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5 – Employee motivation, commitment and engagement

Employee motivation, commitment, and engagement are three closely related concepts that are important for ensuring the success of an organisation.

Motivation refers to the internal factors that drive individuals to take certain actions or achieve specific goals. It concerns understanding what prompts employees to work hard and perform well.

Commitment refers to the dedication and loyalty employees have to their organisation. It’s the willingness of employees to stay with the company and put in extra effort to achieve its goals.

Engagement refers to the extent to which employees are emotionally and cognitively invested in their work and organisation. The level of involvement, enthusiasm and energy employees bring to their job affects how well they perform.

Together, these three concepts play an important role in shaping employee behaviour and determining the overall productivity of an organisation. Therefore, managers and leaders need to understand these concepts and take steps to promote them within their workplace.

Performance management

Performance management is the process of evaluating and improving the performance of employees in an organisation. It is a continuous process that involves setting goals, providing feedback, and making decisions about rewards, recognition, and development opportunities.

Performance management aims to align individual and team performance with the organisation’s strategic goals and ensure that employees have the necessary skills, knowledge, and support to perform their jobs effectively.

Performance management involves various activities, including setting performance expectations and goals, providing regular feedback and coaching, conducting performance evaluations, and taking appropriate action to address performance issues.

It also includes developing individual development plans that help employees to improve their skills and capabilities and identifying and addressing any barriers to performance.

Managers or supervisors typically lead the process, but it also involves active participation from employees and other stakeholders such as HR. When done effectively, performance management can drive improved employee performance, engagement, and satisfaction, ultimately contributing to the organisation’s overall success.

Performance management systems

A performance management system is a set of processes and tools organisations use to evaluate and improve the performance of their employees. The characteristics of a good performance management system include the following:

  1. Alignment with organisational goals: The performance management system should be closely aligned with the strategic goals and objectives of the organisation so that employee performance is directed towards achieving these goals.
  2. Regular and consistent: The system should be implemented regularly and consistently, with clear timelines and procedures for setting goals, providing feedback, and conducting evaluations.
  3. Employee involvement: Employee involvement is important for a performance management system in terms of setting goals and providing feedback. Employees should be allowed to provide input and feedback on their performance, as well as the performance of others.
  4. Use of measurable and specific goals: Measurable and specific goals are key to effective performance management. Goals should be clear and quantifiable, so that progress can be tracked and evaluated.
  5. Use of appropriate performance measures: The system should use appropriate performance measures that are relevant to the job and used to evaluate performance objectively.
  6. Development opportunities: Performance management should also provide opportunities for employees to develop new skills and improve their performance. It includes training, mentoring, coaching, and stretch assignments.
  7. Communication and feedback: The system should include regular and effective communication and provide employees with regular feedback on their performance. This will help employees understand their performance and what they need to improve.
  8. Continual improvement: The system should be continuously reviewed, evaluated, and improved to ensure that it effectively achieves its goals and meets the organisation’s needs.

Using SMART targets

SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound. It is a widely used framework for setting goals and objectives that are clear, measurable, and achievable. SMART goals provide a clear roadmap for success and make it easier for individuals and organisations to track their progress and measure their performance.

  1. Specific: The goal should be clear, concise and well-defined. It should answer the questions of what, why and how.
  2. Measurable: The goal should be quantifiable, so that progress can be tracked and evaluated.
  3. Achievable: The goal should be realistic and achievable based on the available resources and constraints.
  4. Realistic: The goal should be challenging and achievable within the given timeframe and with the available resources.
  5. Time-bound: The goal should have a clear deadline, so that progress can be tracked and evaluated.

The SMART criteria are especially useful when setting performance-related goals in organisations. For example, a SMART goal for an employee might be, “By the end of Q2, increase sales in the Yorkshire region by 15% by conducting 15 new client visits per week.” The goal is specific (increase sales), measurable (15%), achievable (it depends on the current sales in that region), realistic (It is specific to a region and a period) and time-bound (by the end of Q2)

SMART objectives and priorities can also be used when setting goals for projects, departments, and even entire organisations. By setting clear, measurable, and achievable goals, organisations can ensure that their employees are working towards the same objectives and that progress is tracked and evaluated regularly.

