Onwards and upwards with Performance Management: Climbing the spiral staircase in 7 easy steps

Think Differently with Red Blaze

An illustration of the Performance Management Spiral. Boost your team in 7 easy steps

When you mention performance management, it’s not unusual to automatically think of disciplinary procedures for underperforming employees. However, not all performance management cycles need to have a negative connotation. If used SMART-ly, a performance management cycle can boost morale, motivate teams to smash their targets and create a sense of self-satisfaction.

At Red Blaze, we prefer the term Performance Management Spiral over Performance Management Cycle. But why is that? Well, if used effectively by the time you reach step 7 you would have spiralled higher than where you started in step 1.

Fundamentally, successful performance management aligns individual and team performance with your business objectives to achieve results. This could be through various ways, such as improving day to day work, building on key skills, or encouraging motivation through an incentive scheme.

Sometimes you need to dangle a carrot in front of the donkey to get it to move forwards, and no, we’re not calling your employees donkeys! But, the concept is the same – if there’s something juicy waiting for them at the end, they’ll be moving onwards and upwards in no time, ultimately resulting in increased business performance and plenty of revenue. 

Another significant benefit to introducing an incentive scheme into your business plans is the positive effect on employee engagement. (Read more about Employee Engagement on our blog). A shared goal or a bit of healthy competition amongst colleagues can create a buzz and unite office and remote workers. 

Red Blaze thinks differently. There are many approaches, but we have a tested and trusted performance improvement spiral that will lay the foundations for future growth. By setting appropriate, impact-driven goals supported by resources, you can motivate your team to keep smashing their targets and reward exceptional performance. 

Step 1: Be SMART about it.

When setting business objectives, they must be clearly defined, with time scales and comprehendible to employees for the best results. Using the SMART methodology ensure goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely. 

For example: 

Instead of; “we need to sell 50,000 units.” 

Try;“ As a business, we need to sell 50,000 more units in the next quarter; this means you as an individual need to sell 10 more units per week than you are currently doing.”

Step 2: Make it personal.

Now that we have established some business objectives, it’s essential to make them personal to your employees. If you want an employee to go above and beyond their day-to-day duties, it helps to offer something extra that benefits them and ignites their passion. Is there an opportunity for personal development, or is there an incentive reward at the end? 

      • Parallel Motivation: An employee’s personal objectives align with those of the business; “I want to go on the President’s club trip. What do I need to do to get there?”
      • Domestic Motivation: The employee’s life partner or family member is helping to drive performance. For example, they too want to attend an aspirational event, and there is a tangible element of FOMO that can drive performance.

Step 3: “A poor workman blames his tools.”

 Perhaps, there is some truth in the old proverb. How can you expect your team to perform without the right tools in their belt to do so?

You need to explain how the business will support employees to meet these objectives and provide your team with the tools to ensure they can achieve success. It could be training, increased marketing activity to increase lead generation or new software to streamline processes. 

Step 4: The four Rs.

The Four R principle stands for Regular, Recent, Relevant and Results. These four words will help you measure and report on performance.

      • Regular: Participants regularly need visibility of their performance to see how they’re progressing towards goals.
      • Recent: The focus should be on the current status and looking forward by focusing on the next threshold of success.
      • Relevant: The Red Blaze team work closely with our clients to convert the standard internal management reporting into applicable campaign reporting that is emotive, motivational and exciting.
      • Results: We take on elements of a balanced scorecard strategy, where in addition to revenue goals we include additional measures for more systematic or cultural changes in the organisation, for example, adherence to company policies or training participation. This strategy can be used to monitor current performance for a specific incentive programme and incorporate long term development indicators for a full 360 progress overview.

Step 5: Make an example of it.

A few tips to encourage engagement, drive competitiveness and boost performance across the team could be to recognise an individual’s performance for a job well done, exchange best practice tips and ideas to get the conversation flowing or showcase great results to the rest of the company. 

Step 6: The best bit.

This step is the best bit for your employees where all their hard work pays off. Recognising and celebrating when employees have met and surpassed their individual, and company-wide goals is the pinnacle of the performance management spiral. 

Our performance initiatives at Red Blaze create a ‘winning effect’ that will reward and celebrate your people across various methods from incentive trips, VIP concierge services, hampers, or vouchers. The ‘winning effect’ doesn’t need to cost a lot of money; it’s about recognition within the company, across teams, departments and senior levels. 

Step 7 – It begins again.

The final and arguably most crucial stage of a successful performance management spiral is reviewing every aspect of any initiative. A few questions to ask yourself are:

      • How was the communication received? What could we do better?
      • Were goals and objectives communicated clearly?
      • Were they understood at a participant level? Did participants know the expectations?
      • Were we able to identify and share examples of best practices?
      • Did we measure the right things to achieve our business goals?
      • Was our reporting robust, clear, and consistent?
      • Did we identify winners?
      • Did the rewards inspire and motivate employees to increase their performance?

Once you’ve answered these questions and discovered your learnings, it’s time to begin the performance management spiral again. You could use your findings to enhance the previous plan or update the business objectives and introduce a new incentive scheme for variety.

A performance incentive might seem like a significant investment. But, as the saying goes, you reap what you sow, and sometimes you have to spend money to make money. However, the ROI on incentive investment is usually cumulative, meaning the investment you make in the first year will continue to impact performance in the future. A strong performance management scheme will build brand equity by creating expectations for the participant base for future activity. If participants see that colleagues had a fantastic experience on one trip, they are more likely to understand the personal benefits of engaging in future activity.

If one motivated and engaged employee continues smashing their goals, imagine the results that an aligned, motivated team could produce. Red Blaze has many years of experience in designing tailored reward structures to create an environment for motivating already high achievers and engaging lower-ranking performers. If you’d like to hear more about our incentive structures, get in touch with the Red Blaze team to find out more.  

If you’re looking for assistance to plan a performance initiative, drop us an email at info@redblaze.co.uk or give us a call on +44 (0)1452 733 300

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If you have a challenge, call us on +44 (0)1452 733300 or email us at info@redblaze.co.uk