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Engagement
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min read

Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS): How to Use eNPS for Better Engagement

“Every employee can affect your company’s brand”- Tony Hseih, Former CEO, Zappos

TL:DR

Employee NPS is a key component for your organization if you wish to create a culture which engages, motivates and inspires employees and encourages them to recommend it to their friends. Here are a few quick points that you should not forget:

  • It helps organizations gauge the level of engagement and experience for employees by segmenting employees into promoters, passives and detractors (discussed later)
  • eNPS is important as it helps in employee retention as well as facilitate fast and effective hiring by ensuring a winning employer brand
  • It is best to conduct eNPS surveys on a regular basis to gauge trends over cycles and address fluctuations in real time
  • To improve your eNPS, you must focus on understanding each segment of employees and taking appropriate action
  • You must acknowledge that passives have a great potential of changing your eNPS and you should focus your efforts on bringing them up the score spectrum
  • Finally, you must use eNPS as a means to boost employee morale and track level and reasons for disengagement

Now let’s get into the nitty-gritties of employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS) and how you can use them effectively.

What is employee Net Promoter Score?

eNPS is or employee NPS is a measure of employee loyalty and how they feel about your organization. It is a scoring mechanism that employees can use to share their satisfaction/ dissatisfaction with the company culture, which in turn helps leaders to gauge the impact it will have on the organization. 

The advent of eNPS came as a result of realizing that employees have an equal impact on an organization as the customers

For instance, if any employee leaves a bad review or reports a bad experience about your organization, it might act as a deterrent for other high performing candidates from applying to your organization.

In a nutshell, eNPS is one of the top tools you can use to gauge how satisfied your employees are with your company culture and measure whether or not your employee engagement and other efforts are actually bearing fruits. 

How to calculate eNPS?

You can calculate the eNPS for your organization by subtracting the percentage of promoters from the percentage of detractors. Let’s quickly understand what this means. 

You will start by asking your employees to rate their experience on a rating scale of 0-10. You can have questions like ‘How likely are you to recommend the organization to your peers or friends, on a scale of 0-10’. We will talk more about potential questions in subsequent sections. Depending on their experience, your employees will share their rating. Based on the rating, you can segment your employees into three categories:

  • Promoters: With a rating of 9-10; they are highly loyal, motivated and inspired and show full commitment to the organization
  • Passives: With a rating of 7-8; they are generally neutral, while they are happy with the experience, their level of loyalty and commitment may not be as high as the promoters
  • Detractors: With a rating of 0-6; they are generally dissatisfied, lack loyalty, inspiration and motivation and may not recommend the organization to others
eNPS= %of promoters - %of detractors

For instance, if your organization has a total of 100 employees and 61 are promoters, 18 are detractors and 21 are passives, then your eNPS= 61%-18% = 43

The higher the eNPS, the more advocates you have. This suggests you will have an ecosystem of high percentage of employees that are loyal, inspired, motivated and committed. 

enps

Why does eNPS matter?

For growing organizations like yours there are several reasons why eNPS matters to create a sustainable workplace. Such as —

1. Get a picture of your employer branding

Research shows that the majority of candidates read six reviews before forming an opinion about a company and 70% of people look to reviews before they make career decisions

With employee NPS, you will know how likely your employees are to recommend your organization to others outside. This ensures employer branding which determines the quality of talent you will be able to attract. 

By ensuring a good Net Promoter Score from employees, you will be able to manage the reviews effectively. 

2, Identify your advocates in a simple and quick manner

Employee NPS is very easy to execute, fast and cost-effective. At the same time, it gives you a clear picture of who are the advocates for your organization vs those who are disengaged and are unlikely to make recommendations. This information has two-fold benefits:

  • You can create personalized plans to engage the different employee segments based on results
  • You can leverage the reasons your promoters or advocates list for high level of loyalty and focus on enhancing the same

3. Reduce employee turnover

It is very rare that an employee will one day decide to leave your organization out of nowhere. Often, the decision to quit starts in advance and can be attributed to several factors including disengagement and dissatisfaction. eNPS, conducted regularly, can help you anticipate potential turnover in advance, when the employee rates low on the eNPS survey. You can use this data to fine tune your engagement plan and identify and address specific challenges. 

🚀 Predict and prevent turnover with employee experience surveys by SuperBeings. Learn more 

4. Hire faster

As stated above, eNPS directly impacts the quality of the talent you attract. Similarly, it also impacts how fast you are able to close an open position. If you have a high eNPS, you will receive a higher inflow of applications because your organization will be branded as a preferred place to work. This higher number of applications will translate to faster interviews and closures. Invariably, this will prevent the loss of work hours between transitions. 

5. Gauge employee trends over time

Finally, eNPS can help you track employee loyalty and engagement over time. If individual and overall employee NPS increases, it reflects that your interventions are moving the needle. However, if the score drops, you may need to relook at your practices and understand the root cause. 

Employee NPS cycles

As mentioned before, employee NPS is generally measured with eNPS surveys. Therefore, like any other feedback cycle, your eNPS surveys should also follow a structured and cyclical approach. Here are to create an effective eNPS survey process —

1. Ensure anonymity

Make your eNPS ratings confidential and anonymous. Do not force your employees to give names along with ratings or do not disclose ratings of one to another even if you know who it is from. One of the easiest ways is to use a platform that doesn’t capture respondent data, except the rating. Anonymity will help build employee trust and ensure honesty in the rating received

2. Keep it short

Refrain from adding too many questions in your eNPS rating. A maximum of 2-3 questions is more than enough. While most organizations use 1 central or core question, you can supplement it with another one to augment impact. For instance, one question can be about probability to recommend, while the other could be on motivation, inspiration.

3. Make it frequent

Having an eNPS rating at regular intervals is important. Ideally, as a growing organization, you should have a monthly cadence. However, if that seems overwhelming, you can start with a quarterly rating, and gradually increase the frequency. 

4. Use a 10 point rating scale or open ended questions

While a 2 or 5 point rating scale can also capture data, a 10 point scale and open ended questions enable employees to be more specific about their answer by giving them more options to choose from. The deeper your eNPS survey insights are, the more accurate actions you can take to improve your score.

5. Follow up

Just because responding to an eNPS question requires one click, you cannot assume that you’ll receive 100% participation. You must follow up a couple of times. Using employee survey tools to increase survey participation rate can be useful here. For example, SuperBeings sends reminders and follow up nudges at preset intervals via existing chat tools (Slack, Teams, Gchat etc) directly in the flow of work to maximize response rate. 

