June 29, 2021

Building a Strong Executive Team: Creating Consistent Talent Management Standards

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This is part four of our Building a Strong Executive Team series. To start at the beginning, click here.

We’ve all heard the horror stories associated with bad performance reviews: vague critiques from unnamed coworkers, constantly shifting expectations, and thinly-veiled discriminatory comments. Not only do these bad performance reviews prevent companies from moving forward, but they can also severely damage the business by driving away good employees. However, determining the best way to review employees’ work can be difficult. Consistent talent management is key to building a strong executive team in your organization and making the business successful overall.

When all employees are measured against good talent management standards, it’s easier to chart their growth and help them plot a path to further their careers. By charting growth, employees and managers work together to identify their strengths and determine what employees need to one day reach the executive level in the company.

To find the perfect talent management platform for your business, use our Product Selection Tool. After answering a few short questions, you’ll get a customized list of software to meet your needs.

Creating consistent talent management practices

What to consider when choosing KPIs

Key performance indicators (KPIs) are specific data points that measure performance and success for both individuals and companies as a whole. They often include things like revenue generated, the number of deals closed, or net promoter scores. The KPIs that you choose for your team should be quantifiable, not based on feelings.

“A KPI is only as useful as the action or employee behaviour it prompts, and those actions and behaviours need to be evaluated within the context of an individual business,” says Trevor Larson, CEO of Nectar. “KPIs should be selected based on how well they measure the employee’s execution of their particular role in a workflow.”

Here are a few examples of good and bad KPIs:

Good KPIs Bad KPIs
Number of products/services sold per month How do you feel about your workload?
Client retention rate Rate company culture on a scale of 1 to 10
Dollar value of sales per month Number of calls made per month

As you can see, the good KPIs have numbers assigned to them and work towards specific goals, like increasing revenue or keeping clients longer. The first two examples of bad KPIs aren’t measurable and rely solely on subjective ideas. They may be important questions to ask, but they aren’t indicative of performance. The third is measurable, but it may not help you work towards your goal. An employee could easily make a large number of low-quality phone calls that don’t lead to anything; instead, measure their close rate.

David Bercovich, COO of Oomnitza, reminds organizations not to forget about their new hires when formulating KPIs. “For every job description for a new hire, we also map out the prospective position’s KPIs for their first 3 months of employment. We find that requiring a manager to think in detail about how a new employee will onboard and how they can contribute in their early days helps us build clarity around the position and sets the new hire up for success.”

Also read: Bonus Time: Using Performance Metrics for Payouts

Effectively communicate expectations

Creating solid KPIs is just the start; you have to effectively communicate them to your team once they’re in place. And this starts from day one. Your job descriptions should clearly outline what you expect from your employees, and these expectations should be reinforced throughout their training. Managers and their direct reports should also review progress towards KPIs regularly to allow for any necessary adjustments.

Companies should also avoid holding their in-person and remote employees to the same standards. Reuben Yontan, CEO at GetVOIP, explains, “One thing to keep in mind for talent management is the gap between remote and in-house employees, as well as the difficulty in assessing standards with hybrid workers. With offices going increasingly virtual there’s a huge risk that companies will stick with the same KPIs as usual and thereby bias performance assessment and promotions.”

To keep everyone on the same page with their KPIs, individual contributors should have regular check-ins with their managers, either in person or via telephone or web conferencing app. This makes it easier to measure data points and ensure you can effectively compare the current period (week, month, etc.) against the current one.

Keep detailed records of meetings and performance

Any time managers and their direct reports meet, someone should be keeping detailed notes about what they discussed, any progress towards KPIs, and action items moving forward. Ideally, both parties would also have an agenda before the meeting to help them stay on track and come prepared. With detailed notes, it’s easy to revisit previous conversations and measure performance progression.

While pen and paper are great in the moment, you should be storing the notes digitally, so the necessary parties can access them as needed. This will keep the notes organized and prevent them from getting lost.

Also read: Templates and Best Practices for Employee Performance Reviews

Use performance management software to improve the review process

Performance management software allows you to keep track of goals and progress, take meeting notes, and complete agendas for upcoming meetings. These tools help teams plot out both long and short-term goals and encourage open communication between individual contributors and their managers. They can also provide space for managers to praise their direct reports, which can go a long way towards improving employee morale.

Using these tools, both in-person and remote employees are more likely to remain engaged with the review cycle and make actual progress towards their goals. They help managers organize and standardize the performance management process while learning how to better coach their teams. By creating consistent talent management standards, you can better your company as a whole.

Best performance management tools

If you don’t currently have a talent management system in place or your current one isn’t cutting it, consider one of the following platforms.

BambooHR

BambooHR performance management dashboard.

BambooHR helps employers improve their review cycle using short questionnaires that limit subjective interpretation and encourage action. The software helps companies address issues quickly, so they can make adjustments then and there, rather than waiting for the yearly review. They can also measure their team’s overall satisfaction through anonymous surveys and detailed reports.

Namely

Namely performance management software dashboard.

Namely offers customizable performance review templates to make the talent management process easier across the board. Employers can automate the review cycle, making it easier to collect answers from managers and individual contributors. Employees can add their own goals, learn how they align with the company goals as a whole, and track their progress towards achieving them.

Workday

Workday performance management software dashboard.

Workday optimizes the review cycle using skill-based evaluations to ensure a company’s employees are meeting its needs. Using machine learning, the platform can identify the skills your team already possesses and any talent gaps you may be facing. Additionally, managers help their direct reports map out career paths within the organization and acknowledge the steps they need to take to advance.

Better talent management standards lead to better executives

Your executives have to start somewhere, and wouldn’t it be great if they were already a part of your company? By improving your talent management standards and creating a consistent review cycle, you can help your current employees advance their careers and eventually become great executives. Engaged employees become engaged leaders, and you can achieve that through better performance reviews.

Need help finding the right performance management software? Use our Product Selection Tool to get a short, unbiased list of tools that will meet your company’s needs.

Next in series: Building a Strong Executive Team: What It Means To Be an Executive