Conducting appraisals

Conducting appraisals is a key part of the performance management process. Several best practices can be followed to ensure that appraisals are effective and meaningful for both employees and managers.

  1. Set clear expectations: Before the appraisal, employees should be provided with clear expectations of what will be covered and what evidence will be needed to support their performance. They should also be given time to prepare their self-assessments before the appraisal meeting.
  2. Use a range of evidence: Appraisals should be based on a range of evidence, including both objective data (e.g. sales figures, production numbers) and subjective feedback (e.g. from colleagues, supervisors, customers).
  3. Be objective: Appraisals should be conducted objectively and impartially, free from personal biases or prejudices.
  4. Be Specific and use concrete examples: Feedback should be specific, and concrete examples should be provided to support any observations or evaluations.
  5. Be supportive and encouraging: The appraisal should be a supportive and encouraging experience, with the aim of helping employees to understand their strengths and weaknesses and to identify areas for improvement.
  6. Set clear goals: Appraisals should result in clear, measurable, and realistic goals aligned with the organisation’s objectives.
  7. Follow up: Appraisals should not be a one-time event but rather a continuous process. Progress towards goals should be reviewed and discussed regularly, and follow-up action should be taken as needed.
  8. Be open to feedback: Appraisals should be a two-way conversation, so managers should also be open to employee feedback and be willing to listen to their suggestions.

By following these best practices, organisations can ensure that their appraisal process is effective, fair, and supportive, resulting in improved performance and employee engagement.

Managing well-being and performance

Managing people’s well-being and performance is an important task that managers and leaders need to take into account when leading and managing employees. The factors to be taken into account include the following:

  1. Physical and mental health: Employees’ physical and mental health can significantly impact their performance and well-being. Managers should be aware of potential health issues and support employees in seeking appropriate help and treatment.
  2. Workload and work-life balance: Managers should be aware of the workload and demands placed on employees and ensure that employees are not overwhelmed. A balance between work and personal life is important for employees’ well-being and performance.
  3. Communication and feedback: Managers should ensure that they communicate with employees effectively and provide them with regular feedback on their performance. This helps employees understand their performance and what they need to improve.
  4. Training and development: Managers should provide employees with the necessary training and development opportunities to improve their skills and capabilities. This helps to increase employee engagement and motivation, which in turn can improve performance.
  5. Employee engagement: Employee engagement is closely tied to performance and well-being, as engaged employees are more likely to be motivated and satisfied with their work. Managers should promote engagement within their teams by giving employees autonomy, recognising and rewarding their efforts, and providing opportunities for employee involvement in decision-making.
  6. Work Environment: The work environment can have a big impact on the well-being and performance of employees. Managers should ensure that the work environment is safe and comfortable and supports the well-being of employees.
  7. Stress and burnout: Managers should be aware of the potential for stress and burnout among employees and take steps to prevent it. This includes encouraging employees to take breaks, promoting work-life balance and supporting employees experiencing stress or burnout.

By considering these factors, managers and leaders can create a supportive and positive working environment that promotes employee well-being and performance, ultimately leading to greater productivity and success for the organisation.

Strategic objectives

An organisation’s strategic objectives are the long-term goals that the organisation seeks to achieve to be successful. These objectives shape the organisation’s overall direction and focus and can significantly impact performance management.

  1. Alignment: One of the main implications of strategic objectives on performance management is that they provide a framework for aligning individual and team performance with the organisation’s overall goals. Performance management goals and objectives should be closely aligned with the organisation’s strategic objectives so that employees understand how their work contributes to the organisation’s overall success.
  2. Focus: Strategic objectives provide a clear focus for performance management by identifying the most important areas that need improvement. This allows managers to prioritise efforts and focus on the activities that will most impact achieving organisational goals.
  3. Priority setting: Strategic objectives also help organisations to set priorities and allocate resources effectively by identifying the areas that are most important to the organisation. This can help managers to make more informed decisions about how to allocate resources and support the development of their employees.
  4. Measurable: Strategic objectives often include specific and measurable targets, which can be used to evaluate the performance of employees and teams. These targets provide a clear, quantifiable way to track progress and measure success.
  5. Continuous improvement: An organisation’s strategic objectives are dynamic and subject to change, depending on the external and internal factors of the company. Performance management should be a continuous process that enables managers to adjust goals, evaluate progress and make improvements as needed to keep the organisation moving towards its objectives.