6. Encourage authentic answers

Finally, you must encourage your employees to be honest in their rating. Anonymity will help you achieve this. Additionally, explain to your employees that the answers will not have an impact on their appraisal and their negative rating will not land them in a backlash. 

eNPS survey questions

As a best practice, you can start your employee NPS survey with a core question and then you could follow it up with a few open ended questions. Your first question must follow a rating pattern to get your employee Net Promoter Score. Some of the questions can be:

  • How likely are you to recommend your organization as a workplace to your friends/ peers?
  • On a scale of 0-10, how inspired do you feel to work at this organization?
  • What is the primary reason for the score you gave?
  • What can the organization do better to get a higher score?
  • What is one reason that is preventing you from recommending the organization to your friends?
  • What is one reason why you enjoy working here?

Here are a few best practices you can use while preparing your follow up questions:

  • Don’t be too vague with your questions
  • Try to keep your questions open ended to get support for your core questions
  • Try to get specific answers with 1 or 2 instances

What is a good employee NPS score?

While it is difficult to pinpoint the exact score which can be considered good, there are a few ways to measure how well your performance has been on eNPS. 

If you look closely, by formula, your score can range from -100 to +100, depending on the ratio of your promoters and detractors. Generally, any positive score, that is, a score above 0 is considered to be a good starting point. This indicates that there are more promoters in your organization than detractors. This translates to the fact that more employees are likely to recommend your organization than those who will not. 

However, only a positive score is not the end of the story. While a positive score represents retention and recommendation, the higher the score, the greater will be propensity and impact.

Use eNPS benchmarks

Furthermore, you must also align your eNPS with other organizations in your industry. For instance, while 60 might be a great score, if all organizations in your industry have an eNPS of 70+, then you may need to relook at your numbers. 

Here, studying industry benchmarks can help. However, eNPS is not a data point that is publicly available that you can consume. 

At the same time, your own eNPS can also be a benchmark for you over time with an aim to increase every time. The idea is to track your own company’s fluctuation, positive or negative, to identify the reasons or interventions behind the same. 

Unlock top engagement survey question templates and advanced employee analytics. See SuperBeings in Action

How to improve employee NPS?

eNPS surveys can disillusion even the most people friendly organizations. It is not rare to have a survey score below expectations. But improving eNPS is easier than you think:

1. Capture eNPS regularly

You must have heard that what gets measured, gets improved. The same is true for eNPS. When you capture employee NPS on a regular basis, you can track fluctuations and gauge whether or not the needle is moving. You can get a real time picture of whether the promoters or the detractors are increasing. Furthermore, the fluctuations can help you identify how specific interventions or regular organizational activities impact eNPS. 

2. Share the results

No matter what the results say, share it with your team members. Even if you have a negative score, share it with the team to facilitate collaborative thinking on what is going wrong. This will help you create an image that you are truly listening to your employees and are taking action. After sharing results, follow up and communicate the next action steps so your employees know that their voices are being heard and impact is being created. 

3. Understand the rationale

To improve eNPS, you need to understand the rationale or the reason behind each rating. Here, you should ask follow up questions to your employees on what contributed to this particular rating. On one hand, it will help you understand the motivation or the inspiration for promoters as well as you will be able to identify what is stopping detractors from recommending the organization to others. 

Put simply, the factors mentioned by promoters can be augmented and focused on, while those from detractors must be addressed or resolved 

4. Take action 

Once you share the results and engage in collective brainstorming, you must take action. 

  • Example 1: If the major reason behind low eNPS is lack of work-life balance, your focus should be on addressing the same, by facilitating workplace boundaries. 
  • Example 2: If lack of career growth is stopping your employees from recommending the companies to others, investing in mentorship, learning and development, career coaching, etc. can be extremely helpful.

5. Communicate with all segments

If you think that you only need to focus on detractors to improve your eNPS, you are mistaken. While you definitely need to pay attention to them, the other two segments, i.e. promoters and passives must not be left attended. 

  • When it comes to detractors, your focus should be on their pain points, how it translates to a poor experience and what you can do to reverse the same. 
  • For promoters, while you may think they are happy, engaged and don’t require any intervention, you must not lose attention on them and focus on keeping their rating high. Furthermore, when you communicate with them, you will be able to get insights for long term strategies. 
  • For passives, focus on understanding what would make their experience within the organization and the role even better and more meaningful.

6. Improve continuously

When it comes to improving your eNPS, there is no stopping point. Just because you improve your eNPS by 20 points, doesn’t mean you have reached the pinnacle, even if you are above the industry average. 

  • While in the first few years of your employees’ lifecycle, you will focus on retention and loyalty by ensuring a positive score,
  • In the later years, your focus should be on making the employees feel inspired, motivated and committed to unleashing high levels of innovation and productivity. 

7. Follow up with more comprehensive feedback

Employee Net Promoter Score must be a part of a more comprehensive employee feedback framework. The idea is to get more qualitative feedback and insights to compliment the score. You can use open-ended survey comments for this purpose. Such feedback will help you understand where the score came from and how you can take steps to move in the right direction. 

8. Understand the passives

Finally, to improve your eNPS, you need to focus on the passives. Based on the formula, you might think that passives have no role to play in eNPS. However, you must understand that they are just one point away from falling in the detractor or the promoter category. Here, your focus should be on moving them up the spectrum. Getting qualitative inputs from them is very important as they have some level of commitment and positive regard towards the organization already. 

How to use employee NPS for better engagement

With eNPS, you can turn employee feedback into a growth strategy both as a business and as an employer. Here’s how:

1. Boosts morale

First, employee NPS boosts the morale of employees who believe that their voice has value and is being heard. It makes employees feel included in the process of building the right culture. Employees who participate in eNPS come with a sense of pride as being a contributor to building the overall experience in the organization. It also comes with a sense of respect when an organization asks the employees for their perception.

2. Understand level of disengagement

Low or negative eNPS is a clear indicator of the level of disengagement. It shares an inverse relationship.

Lower the eNPS, higher will be the disengagement

Obviously, only when employees feel disengaged at work, will they not recommend it to others in their network. This can act as initial information for your organization to create strategic plans to reverse the trend. Furthermore, fluctuations in eNPS can be useful when it comes to sudden disengagement which may not be very apparent, but can lead to mass turnover. 

3. Gauge factors contributing to engagement

A deep dive into the qualitative aspects of eNPS can help you understand the factors contributing to engagement or disengagement. For instance, if a promoter claims that they gave a high score because of the focus on wellness, it becomes clear that wellness programs can augment engagement. Similarly, if the reason for a detractor is high workload, effective distribution can help improve engagement levels. 

