Editor's Note: No two successful performance management programs are the same, but all successful performance management programs share common principals. To shed some light on what separates a good company from a great company with regard to performance management, DC VELOCITY will publish a column on one of the 12 Commandments of Successful Performance Management each month. This month we will drill into the third commandment: Involve.
The Third Commandment
Involve: Engage your employees
Part of building a successful corporation is refusing to settle for the status quo and striving to build something even better. That means motivating your employees to keep improving their skills and their on-the-job performance—in other words, engaging them. But it's not something that just happens—it requires smart managers who can make it happen.
You can't motivate employees simply by putting performance measures in place. True, top companies use performance measures to help them become performance-driven enterprises. But to establish a results-oriented measurement program, you must integrate measurement into the corporate culture itself.
That requires management to both talk the talk and walk the walk. Managers must clearly communicate the company's values and beliefs, and they must demonstrate how performance measures are connected to those values. Team leaders need to develop "cultural karma" to help them incorporate measurement into their corporate culture. to provide service to keep the customer, and you must be productive or you won't make any money!
How do you develop this "cultural karma"? The secret is embedding the measurement process into the day-to-day company activities, from the executive suite to the shop floor. Toyota and Motorola are classic examples of companies that have achieved this—Toyota, through its Kaizen (continuous improvement efforts), and Motorola, through its Six Sigma process.
How do Kaizen and Six Sigma work? They encourage a culture of visibility and accountability—one that emphasizes root cause analysis and taking action to fix the problems. On a daily basis, supervisors actively monitor processes and share the results—often by posting metrics charts on the wall where employees can check them.When a chart shows performance slipping in a key area, employees are immediately alerted—they don't have to wait around for management to tell them something's awry. They're encouraged to find the problem, locate the root cause and fix it once and for all.
What's notable about both Kaizen and Six Sigma is that they avoid the common trap of using the measurement system as a stick to browbeat poor performers. Using measures to penalize workers converts a measurement program into an enforcement tool rather than a motivational aid. In the end, employees come to mistrust both management and the measurement system, which ultimately proves counterproductive to company goals.
In order for your company to keep this Third Commandment, it's crucial to build a measurement philosophy into your company's culture that promotes and rewards success. Putting an employee-level measurement process in place is good—but it's only one small step in your performance management program. Management must also actively engage employees and conduct frequent, constructive reviews of company metrics. This allows individuals, teams and units to correct their course quickly if needed. The bottom line: You need to create an environment where metrics permeate all levels of your organization and every employee is engaged in and aware of the company's performance.
Note: In the August issue of DC VELOCITY, we misstated the name of a company mentioned in the MeasuringUp column. The correct name is the American Productivity & Quality Center.