Strategic objectives play a critical role in shaping performance management and ensure that all employees understand their role in achieving the organisation’s goals. This alignment and shared vision of the objectives can drive motivation and a sense of purpose among employees and ultimately lead to better performance.

Reward and recognition

Reward and recognition are two closely related concepts important for promoting and maintaining employee motivation, engagement, and performance.

Rewards are tangible or intangible benefits or incentives given to employees in recognition of their good performance, efforts, or results. This can include bonuses, salary increases, promotions, and other forms of financial compensation, as well as non-financial rewards such as time off, additional training, or recognition in front of peers.

Recognition, on the other hand, is the act of acknowledging and appreciating the efforts, achievements, and contributions of employees. It can be formal, such as through performance awards, or informal, such as through verbal or written praise.

When done effectively, reward and recognition can serve as powerful motivators that encourage employees to put in their best effort and perform at a high level. It can also help to increase employee engagement, satisfaction, and retention.

When structured and implemented well, reward and recognition programmes can provide a clear and measurable way for organisations to acknowledge and reward good performance and identify and address performance issues. Thus, it is an important tool for managers and leaders to use to manage employee performance and engagement.

Total reward

Total reward is a term used to describe an organisation’s complete package of benefits to its employees. This includes all forms of compensation, benefits, and recognition that employees receive in exchange for their work. Total rewards typically include the following components:

  1. Financial rewards: This includes base pay, bonuses, profit sharing, and other forms of financial compensation.
  2. Benefits: This includes health insurance, retirement plans, and other employee benefits such as paid time off, flexible working hours, and employee assistance programs.
  3. Work-life balance: This includes programs and policies that help employees manage their work and personal lives, such as telecommuting, flexible schedules, and parental leave.
  4. Career development: This includes training and development opportunities, mentoring, and career advancement opportunities.
  5. Recognition: This includes formal and informal recognition of good performance, such as performance bonuses, awards, and verbal and written praise.
  6. Organisational culture: This includes the organisation’s overall work environment, values, and culture. A positive culture that aligns with the employee’s values can greatly impact employee engagement and motivation.
  7. Employee engagement: Employee engagement is closely tied to total rewards, as engaged employees are more likely to be motivated and satisfied with their work and to stay with the company.

Organisations can attract and retain the best talent by offering a comprehensive total rewards package, promoting engagement and motivation, and improving performance and productivity. It is important for organisations to regularly review their total rewards package and ensure that it remains competitive and aligned with their employees’ changing needs and expectations.

Motivation and reward

The relationship between motivation and reward is complex and multifaceted. Motivation refers to the internal factors that drive individuals to take certain actions or achieve specific goals. In contrast, rewards are external factors used to encourage or recognise good performance.

Rewards can be a powerful motivator for employees, as they can provide a sense of accomplishment and recognition for a job well done. Financial rewards such as bonuses or salary increases can also help to increase an employee’s overall level of job satisfaction and financial well-being.

However, the effectiveness of rewards as a motivator can depend on several factors, such as the type of reward, the timing of the reward, and how the employee perceives the reward. For example, rewards closely tied to specific performance goals, such as a bonus for meeting sales targets, are more likely to be seen as motivating than rewards not closely tied to performance, such as a general pay increase.

Moreover, employees should perceive rewards as fair and equitable to be effective. if employees perceive that rewards are not distributed fairly, it can negatively impact motivation and even lead to demotivating them.

Additionally, rewards should be timely, relevant, and consistent with the employee’s expectations. Employees are more likely to be motivated by rewards given soon after a good performance and perceived as valuable or meaningful to them.

Rewards can be an effective motivator for employees, but their effectiveness can depend on how they are designed and implemented and how employees perceive them. To be effective, rewards should be closely tied to performance goals and perceived as fair and equitable, timely, relevant and meaningful to the employee.