Increase employee NPS with SuperBeings

Creating, communicating and analyzing employee surveys can be intimidating and time taking. To conduct eNPS in a comprehensive and hassle free manner, you can partner with SuperBeings. Here’s what you get with our employee engagement survey feature —

  • Built-in survey templates: Reduce the time to create survey questionnaires by using science backed, best practices pre-built survey templates. You can customize them as you need.
  • Choose the most suitable rating scale: You get full flexibility to customize each question by choosing from a wide array of rating scale options — 2, 5, 7 or 10 point scale, multiple choice and open-ended.
  • Filter options for better comparison: For each question you can filter the responses at manager, department or org level and compare them on a single dashboard. Also, you get deeper insights into each question on the Insights tab
  • Use comments for qualitative feedback: Understand the sentiments behind each response by looking into open-ended comments left by participants
This is just the tip of the iceberg of what you can do with our engagement survey tool. At SuperBeings, we are constantly trying to improve the engagement processes and make it easier for the people leaders. 

Need a helping hand? Talk to our product expert. 💡

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Performance
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min read

7 Steps to Effective Performance Management You Need to Know

“Most organizations fail to manage performance effectively because they fail to look into the system holistically.” - Pearl Zhu, Author of Performance Master

The impact of having an effective performance management system goes way beyond hitting quarterly targets, it also facilitates employee development, high levels of retention and a high performance culture. 

Yet sadly, most organizations do not spend nearly as much time and resources into planning and developing a wholesome performance management process as they do chasing goals.

In this article, we break down the components of an efficient performance management system and how you can achieve them in 7 easy steps.

7 tips for effective performance management

We spoke with several HR practitioners and below are the 7 steps they recommend to build a super effective performance management system.

But before that, it’s important to understand that — 

Improving performance is a collective responsibility. And it starts with shifting the mindset around performance — from appraisal to improvement, from annual to continuous. 

As HR leader and author of Nothing About Business says —

“Performance management is so tightly integrated with the business that Business has no option but to do it on its own.” 

1. Adopt a continuous approach

First, you need to start with a continuous approach to make your performance management effective. Simply relying on traditional approaches of annual check-ins, feedbacks and reviews will have limited impact considering the dynamic and volatile market ecosystem. To adopt a continuous approach for effective performance management, you should:

  • Promote regular check-ins and employee pulse surveys
  • Facilitate consistent and dynamic goal setting
  • Foster a culture of constant appreciation and recognition
  • Ensure frequent feedback, evaluation and interventions
  • Set regular cadence to reflect on diverse aspects of performance management

Read our detailed article on Continuous Performance Management to learn more.

2. Capture performance feedback regularly

Next, a major component of strategic performance management is capturing and analyzing performance feedback. You need to ensure that your employees are offered adequate and comprehensive feedback on their performance and areas of development are worked on. 

You can use our Performance Review Phrases template for such performance feedback recommendations.

At the same time, there should be focus on seeking feedback from your employees for self evaluation and to understand what they feel about their work and the organizational culture as a whole. 

Here adopting an employee feedback tool can enable you to find success easily. It can help you to not only capture feedback, but also generate insights and share heatmaps on how certain areas of performance can be improved, which is essential for finding success with your performance management initiatives. 

3. Facilitate meaningful 1:1 conversations

A good performance management goes way beyond just reviews and evaluations on how the performance of an employee has been. You need to equip all your line managers and leaders within the organization to conduct powerful and meaningful 1:1 conversations with their team members. 

The right conversations have the potential to preempt any potential risk of turnover, drop in productivity, low levels of motivation etc.

Once you have been able to identify any potential challenge, you need to ensure that the conversations take a new avatar. The idea is to have conversations that can address the surfacing risks. 

However, conducting directed conversations on different challenges can be overwhelming at times. Therefore, you may want to leverage a guided 1:1/ Meetings tool to train and equip your managers.

4. Identify learning opportunities

Based on the feedback, conversations, reviews, surveys that you conduct, you will have a clear picture of what factors are promoting high performance and which ones are deterrents. The latter ones form the areas of development and learning opportunities. You need to identify these areas of intervention and provide your employees with adequate resources and support to hone the skills and competencies that are needed for effective performance. 

Pulse surveys can be an effective way to gauge employee sentiment on a regular basis. 

Frequent pulse surveys are excellent for understanding how employees feel about their current capabilities vis-a-vis their role and the external support they need.

Ideally, you can also look at industry benchmarks to understand the types of learning opportunities available for different roles and provide them to your employees. 

Thus, to make the most of your performance management, you need to identify and acknowledge the strengths and weaknesses of your organization as a collective measure of your employees and work towards them.

5. Promote coaching and mentoring

While effective performance management requires learning and development interventions, it is equally important to focus on guidance via mentoring and coaching. Your employees need the right mentorship to help them navigate through professional challenges that may not require upskilling but a change in mindset. Here setting up a formal mentorship program can contribute to effective performance management. 

Read: How to use employee coaching to unlock performance

You can also enable your managers to provide the right mentorship and coaching support. You can count on SuperBeings to help you ensure the same. 

  • On one hand, it offers opportunities for manager development with a focus on key leadership competencies that can enable your managers to become better leaders.
  • Additionally, the guided 1:1 conversations act as a mass coaching initiative where gradually your managers will master the art of coaching and mentoring. 

6. Navigate collaborations

Undoubtedly, a key step for effective performance management is to navigate collaborations for different aspects of the employee lifecycle. You need to adopt the right tool to capture employee pulse, feedback, review, facilitate continuous performance improvement and much more. Fortunately, today you can find all these features in a unified solution to relieve yourself from the costs of different tools and the added administrative hassles. 

7. Ensure recognition and reward performance 

The last and the final step for effective performance management is to ensure that you recognize and reward a job well done. This will catalyze a high performance culture by positively reinforcing those who performed well and encouraging others to improve their performance in a bid to achieve rewards and incentives. A few things to keep in mind:

  • Recognize efforts and results
  • Track performance continuously to reward consistency
  • Ensure that recognition translates to rewards, even if it is just an extra day off
  • Encourage career planning and mapping to illustrate recognition

Importance of effective performance management 

Before we finish, let’s quickly discuss the tangible benefits you will get if you have a solid performance management system. This will help you build a stronger case for performance management and secure leadership buy-in.

1. Employee development

Efficient performance management can help you in facilitating the right development opportunities for your employees. Based on a combination of expectations, feedback and conversations, you can enable your team members to grow in their professional journey. This will also facilitate higher retention

94% of employees say they would stay at a company longer if it invested in their learning and development. 

2. Organizational success

Effective performance management has the potential to create an equal impact on organizational success. When the performance of the teams and individuals increases, it will invariably positively impact the organization as a whole. As employee performance becomes better, productivity, quality of work and other related parameters also improve and impact the bottom line. Furthermore, it leads to creation of a high performance culture. Research shows, that good company culture could help you increase revenue by more than four times

3. Strategic allocation

If your organization is growing fast, you may have financial and budget constraints to spend towards employee development and training. 

