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Performance Improvement vs Performance Enhancement

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Parul Darbari - Management Consultant, Founder of Astitva -The complete HR Solutions, Lucknow

25-Jun-2020

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Performance Improvement perceives that something in performance is not so good and therefore needs to be improved judgmental approach. So the approach involves rectification, and rectification has a time period.

When we talk about the people in an organization - we are actually think about the performance of those people. And it is performance which makes or breaks organizations. What drives performance? Some believe that it is competencies and knowledge of individual or collective competencies of an organization. However, I would like to point out that the performance of an organization is impacted by many factors, including policies and most importantly, its culture.

Some leaders may believe in Theory X, which assumes that people dislike work and will avoid doing anything they dont have to. And therefore, they must be controlled and coerced into getting the job done. There are some others who follow Theory Y, which assumes that most people want to work, and that they will be self-directed, creative, and ingenious in pursuing individual or collective goals.

Many of us have heard about Performance Improvement Programs (PIP). It is a commonly term in sales, especially in insurance sales. But not many may have heard about Performance Enhancement Programs.

In this article, I shall draw your attention to why the PIP approach is a Theory X approach and should be avoided especially when the work is not of a repetitive nature or requires some managerial skills. Although I personally believe that Theory X never really works.

The difference between Performance Improvement and Performance Enhancement is the perception, and therefore the approach.

Performance Improvement perceives that something in performance is not so good and therefore needs to be improved judgmental approach. So the approach involves rectification, and rectification has a time period.

Performance Enhancement perceives the performance to be fine, but can be enhanced or made better by adding certain skills. Therefore, the approach involves adding value. Performance enhancement is a process and can be applicable to all. It has no expiry date and it is a continuously evolving mechanism.

So while the objective of both may be to influence performance one has a negative impact and the other a positive one.

How are employees and the leadership team/HR impacted?

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Tips for performance enhancement

  • Never let the employee feel threatened: Verbal abuses and use of warning letters should be the last resort for impacting performance. Remember, employees want security. They have families to support and will never be able to perform if their peace of mind is taken away.
  • Understand the reason behind unsatisfactory performance: Try and help the employees by supporting them in overcoming the obstacles preventing them from performing. This can be done through counseling and training programs. Handhold them if required and tell them how to do it. Accompany them on a few calls.
  • Organize small competitions: Not everyone can take a big leap. So, if someone moves from 30% 50% achievement recognize him. A contest called well tried or something on those lines can be organized.
  • Start coaching people: Set aside a day to just talk about the industry, the services and what can be done to achieve a higher space. Dont review, just talk. And when I say talk- do not make it a monologue. Invite views, make it a meaningful interaction.

At the end I would just like to say, if we believe that employees should take ownership, then employers should lead by example, and also take ownership of employees. Achieve business goals collectively, together as one unified and strong team. To quote A.P.J. Abdul Kalam,The best way to win is to not need to win. The best performances are accomplished when you are relaxed and free of doubt.