Pay structures

There are several different types of pay structures that organisations can use to compensate their employees. Some of the most common include:

  1. Hourly pay: Employees are paid a set hourly rate for each hour they work. This is common in jobs where employees are paid for their time working, such as in retail or hospitality.
  2. Salary pay: Employees are paid a fixed annual salary, regardless of the number of hours worked. This is common in jobs where employees are expected to work a certain number of hours each week, such as in professional or managerial roles.
  3. Commission pay: Employees are paid a percentage of the revenue they generate. This is common in sales roles, where employees earn a commission on their sales.
  4. Piecework pay: Employees are paid a set rate for each unit of production they complete. This is common in manufacturing and assembly line jobs, where employees are paid based on the number of units they produce.
  5. Gain-sharing pay: A pay structure where a portion of the company’s gains is shared among employees based on a predefined formula. This, also known as profit-sharing pay, is intended to align employee motivation with the company’s overall performance.
  6. Variable pay: This includes bonuses, stock options, profit-sharing and other non-fixed payments tied to specific performance or company performance.

Each pay structure has its advantages and disadvantages. The best option for a particular organisation will depend on factors such as the nature of the work, the organisational culture and business model, and legal and regulatory considerations. By understanding the different types of pay structures, organisations can choose the one that best suits their needs and goals and help to attract, retain and motivate their employees.

Reward scheme risks

The management of reward schemes can be a complex and challenging task, and there are several risks that organisations need to be aware of when designing and implementing reward programs. Some of the key risks include:

  1. Legal and regulatory compliance: Reward schemes need to comply with all relevant laws and regulations, such as those related to equal pay, discrimination, and minimum wage.
  2. Unintended consequences: Reward schemes can have unintended consequences, such as demotivating employees who are not eligible for the rewards or creating a culture of competition that leads to negative behaviours.
  3. Perception of fairness: Rewards must be perceived as fair and equitable by employees to be effective. Employees may become demotivated if they feel that rewards are not distributed fairly.
  4. Misalignment with organisational goals: Reward schemes that are not aligned with organisational goals can waste resources and may not achieve the desired outcomes.
  5. Lack of transparency: Reward schemes must be transparent and communicated effectively to employees so they understand the criteria and the process for receiving rewards.
  6. High administration costs: Reward schemes can be administratively intensive, and the costs of managing them can be significant.
  7. Sustainability: Reward schemes must be sustainable over time, which means they should be reviewed regularly and adapted as necessary to ensure they remain effective and relevant.
  8. Limited effectiveness: Reward schemes alone are not a silver bullet to motivate employees and improve performance. They should be part of a comprehensive performance management and employee engagement strategy that includes clear expectations, regular feedback, and opportunities for growth and development. Additionally, rewards should be a part of a well-rounded benefits package and not the only way to recognise and retain employees.

To minimise these risks, organisations should carefully design, implement and evaluate their reward schemes, with input from employees and stakeholders, to ensure that they are aligned with organisational goals, comply with legal and regulatory requirements, and are perceived as fair and equitable by employees. Regular communication and transparency about the reward schemes, their criteria and the process of receiving rewards can help address fairness concerns and maintain employee engagement. Additionally, effective and timely monitoring, evaluation, and adaptation of the reward schemes can help ensure they remain effective, sustainable and relevant over time.

Conducting a performance review

A performance review is a formal process in which an employee’s job performance is evaluated by their manager or supervisor. A performance review aims to identify areas of strength and improvement, set goals and objectives for future performance, and provide feedback to employees on their performance.

Performance reviews typically include several key components, such as an employee’s job knowledge, skills, and abilities; a review of their work performance, including accomplishments and areas for improvement; and a discussion of goals and objectives for future performance.

There are different approaches to conducting performance reviews, such as self-evaluation, peer evaluations, 360-degree feedback, or a combination of these methods.

It is important to remember that performance reviews should be a two-way conversation between the employee and the manager, where both parties can share their thoughts and feedback. The process should be open, honest, and objective and should focus on the employee’s achievements, progress, and development opportunities.

Performance reviews can be a valuable tool for both employees and managers, providing employees with feedback on their performance and areas for improvement and helping managers to identify and develop their top talent, as well as address and correct any performance issues. It is important to understand the process of conducting a performance review and its purpose so that it can be carried out effectively, fairly and efficiently.