47% of HR leaders are not aware of employee skill gaps, and 60% of HR leaders say that building new skills and competencies will be their top performance management priority.

An efficient performance management process can help ensure that you are able to allocate your resources to interventions that actually make an impact and eventually monitor, track and measure the return on investment

4. Clarity of expectations

Performance management goes beyond feedback and performance evaluation. In fact, it actually starts with creating a clarity of expectations. 

Most fast growing organizations are chasing multiple priorities and this leads to a confusion among employees on what is expected out of them. In fact, only 50% of employees would “strongly agree” they know what’s expected of them at work. A practical performance management process can help you and your managers create a clear path for employees with a focus on OKRs to ensure everyone is on the same page

5. Better engagement

Finally, performance management sets the stage for greater levels of engagement and a better employee experience. When employees feel valued and believe that you are taking genuine interest in helping them grow, the motivation, morale and commitment is bound to rise. As a result, they will be more engaged at work which will eventually show in their performance, productivity and quality of work. The impact on the bottom line is also phenomenal. 

Companies with a highly engaged workforce are 21% more profitable

Get started with effective performance management

Use the following resources to get started on everything you have learned so far —

And finally, to see how SuperBeings can help, talk to one of our experts today.

OKRs
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Agile and OKRs: What You Need to Know to Thrive in a VUCA World

It is no longer an assumption that the traditional approach to annual goal setting and review has run its course. The VUCA world demands more quick and adaptable business models.

While the agile values and methodology was initially created for software delivery, you can apply the same to transform how you set and achieve your business goals. 

In this article, we will focus on:

  • Relevance of agile and OKRs in the VUCA world
  • Importance of leveraging agile techniques for OKRs
  • Best agile and OKR framework for growing organizations

Why you need to reimagine goal setting in the VUCA world

Traditionally, goal setting has been a very static and long-term process for organizations. Here are a few key components of traditional goal setting and performance management:

  • Annual or multi-year goals with little or no interventions at regular intervals to realign on changing priorities
  • Top-down approach — goals being set by those at the top with minimal inputs from those working on the ground
  • Only annual feedback cycles and the inability to identify or address challenges in real time
  • Lack of flexibility to adapt to changing circumstances or situations, which are uncertain and ambiguous

This form of goal setting and performance management had relevance for organizations operating in steady and stable market conditions. 

However, in today’s VUCA world, the pace of change is skyrocketing and organizations unable to tide with the same are finding it extremely difficult to survive, let alone thrive. 

Some of the reasons to reimagine goal setting for VUCA world include:

  • Increased globalization requires businesses to be agile and adapt to changes at all times
  • Focus on creating short term goals and action plans
  • Need to relook at business priorities due to changing market conditions and customer expectations 
  • Need to incorporate constant feedback from diverse stakeholders
  • Need to focus on collaborative goal setting over top down command

Relevance of agile and OKRs for growing organizations

While it may not be apparent in the first look, agile and OKRs are quite complementary and combining the two can be a great step for growing organizations. Here’s why —

  • OKRs can help you understand the end goal and envision what success will look like. 
  • On the other hand, the agile methodology can enable you to create the right roadmap with frequent experimentation to reach the OKRs successfully. 

Here are a few reasons why you should combine agile and OKRs for your organization:

  • Set shorter goals for each quarter with the flexibility to look at the results in real time
  • Agile iterations based on learning which can be communicated across teams 
  • Shorter feedback cycles which prevent investment losses that might occur if the whole project/ goal has to be reworked
  • Continuous improvement with frequent retrospectives which can enable you to reflect on what is working well
  • Focus on collaborative goal setting and performance management with team autonomy
  • Agile approach to progress tracking

How to use agile techniques for OKRs

Now that it is clear why working agile and OKRs together makes sense for growing organizations, let’s quickly explore the top ways in which you can apply agile techniques to your OKR framework to make goal setting and performance management suitable for the VUCA world. 

Agile Value 1: Individuals and interactions over processes and tools

  • Ensure collaborative OKR setting, assigning OKR champions and the right team members to execute the same
  • Facilitate clear understanding and communication of the intention and expectation behind each OKR and the responsibility for every team member

Agile Value 2: Working software over comprehensive documentation

  • Focus on clear outcomes and key results instead of comprehensive literature on why something is important
  • Facilitate shorter feedback cycles to gauge challenges early on and ensure feasibility of the OKRs
  • Reduce administrative overheads and complex processes related to OKR setting and progress tracking by using a simple, integrated OKR tool

Agile Value 3: Customer collaboration over contract negotiation

  • Ensure continuous development by taking real time feedback from internal customers i.e. stakeholders in the leadership

Agile Value 4: Responding to change over following a plan

  • Facilitate dynamic planning over a static plan with quarterly OKRs
  • Ensure adaptability to change, uncertainty and ambiguity
  • Promote short cadence to gauge achievability and relevance of key results early on

Best agile and OKR framework

In this last section of agile and OKR for better goal setting and performance management, we will uncover the top framework. 

We have combined the best components of different frameworks like waterfall goals, delivery agile, scaling, full stack agile, into a single framework with 5 major components that can help you enhance the complementary potential of agile and OKR 

This approach can help you leverage the benefits of agile methodologies and OKR framework to impact all aspects of organizational structure for achievement of goals, including the culture, strategy, initiatives, tactics, etc. The framework is premised on:

1. Create value based OKRs

  • Focus on creating value based OKRs instead of activity based
  • Activity based OKRs are effective for specific projects, but for organizational goals, the focus should be on value
  • Instead of focusing only on the outcomes, have a clear understanding about how each of the outcomes can create value for the organization
  • The activities for each OKR should be a part of the agile roadmap and not the end destination

If you are struggling with combining agile and OKRs for your organizations, chances are you are focusing on activity based key results which often resemble agile steps, leading to confusion and inability to meet goals. 

2. Facilitate horizontal alignment for shared OKRs

  • Encourage collaborative OKR setting with realistic timelines and short intervals
  • Make OKRs team/ department specific and acknowledge avenues for collaboration and alignment between teams on shared OKRs
  • Acknowledge OKR dependencies between teams and facilitate transparency and horizontal alignment
  • Avoid splitting OKRs for a shared goal between teams, rather create opportunities for working together

For instance, if you have an event coming up and wish to successfully execute the same, the objective will be common, with specific value based key results for each team.

