience and, if possible, offer promotion when you can. The cost of failing to do so could be losing a dedicated, hard-working employee that another organisation would be happy to snap up.

Author Bio: Stuart Hearn heads up a team who design innovative performance management software. He has been working in the HR sector for over 20 years, previously working for Sony Music Publishing and co-founding PlusHR.