Performance management: It’s one of the hottest and most evolving topics in today’s workplace. And an exciting one! You can help to empower the talent in your organization to achieve their professional goals.

How do you manage employees’ performance in your organization? Every nonprofit treats performance differently, even when using the same basic process. Your organization’s unique performance culture creates nuances that make your performance management system’s strategy and implementation unique.

High-performing performance management

Performance management is an age-old practice with the goal to promote and improve employee effectiveness. At a foundational level, all performance management processes include managers and employees working together to plan, monitor, and review an employee’s individual objectives, as well as her overall contribution to the organization.

According to the DDI and Brandon Hall Group whitepaper, Performance Management 2015: Coaching for Development Needed, “the most effective performance management accelerates business impact of key performance indicators – revenue, turnover, and productivity.” Such performance management, called “high-performing performance management,” was measured in a survey of high-performing organizations and includes several leading practices:

  • Performance management strategy aligned with business strategy
  • An ongoing business process, rather than an annual activity
  • A focus on developing employees’ strengths
  • An emphasis on continuous feedback
  • Managers acting as coaches in the performance process
  • A few select metrics measuring individuals’ progress and showing the impact of a culture of high performance

Cutting-edge performance management

Looking at the above best practices, a few key ideas stand out. First, leading organizations consider broader business strategy when it comes to any initiative. Brighter Strategies is passionate about giving nonprofit agencies the tools to plan and implement a holistic organizational strategy, which serves as a blueprint for success at all levels.

Second, effective performance management is focused on the individual. Although aligned with top organization priorities, the process must be fluid and flexible, based on the employee’s input, strengths, and feedback. Much has been reported about the success of strengths-based performance via research by Gallup Inc. and The Marcus Buckingham Company. In such a system, managers take on the role of coach, helping to develop strengths in their direct reports, and making performance feedback a consistent and spontaneous practice in regular interactions with employees.

Like ongoing job feedback, performance management is also continuous, meaning it happens all the time. The focus is not on an annual or quarterly review, when Human Resources forces managers and employees to revisit their scorecards (sound familiar?). Instead, performance management manifests as a continual conversation in which managers show that their staff’s career goals are a priority.

Finally, high-performing performance management can be measured, with individual metrics cascading from strategic organization goals. It’s not random nor unthoughtful. It is a priority of the agency, communicated from senior leaders, and modeled by managers. To learn how to create effective outcomes for your performance management system, see Brighter Strategies’s free online e-book, “Program Evaluation and Outcome Measurement”, or download it below.

How does your current performance management process stack up against these leading practices? What are you doing well, and how can you improve? As always, we are here to help. Contact Brighter Strategies today for the push you need to make high-performing performance a priority in your agency.

Program Evaluation

Program evaluation is a powerful driver to establish a culture of data-driven decision-making across your organization. It assesses how well you are using program resources, justifies the existence of your program, highlights the impact of your program on the community in terms of strong outcomes, and ensures an organization’s programs are focused on continuous quality improvement.

This workbook will teach you how program planning and program improvements are based on solid evaluation data. Learn to write meaningful evaluation questions and determine the evaluation method that works best for your program goals. Finally, you will develop a practical data collection plan that fits within the tools you currently use, and share your evaluation results with critical stakeholders.

Evaluating Performance Outcomes ebook