Objective: Successfully execute the 7th edition of our annual event

Key Results

  • Get 1000+ unique registrations
  • Raise INR 20,00,000 in sponsorship
  • Curate 5 high impact panels
  • Get 10+ media and affiliate partners
  • Get 5000+ impressions on social media with organic promotion

If you look closely, while the objective is shared, key results are spread across sales, marketing, and even product/ services teams

3. Combine quality and quantity results

Your agile and OKR framework should enable you to get the best of both worlds when it comes to results. Agile results by nature are qualitative in nature and focus on the features that you wish to ascertain in a specific period of time. On the other hand, OKRs are driven by metrics. Thus, you can use a combination of the two for effective results:

  • Use OKRs to validate goals set using the agile methodology
  • Ensure each key result has a quantitative (data) and qualitative aspect (value)
  • Use a combination of agile and OKRs to ensure that your progress is positively impacting the organization

The combination can help you create an ideal balance between outputs and outcomes which are both critical when it comes to goal achievement and performance management. 

4. Promote use of data

  • Leverage data and evidence to create your agile based OKRs
  • Instead of creating OKR based on leadership opinion alone, validate the same with market study
  • Don’t rely completely on hypothetical representation, undertake primary and secondary research to ensure relevance and perceived achievability

Pro-tip:

Using data and not relying solely on opinions will help you set agile OKRs which don’t under or over estimate the goals. For instance, if the market data on traffic to a new website in your industry is 20,000 clicks in one week, your OKR can focus on reaching 25,000 to make it aspirational but achievable up to 80%. 

However, if you set the target at 50,000 or above, it will become too far fetched and the team might not even strive for it. On the flip side, if the target is only at 10,000, it will not encourage your employees to push the boundaries. Thus, you need to replace opinions and command OKRs with data backed experimentation.

5. Build self organizing teams

  • Provide you teams with a clear idea of what the larger vision looks like
  • Encourage them to set their own OKRs and help with a direction to achieve the same
  • Facilitate team autonomy and empower your team members with the right tools and resources like SuperBeings to not only set OKRs, but also track progress in real time and grade them at the end of the cycle. (Learn more)

Self organizing teams are important for growing organizations as they proactively take onus and ownership of achieving OKRs and lead to a greater degree of success. Step away from controlling detailed plans for each OKR and encourage the leadership to provide direction. 

Wrapping Up

To conclude, if you combine agile and OKR, you have for yourself a clear model for success which you can easily apply to goal setting and performance management. Having the right technology to support your rapidly changing businesses processes is a must for any organization looking to thrive in a VUCA world. With SuperBeings you can:

  • set, track and update goals/ OKRs whenever you need in just one click
  • update goal progress quickly and directly in the flow of work (via Slack, Teams, or other chat tools you already use)
  • have goal based 1:1s and performance check-ins to understand where your employees are stuck
  • align all internal stakeholders with the constantly changing needs of the organization easily
  • and much more

💡If interested, you can talk to one of our product experts to find out if SuperBeings can help you solve your specific challenges. We keep the call short at 15 minutes.

Book a Quick Call
OKRs
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min read

How to Create a High Performance Culture Using OKR Methodology?

Like most fast growing organizations, you might also be leveraging the OKR methodology to set, implement and facilitate effective goal setting to maximize growth. If not, you should start using OKRs ASAP.

OKRs not only provide an excellent goal setting framework but also drive high performance when implemented strategically. Most importantly, with enhanced goal visibility and transparency, OKRs ensure that everyone is on the same page which is the foundation of a cohesive and high performing culture. 

In this article, we will discuss 8 ways in which you can adopt the OKR methodology to build a thriving company culture.

Use OKR methodology in 8 ways

1. Focus and clarity

A high performance and thriving company culture is based on the foundation of clarity and focus. When there are 100 things to focus on, your employees will eventually lose sight of what’s actually important and might feel burdened with non-priority tasks. This will lead to a poor employee experience and limited productivity, both situations that prevent an impactful culture.

However, when you apply the OKR methodology, you will be able to limit your focus on 3-5 top priorities which will attract attention, energy and efforts across the organization. You will then be able to create a high performance culture by dedicating all your resources to the key priorities to realize impact. 

2. Collaboration and alignment

A culture that thrives on collaboration, teamwork and alignment is one which creates maximum impact. The OKR methodology can help achieve this in an effective manner. On one hand, everyone is clear about their role in the OKR achievement, which makes collaboration seamless because everyone is on the same page and no one steps on the shoes of others. 

On the other hand, OKRs can help your employees align their responsibilities and tasks with the overall vision of the organization, motivating them to contribute to the big picture. 

To learn more about how to align teams using OKRs, read this

3. Agility and resilience

Recent times have shown that uncertainty and ambiguity will continue to mark the new normal. Thus, a culture of agility, resilience and responsiveness is critical for fast growing organizations. The OKR methodology can help achieve the same. 

OKRs are cognizant of the changing environment and have the flexibility to be adapted to the same. 

More importantly, you can leverage the OKR methodology to foster a culture that focuses on outcomes and is not fixated on the tasks to achieve the outcome at hand. 

4. Continuous engagement and reflection

One of the top challenges of building a great company culture is a siloed approach and annual reflection. This leads to surfacing of major risks and problems which result in high rates of attrition, absenteeism and lower levels of motivation, productivity, etc. 

However, the OKR methodology adopts an approach of continuous engagement and reflection. You can create a regular cadence to check OKR progress for each of your team members, even daily is effective. 

This continuous engagement and reflection can enable you to preempt risks before they surface and leverage the power of communication to address them in real-time. Invariably, a culture built on continuous engagement leads to greater impact and high levels of performance as well as employee satisfaction. 

5. Transparency 

The lack of transparency is one of the key obstacles for many fast growing organizations that seek to create a thriving company culture. A way out often seems difficult to navigate. Fortunately, the OKR methodology can help address this challenge as well. When you use OKR, especially with the support of an effective OKR tool, you can facilitate high levels of transparency. 

Everyone in the organization will not only know their role, but also will have a complete view of the level of performance for others. Such transparency can help you increase coordination of efforts and give everyone the visibility of what’s happening across the company. 

6. Non-hierarchy

You may agree that most fast growing organizations these days seek to replace a strict hierarchy with a more flat organizational structure that facilitates inclusion of diverse ideas, thoughts and opinions. However, many struggle when it comes to actually implementing this thought. 

Adopting OKRs can solve this problem.

By nature, the OKR methodology is based on a collaborative foundation where a top-down approach compliments a bottom-down approach for goal setting. 

This suggests that while the skeletal structure of the goals might be laid down by those in the top leadership, you can give all employees the freedom and autonomy to create OKRs for their teams and verticals. 

When your employees participate in setting the OKRs they have to execute, the level of ownership is much higher. Thus, you can leverage the OKR methodology to create a thriving culture built on greater ownership and a flat organizational structure. 

7. Open communication and feedback

With a focus on continuous engagement and reflection, the OKR methodology can help you facilitate open communication and feedback. Many studies have shown that a culture that facilitates regular feedback along with open channels of communication is more likely to thrive than one which does not. 

