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More and more organisations are experiencing problems retaining their top talent. So once you have recruited talented individuals, how can you provide them with the performance management they need, to optimise their contribution and job satisfaction and keep them with the business?

There are lots of factors which determine employee engagement and motivation including personal development opportunities, reward and recognition policies and the wider organisational culture. But the individual’s relationship with their manager is critical; on-the-job development, support, feedback and coaching is vitally important for the retention of talented individuals.

It is the manager’s responsibility to provide effective, stretching and encouraging performance management that supports talented individuals to shine. But knowing how to implement effective performance management can be a challenge, especially when overseeing today’s multi-generational workforce.

There are a variety of different techniques that can be adopted by organisations to help manage and develop talented individuals effectively.

1. Set SMART objectives

According to research by the Chartered Institute of Personal Development (CIPD, 2016), over 25% of employees are unhappy with their development opportunities. This is not only demotivating employees but also affects the performance of the business, through high staff turnover rates and a damaged employer brand.

Setting SMART objectives should be a collaborative process that provides clarity on the individual’s goals and how they can be achieved. SMART objectives are, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound –  providing real transparency about what’s required from the individual.

Every organisation should have a performance plan in place for every employee that aligns their personal objectives with the strategic direction of the business to provide motivating ‘stretch’ and personal development.

How to set SMART objectives

2. Empower your employees

The concept of empowerment has been a ‘buzz-word’ for many years, but many managers genuinely struggle with how to empower the talented individuals in their teams. Is it just about delegation? Or something more?

The ‘Multipliers’ philosophy outlines how managers and leaders can get the most from their teams and build outstanding levels of engagement and commitment. It provides a clear, accessible framework that helps managers and leaders to achieve more with less by optimising the talent, performance, motivation and engagement of their team.

Discover how Multipliers empower their people

3. Provide continuous coaching

Most learning and development happens on-the-job; even when an individual has attended some formal training, their ability to put new skills or ideas into practice reflects the coaching and support that they receive from their line manager.

Regular coaching provides an opportunity to share feedback on achievements and problems and discuss the best way to tackle any challenges.

There’s no point setting SMART objectives which stretch and empower talented individuals if they are left unsupported as they face new challenges. Managers must provide ongoing support and coaching to help each individual to learn and grow.

4. Encourage individuals to suggest improvements

Managers should take the time to listen and encourage innovation. Individual team members often have valid and creative suggestions for improvements to key ways of working, which if implemented can improve efficiency. Providing individuals with the opportunity to contribute in this way improves their engagement, motivation and sense of place or belonging within the organisation.

Some of these changes might carry an ‘upfront’ cost for the business which will need to be justified through a business case, but if successful they will give individuals the opportunity to do their job more effectively and boost morale, resulting in a long-term benefit for the business.

Highly successful organisations often develop the ability of managers to lead this type of creative thinking and change with their teams, to deliver continuous improvement for the business.

5. Carry out 360 degree feedback

360 feedback is a valuable development tool which allows the individual to understand how their manager, peers, reports and other colleagues see their performance and behaviour at work. It provides a fresh, revealing perspective which allows talented individuals to understand how they’re performing and plan personal development.

However, it is a relatively resource-intensive process. For 360 feedback to be fully successful it’s important that the colleagues providing feedback do so in a way which is constructive and developmental. The individual should also have some 1:1 time with their manager or an independent coach to help them to review the results, maintain a balanced perspective and plan any resulting development.

It’s important that the 360 report feeds into the individual’s overall development plan, so that the key development needs are monitored and supported as part of the individual’s ongoing development.

How to carry out effective 360 feedback

6. Conduct formal performance reviews (appraisals)

There have always been debates about the effectiveness of the annual appraisal process. However, its certainly true that when the process is done well  both individuals and managers benefit from a regular formal review, which confirms achievements and development needs.

The success of the of the review process often hinges on the skills and commitment of the individual’s manager. Are they prepared to put the time in to invest in the development of the individual? Do they have the skills to handle feedback and coaching discussions?

It can also be helpful to run briefings to help staff understand what is expected from them during the process. What preparation should they do? What can they expect? How open can they be?

In some organisations the benefits of the process can be lost because of a heavy reliance on form-filling or rating, which undermines the opportunity for a broader discussion around individual performance and development needs.

It’s easy to think that reviews are just about correcting performance shortfalls, but talented individuals often get the most out of the process, developing their engagement and motivation even further.

For more information on performance management techniques, speak to a member of our team.