As the world experiences uncertainty, be it in technology, markets, talent, or the opportunity landscape, organizations continue to grapple with managing human capital challenges in terms of acquisition, engagement, retention, and career planning. People will not shine in their careers unless they understand their key strengths and explore them, or their lacuna, further. In doing so, they can improve and deliver greater results. For many employees, the case of “No news is good news,” can be quite common as they only get to hear if things go wrong. Feedback is extremely critical for improving and perfecting performance, but if we do it in a constructive way, it acts as a highly motivational and life-changing exercise.
There are many ways of engaging and developing talent in organizations. A Performance Management System is one of the most trusted ways an organization can measure and evaluate best performance practices, and support the future development of its people. Every professional needs to know where he/she stands in their job performance. While every individual awaits his/her performance feedback at regular intervals, feedback is related to many facets of overall development, such as knowledge, skills, abilities, attitude, behavior, values, etc. Human capital is the most critical element for business success. If you are a leader who is serious about improving your capacity to attract the best talent, you need to develop the habits of a true talent magnet.
Performance management is a process where the manager and employee work together to plan, act, and review an employee’s goals and overall contribution to organization building. Performance management is the continuous process of setting objectives, assessing progress, and providing on-going coaching and feedback to ensure employees are meeting their objectives and career goals.
As a recipient of performance feedback, it’s extremely critical to understand feedback in the right perspective. Here are a few basic guidelines for performance appraisal:
It’s an opportunity to present your achievements and highlight development areas in the right perspective (accurate self-assessment)
Evaluating objectives vs. measurement criteria related to a job/project
Measuring behavioral/values in a professional environment
It’s an instrument which facilitates the receipt of both positive and negative feedback, and helps takes corrective action for self-development
Appraisal also focuses on competence development; not only performance evaluation/review
Key Strategies to Become a Talent Magnet:
1. Be a TOP (Trust, Openness, and Purpose) Manager
Organizations, leaders, and teams need to develop a strong sense of trust among each other to achieve collective results. Considering that most employees spend their time at work, striving together, they often have work in multi-module, multi-modal, and multi-geo teams with responsibilities overlapping onto other people for their contribution.
ABCD (Able, Believable, Connected, Dependable) is a very powerful and credible model for building TRUST in teams. As managers/leaders, we should have demonstrable competence, and the ability to connect, coach, and drive results.
Build and nurture an environment where your behavior, actions, commitments are consistent, helping build credibility among your teams. People trust credible leaders because people will believe in your abilities, judgement, and actions. It’s also extremely important not only to be fair, but also seen as fair in all your actions, always.
Another important aspect of building trust is to invest in developing connections with teams beyond work, as being a manager means you need to open an emotional bank account with significant investments in your teams. Over a period, your investments will yield significant, rich dividends. Trusted managers do not hesitate to deal with any situation, be it difficult customers, conflicts in teams, crucial conversations, etc., as teams believe that a manager will step up and deal with such situations. They will see you as someone who does not hesitate to make tough decisions, and can work on creating a thriving work environment.
2. Be Real/Be Honest
The most talented people are attracted to leaders whom they can trust, and role models they want to emulate. Thus, ask yourself this question: “Why would any real talent want to work for me?” As managers, it’s very important to focus more on contributions of the employee and share the overall feedback on how best they become even better in their jobs instead of just critical incidents, numbers, ratings, and what the person did not do. While working on the annual appraisal of your employees, it’s extremely critical to be REAL AND HONEST in your assessment. You need to focus on covering the entire gamut of performance and not focus too much on recent events which may positively or negatively affect the overall performance. Today’s professional is extremely aware, smart, and well-informed. It may not be possible for managers to evade certain questions, if one is not fully informed about the progress of his/her team member. Not being honest, upfront, and real with employees about their performance in appraisals clearly becomes a controversial point for disagreements.
3. Be a SMART Manager
As managers, we need to create continuous value for individuals and organizations. It’s vital to be a SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely) manager in your overall objectives, goals, and results. SMART managers demonstrate specific attention to detail on each team member’s performance, on a continuous basis, and works through regular one-to-ones to establish an emotional connect with employees. When the rules of engagement are well established, we can create well-performing teams. Use your courage to stand by your values, your reputation as a great manager/coach, or your soft power to bring opposites together. Then, set clear expectations from day one of what you are willing to do to help employees learn from you that which they can’t learn from anyone else. And tell them what you expect them to do to succeed in their career. Remember, you do not get what you expect, but you get what you inspect in a timely manner.
4. People-First Approach
The success of any company can be measured by the engagement/happiness quotient of its employees. What worked in the past may not work now or even in the future. The good, old practice of customer-first is of the past era. The employee is the epicenter of progress, growth, and success. As managers, if we surround ourselves with highly-talented, ambitious, passionate, committed, kind, and genuine people, we are assured of success in whatever we do. If we take care of our employees better than anyone else, they are bound to deliver extraordinary value to customers, managers, and organizations. We have the primary responsibility of adding significant value to our team members through structured reviews, timely and continuous performance feedback, genuine appreciation, practiced meritocracy, and effective coaching. Life is work, and work is life, and both are interesting and challenging. The need of the hour is to integrate both and bring out the passion for success in life.
5. Career Mentors
A manager as a mentor is about providing constructive feedback, direction, and kind-hearted advice. Mentoring is a journey and not a destination, and it’s a long process which involves intense participation and dedication. It is based on mutual convenience, commitment, and involvement in self-discovery and continuous learning. As a Manager, the primary role is to make the other person succeed in his/her professional life. Periodically, find time to have white-space discussions not focused on immediate tasks, but focused on a long-term career. Discuss ways, methods, and means for employees to progress in their professional journey and achieve their dreams.
In a nutshell, employees are the most vital and irreplaceable human capital for the progress of any organization. Managers and leaders alike have the great opportunity and responsibility of developing people who shoulder the responsibility of driving the new economy. Aim not to teach, but to inspire!