In the OKR methodology, when you constantly track your OKR progress (download our free template for tracking OKRs), you will be armed with data backed insights to offer regular feedback for your employees. Furthermore, you can also leverage the same to start meaningful conversations with your team members in case you feel that there is any kind of disconnect. Such open communication can help you create a truly inclusive culture when employees feel their voice is heard. 

8. Accountability and recognition

Finally, a company culture that thrives has two major components supporting it, accountability and recognition.

  • On one hand, only when your employees are accountable will they give in their 100% to create a high performance culture. 
  • On the other hand, if you don’t recognize the efforts of your employees frequently and in an effective manner, they are bound to feel demotivated with a lack of encouragement, leading to a poor employee experience and culture. 

The OKR methodology is an answer to both these challenges. 

  • First, being regularly reviewed, tracked and organization wide visibility makes accountability a given for fast growing organizations leveraging OKRs. Since everyone knows what the other person is responsible for, there is a development of a culture of accountability. 
  • Second, with regular tracking, monitoring individual progress becomes seamless for managers. Invariably, they can track the performance of their team members and recognize efforts in real time. This leads to a culture of recognition which is bound to see high levels of engagement, motivation and satisfaction. 

Empower your culture with the OKR methodology

Now that you know how the OKR methodology can help you in many ways to create a thriving culture, it is also true that as a fast growing organization with multi-pronged focus, leveraging OKRs is a challenging task. To address the same, you can collaborate with an integrated OKR tool like SuperBeings to automate the OKR adoption and maintenance.

With SuperBeings, you get to — 

  • Keep OKRs at the center of your business activities by aligning everyday tasks 
  • Reduce friction in goal management with zero context switching (by integrating Slack, Teams and Gchat)
  • Stay ahead of risks with a bird's eye view on key OKR status as well as compare progress over time with automated daily OKR tracking
  • Connect OKRs with Meetings tool to automate OKR check-ins and empower managers with data-backed AI driven actionable templates for meaningful conversations

Learn more about the OKR tool here. Otherwise, to see this in action, book a quick call with one of our experts. Also, get all your questions answered on the same. 

See Also

How to Run a Successful OKR Progress Review  

The complete guide to adopting OKRs (PDF)

Master OKRs in just 10 days: Free email course

Performance
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min read

How to Write Negative Employee Reviews (Examples + Templates)

With performance management becoming a critical part of organizational success, giving effective employee reviews is becoming a crucial part of a manager’s responsibilities. While regular employee performance reviews focus on illustrating the strengths and what worked for employees and the organization at large, there needs to be an equal focus on areas of development in case of poor work performance

If you look closely, writing negative employee reviews is often considered to be more difficult because the words need to be chosen very carefully. It needs to have a developmental tone rather than a critical one. 

What are negative employee reviews?

As the term suggests, negative employee reviews are reviews delivered to employees who have underperformed and need to be pulled up to the expected levels. It involves a variety of components which include:

  • Problem statement i.e. an illustration of poor performance, how it has been manifested and its impact on the overall organizational success
  • A clear understanding of the level of performance which is expected
  • A potential way or action items to correct the poor performance and improve

To get actionable ideas of how to deal with poor performance issues at work, read this

Writing and delivering negative employee reviews is very important for any organization that seeks to maintain a high level of employee performance. It is critical to ensure that:

  • Poor performers are aware of their level of underperformance and have a clear picture of what’s expected from them
  • Those who are underperforming get an opportunity to improve or face the consequences of consistently performing poorly
  • Underperformers are given the right support and guidance to improve their work and efforts to meet the expectations

Why should you be cautious of your words?

When you are writing negative employee performance reviews, you need to be extremely cautious of the words you choose. Using the right words will help the receiver acknowledge and work on the suggested points, while using words that are too harsh or critical can lead to adverse consequences. There are a few reasons which make the choice of words extremely important. 

  • The right words can help negative employee reviews focus on the developmental aspects and the impact of poor performance on the organization, rather than criticizing the person in general
  • They can help ensure that the job and the performance are the focus of the employee reviews and not the character or the personality of the person
  • Being cautious also ensures that the negative employee reviews don’t have a negative impact on the mental and emotional wellbeing of the employee and are taken in a constructive spirit.

The same review when offered with the right words can be more powerful and have a larger influence. 

For instance a statement like ‘you interfere too much in the work of others’ can be seen as a personal attack and may yield a defensive response from the receiver. 

However if you frame it in a different manner like ‘if you give others greater autonomy and freedom to work in their own way, you will be able to inspire greater creativity and innovation’, you will be able to put your message across and also help your employees understand how it will make a difference. 

Download: Free guided 1:1 meetings template to get personalized meeting recommendations

Tips for writing negative employee reviews 

In addition to being cautious of the words you use, there are a few other tips which you must keep in mind while writing negative performance reviews, including:

1. Keep it crisp and structured

While giving negative reviews is difficult, don’t beat around the bush and get straight to the point. However, instead of directly saying what isn’t going well, try adopting the sandwich approach. Start with a positive comment, add areas of improvement and end it with some suggestions and action items. 

Example: Tina has an excellent eye for detail and is very dedicated to her work. However, she often misses the deadlines which has led to a delay in 30% of her projects resulting in poor client experience. It would help her performance greatly, if she is able to prioritize her work better and keep an organized calendar for timely delivery. She can consider using the latest project management tools to facilitate better prioritization. 

2. Don’t get personal

Second, negative employee reviews should focus on the job or the role and not the person specifically. Steer away from using words or phrases which may end up combining performance and personality of the person. Your review should be specific towards performance challenges and not generalize that performance challenge is a personality trait.

Example: Instead of saying, “you are not punctual”, you can say that “I have seen you arrive late for meetings frequently, leaving shorter time for discussions. It would be best if you could be more punctual to respect others' time and make the most effective use of the same.”

3. Focus on progress

When you are writing negative performance reviews, you must focus on the progress and how a change in behavior and attitude can help them in the long run. Simply mentioning what went wrong and the associated process might lead to demotivation. 

Example: Some of your work has had grammatical errors in the past, maybe because you were trying to complete a lot at once. I am sure if you prioritize some tasks and create an action plan, your work quality will be better. 

4. Offer facts

Don’t simply give negative employee reviews about the problem area, but back it up with facts and data points. This will help you illustrate a pattern and establish that your review is not based on a single incident. Also, it will make your review more credible and authentic and not just a few words strung together. This will also help you in being very specific.  

Example: It has been observed that 40% of your customers claim that you don’t have adequate knowledge of your product, leading to a poor experience. 

5. Give examples

There might be some performance parameters which are difficult to add quantitative data points to. In such cases, you can offer specific examples of underperformance, especially if it has been repetitive. It is ideal to have at least 2-3 instances of poor performance to make your point stronger. 