Purpose and timing

A performance review aims to assess an employee’s job performance, identify areas of strength and improvement, and provide feedback to the employee on their performance. It is also an opportunity for the employee and their manager to discuss the employee’s career development and set goals and objectives for future performance.

Performance reviews are typically conducted regularly, such as annually or semi-annually, but the timing will vary depending on the organisation’s policies and procedures. The timing is important, as it allows for performance to be evaluated promptly and for corrective action to be taken.

It is also important to note that Performance Review is a continuous process, not a one-time event. Progress towards goals and the impact of any corrective actions should be reviewed and discussed regularly. In addition, regular check-ins and informal feedback sessions can also be held to track progress and address any issues in a timely manner.

Performance reviews provide a variety of benefits for both employees and the organisation. It can help employees understand their strengths and weaknesses and identify areas for improvement and development, it also helps managers to identify top talent and recognise and reward their contributions. It also helps managers address and correct performance issues, ultimately improving organisational productivity and success.

Conducting a review

Conducting a performance review can be a complex and challenging task, but there are several key steps that can help to make the process more effective:

  1. Prepare: Prior to the review, the manager should review the employee’s job description, performance data, and any relevant documentation, such as job performance evaluations, goal-setting, and progress reports. The manager should also set clear, measurable goals for the employee for the coming review period and clearly understand the employee’s role and responsibilities.
  2. Self-evaluation: Some organisations ask employees to complete a self-evaluation before the review, allowing them to reflect on their performance and provide input. This step can be important in preparing the employee for the review and making them feel more engaged and invested in the process.
  3. Schedule the review: The manager should schedule the review at a convenient time for both parties, allowing enough time for a thorough and effective discussion.
  4. During the review: The review should be a two-way conversation between the employee and the manager. The manager should provide clear, specific, and objective feedback on the employee’s performance and be prepared to discuss any areas of improvement and the employee’s strengths and achievements. The employee should be allowed to ask questions and provide feedback.
  5. Set goals: After discussing the employee’s performance, the manager and employee should set goals and objectives for the next performance period and identify any areas where the employee may require additional training or development.
  6. Follow-up: The manager should follow up with the employee to ensure that any goals and objectives are met and provide ongoing feedback and support.
  7. Keep records: The manager should document the performance review, including the employee’s performance, feedback, and goals and objectives. This will provide a record of the employee’s performance over time and can be useful for tracking progress and making future decisions about the employee’s career development.

It is important to keep in mind that the performance review should be a constructive and positive experience for both the employee and the manager. It should be seen as an opportunity for growth and development and should be focused on improving performance and helping the employee reach their full potential.

Recording outcomes

Recording the outcomes of a performance review is an important step in the process. It provides a record of the employee’s performance over time and can be used to track progress and make future decisions about the employee’s career development. There are several key reasons why it is important to record the outcomes of a performance review:

  1. Legal and regulatory compliance: Recording the outcomes of a performance review can help organisations to comply with relevant laws and regulations, such as those related to equal pay, discrimination, and minimum wage, as well as providing a record of the performance review process in case of any disputes.
  2. Tracking performance: Recording the outcomes of a performance review allows managers to track an employee’s performance over time, which can be useful for identifying areas of strength and weakness and making decisions about the employee’s career development.
  3. Setting goals: Recording the outcomes of a performance review also helps to set clear and measurable goals for future performance and track progress towards achieving those goals.
  4. Continuous improvement: Recording the outcomes of a performance review allows organisations to measure the effectiveness of their performance management and employee engagement strategies and make necessary adjustments to improve the overall performance and engagement of the employees.
  5. Consistency: Recording the outcomes of a performance review helps ensure that the process is consistent and objective by providing a clear record of performance, feedback and any subsequent actions taken, which makes it easier to compare and measure the performance of employees over time.
  6. Employee engagement: Recording a performance review’s outcomes can also help increase employee engagement by providing employees with clear feedback on their performance and opportunities for growth and development.

Recording the outcomes of a performance review is an essential part of the performance management process, as it provides a valuable tool for tracking performance, setting goals, making decisions, and ensuring compliance. It also helps to ensure that the process is fair and objective and that employees are provided with clear feedback on their performance and opportunities for growth and development.

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