Example: It has been noticed that in the aspiration to get your work perfect, you end up delaying projects. It was observed in project X with client A, project Y with client B as well as when the internal submission for Z was due. 

Pro-tip: Use our free Performance Review Phrases template to get 50+ examples of writing a negative review positively

How to deliver a poor performance review?

Once you write the negative employee reviews, you exactly know what you want to say to your employees. However, the way you deliver it also has a big impact on how it is received. To make the process simple, we have compiled a list of some of the best practices to help you deliver a poor performance review in the best way possible:

1. Connect in person

If you are delivering a negative performance review, it is best to do it in person, or if your team is remote, over a video call. If you deliver it over an email, you cannot be sure of the tone and context in which your words will be read. 

It might backfire by being read as more critical than developmental as per the intent. Furthermore, when you are delivering the negative reviews face to face, you can also use your gestures and body language to facilitate authenticity and empathy. 

2. Steer away from yelling

No matter how poor the performance has been, when you are delivering negative employee reviews, you should stay away from yelling or using foul language. Since the focus is on facilitating development for your employee, yelling will only defeat the purpose, making the employee demotivated and pushing them towards even lower levels of confidence and motivation. Furthermore, it will negatively impact your organization from an employer brand perspective. It can also create a negative impact on the wellbeing of your employees. 

3. Add anecdotes 

While delivering the review, you may want to add some personal stories or anecdotes if you have yourself been through something on those lines. This will help you connect better with your employees and make them trust you more. Furthermore, it can enable you to illustrate how they can turn poor performance into something better with a live example in front of them. 

4. Make it a dialogue

Your negative review shouldn’t be a monologue where you deliver what you have written with the employee absorbing it as a passive recipient. Instead, make it a dialogue by putting forward questions to understand the reasons behind poor performance and how you and the organization as a whole can help turn the table. Hearing their side of the story is extremely important before deciding on the next steps. 

4. Create a safe environment

When you are delivering negative employee reviews, you need to create a safe environment. It should not be harsh and the employee should feel comfortable in receiving what you have to offer. Also, make sure you deliver the review privately and not publicly shame your employee. They should see it as a developmental conversation in a safe environment, where they can also voice their opinions. 

5. Make it regular

Finally, negative employee reviews need to be regular and not come as a surprise to your employees at the end of the year. Regular reviews will give your employees enough room to improve their performance. Furthermore, it will give them a clear picture of what to expect when the year closes. 

To learn how SuperBeings can help you have guided conversations around negative performance review with AI recommendations based on performance and goals history as well as maintain a steady cadence to maximize the impact of such conversations, see this

Offer suggestions and follow up

After you have delivered the negative reviews to employees, the natural next step is to create a plan for improvement to help your employees reach the level of performance you expect out of them. This is a critical part of the performance management and talent development process for employees who have been consistently underperforming. Here are a few ways you can help your employees improve their performance.

1. Create action items collaboratively

If you have reached this level of negative employee reviews, you and your employee would be on the same page about their level of performance. Thus, it is best to create a list of action items that can help them improve their performance. To create the next steps, you must:

  • Ensure the steps are specific and not generic which only state the objective
  • Create steps which are aspirational, but achievable at the same time
  • Ascertain that there is an intended result for each decided step
  • Collaborate and brainstorm with your employee to create action items which are agreed upon by both
  • Align timelines and other factors to achieve success

2. Document the next steps

Next, your focus should not only be on planning the action items, but documenting them as well, because once they are out of sight, they’ll be out of mind. Furthermore, documenting them will help you remember the agreed steps and track progress every now and then. 

Clearly document what needs to be achieved, by when and how. It can be a good idea to encourage your team members to constantly document their experience as well to help discuss what has been working well and what needs to improve. 

3. Draft a Performance Improvement Plan (PiP) if needed

Depending on the performance issue, you may want to introduce a performance improvement plan for your employee. It is a formal tool to address performance challenges which outlines specific goals and expectations along with clear actions that need to be undertaken over a duration of 30-90 days.

For more details on PIP, check out A guide to implementing a performance improvement plan (PIP)

4. Set up a cadence

You also must set up a cadence to discuss performance improvements or challenges once the next steps are agreed upon. Unless you connect regularly to discuss the status, you might find yourself at square one at the end of the next performance review period as well. 

Depending on what needs to be achieved, you can set a weekly, fortnightly or monthly cadence to connect with your poor performers. While it may be seen as a regular review, it will also act as a reinforcer for them to ensure there is some improvement everytime the cadence to meet comes up. 

5. Define metrics

When you are determining the next steps, it is important to identify the associated metrics as well. For instance, if you want your employee to become more detail oriented, your metric can focus on reduction in errors by a specific percentage over a specific duration of time. 

The metrics will help you measure whether or not there has been an improvement in the performance as desired or not. At the same time, the metrics will help your employee move towards a specific goal. 

6. Follow up

While you have a set cadence, you may also want to check-in or follow up from time to time to make your employee comfortable enough to reach out to you in between your cadence for connecting. The follow ups can be over emails or calls or simple messages to check if everything is on track and to offer them any support whichever is needed. Especially in the beginning, you may need to check from time to time in case there’s any additional support that the employee needs to work on the action items. 

7. Evaluate progress

Finally, to ensure that your negative employee reviews translate to impact, you must focus on evaluating progress. Use the metrics you defined to gauge the level of progress and document it whenever you evaluate the same. This will help you establish a trend over time. 

Furthermore, if you feel the progress is below expectations, try to understand the rationale behind the same to check if putting the employee on a performance improvement plan will make more sense. 

Wrapping Up

By now, you must have gained a clear understanding of how to write, deliver and follow up on negative employee performance reviews constructively. If you are keen to learn how best to connect negative performance issues with regular 1:1 meetings with your team members with technology, book a quick demo with one of our executives. We would love to show you around :)

See Also

How to use Start Stop Continue feedback framework for high performance

10 performance review tips for managers that actually work

How to use employee coaching to unlock performance

Engagement
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x
min read

20 Great Employee Retention Strategies That Actually Work

“Start the retention process when the person is still open to staying, not after they’ve already told you they’re leaving.” -Jeff Weiner, Executive Chairman, LinkedIn

Employee retention is increasingly becoming a top priority for growing organizations across the globe. With talent becoming the greatest asset and great resignation becoming a reality in the VUCA world, organizations can no longer afford employee attrition if they seek to scale and sustain business growth, making employee retention strategies a critical part of organizational goals.

In this article, we will discuss:

  • Reasons why employees leave focusing on alarming data points
  • What factors contribute to employee retention
  • Top 20 strategies for employee retention

Why employee leave: Top 5 reasons

Before jumping on to the top employee retention strategies for growing organizations, let’s quickly understand why employees leave. These reasons will eventually become the basis for writing your employee retention plan:

1. Work relationships

Employees tend to leave when they don’t have healthy working relationships with their bosses and coworkers. We have often heard the employees don’t quit jobs, they quit managers. Thus, the lack of an empowering, feedback oriented relationship with clear communication with the manager as well as coworkers pushes employees looking for a way out.

2. Lack of appreciation

When employees don’t receive due credit and appreciation for their work and contribution, they crave validation. They are unable to see their value add for the organization, which impacts their engagement and commitment, leading to employees leaving.

3. Limited development opportunities

As a part of their job, employees expect opportunities for growth in their career with learning and development interventions in the form of training as well as greater responsibility. However, in the absence of growth opportunities, employees feel they are stagnant and leave an organization.

4. Lack of flexibility and autonomy

In the VUCA world, employees leave organizations that have a very rigid structure with little or no flexibility and autonomy. If your organization is unable to address flexible work expectations, including remote work and provide space and autonomy to employees to unleash the creativity in them, you are likely to see higher levels of turnover.

5. Low levels of engagement and management 

Finally, when employees are unhappy with the engagement and performance management efforts, they are likely to leave an organization. In the absence of a sense of belongingness, employees lose the motivation to work, which results in attrition. 

10 shocking statistics for employee retention

Here’s a quick snapshot of the current employee retention and attrition landscape across a diverse workforce. These statistics clearly indicate the need for carefully planned and diligently executed employee retention strategies. 

  1. The average employee exit costs 16% to 213% of their annual salary depending on their pay (Source)
  2. 1 in 3 professionals cite boredom as their main reason to leave their jobs (Source)
  3. 3 in 4 current workers are actively thinking of leaving their jobs (Source)
  4. 70% of staff members would leave their current organizations for a job with one known for investing in employee development and learning (Source)
  5. 76% millennials would leave their jobs if they’re unappreciated (Source)
  6. Companies that provide the option for remote work have 25% lower employee turnover (Source)
  7. 54% of Gen Zs, respectively, are thinking about quitting their job (Source)
  8. 70% of millennials have considered leaving a job, to one boasting flexible work options (Source)
  9. 79% employees consider bad leadership as a factor in deciding to quit (Source)
  10. 16% of Gen Z and Millennial employees have quit a job because they felt the technology provided by their employer was inadequate (Source)

5 reasons that make employees stay with an organization

Based on our experience of working with growing organizations as well as years of research expertise, we have been able to identify 5 factors or reasons which encourage employees to stay with an organization. In your attempt to reduce employee turnover, you can capitalize on these factors to build your employee retention strategies. 

1. Employee centric engagement and performance management

Employees tend to stay with an organization when they feel they belong there. Therefore, high levels of engagement and commitment to the organization is one major reason that employees stay. Furthermore, continuous performance management with an employee focus, addressing their development needs and ensuring their growth is what will encourage them to stay. 

2. Growth oriented culture with employee participation

Taking cue from growth above, employees stay with organizations which have a positive and growth oriented and empowering culture. Opportunities for mentorship, coaching, leadership development as well as high levels of employee participation are critical. This suggests a major reason for employees to stay is because they feel they are heard, valued and included in all or most organizational decisions. Be it setting of OKRs or creating a new business plan, employee participation, feedback and gauging their pulse is important. 

3. Focus on appreciation and recognition

Employees will be more sticky and loyal to an organization where their efforts are appreciated and recognized. As a part of human nature, they will stay longer with an organization that gives them credit along with appropriate rewards for their contribution. On one hand, employees feel valued. On the other hand, it brings a sense of credibility and pride for employees, both of which contribute to a longer tenure. 

Read: Best practices for employee recognition to learn how to create a culture of recognition

4. Alignment with purpose and values

Your workforce will stay longer if it aligns with your purpose and values. Since each person has a particular vision and goals for their professional and personal growth, unless they align with what your organization stands for, retention for a long period becomes difficult. Similarly, if your organizational values align with what your employees believe, they will stay with you for longer.

5. Meaningful work 

Finally, employees stay when they feel their work is meaningful, purpose driven and is able to create an impact. Here, getting the opportunity to work on challenging tasks as well as work that is satisfying makes a difference. When people see results because of what they are doing, they are bound to stay longer. 

20 top employee retention strategies you must know

Now that we have an understanding of why employees leave and some reasons of what can make them stay, let’s take a look at the top 20 employee retention strategies that you can implement to reduce turnover significantly. 

1. Make recruitment effective

Provide employees with a clear and realistic picture of what working at your organization will look like. Don’t paint unrealistic pictures as a tool to attract employees with stark different on-ground realities.

  • Be clear on what you need
  • Revisit your job descriptions
  • Look at the right places
  • Try to seek referrals

2. Focus on smooth onboarding

Provide adequate support to your employees during the onboarding process. Help them socialize with their team members, encourage them to reach out to you for anything without hesitance, and create a resource document for information they might need. Having a buddy program along with an engaging induction can be useful.

  • Follow a structured process
  • Be realistic with the new joinee and don’t promise the moon
  • Explain any internal codes or acronyms that you use
  • Make connections for initial days

3. Facilitate regular check-ins in the first few months

Connect with new employees every few days to understand how things are going for them and whether they need any additional support. Make it a practice with clear objectives and questions for each check-in.

Download our 1:1 meeting’s template for managers to run smooth check-ins with new joinees

4. Promote right training and development

Facilitate learning and development opportunities based on the specific requirements for each employee. Help them chart out a career growth plan and customize learning opportunities based on it. 

  • Undertake surveys to identify training needs
  • Use performance snapshots to understand performance trends over years
  • Invest in both hard and soft skills development

5. Ensure manager development

Focus on developing the right leadership skills for your managers when it comes to engaging with their team members. Development on providing feedback, mentorship, conducting 1-o-1 conversations, leveraging employee insights should be undertaken. 

  • Focus on coaching and leadership training
  • Invest in tools that offer guided templates
  • Promote skills of delegation, recognition and appreciation

6. Provide adequate feedback

Ensure a steady stream of constructive feedback goes to each employee. Use feedback as a tool to facilitate better performance and reduce feedback anxiety by using it appropriately. 

7. Get compensation and benefits right

Reassess your compensations and benefits strategy. Align it with market standards and offer the right benefits to your employees for the value they add to your organization. Consider market correction for specific roles, if needed. 

  • Don’t focus only on year-on-year increments
  • Provide rewards and incentives on the go
  • Gauge the benefits your employees demand

8. Encourage high levels of engagement

Facilitate employee engagement by focusing on diverse initiatives including work management, appreciation, meaningful work, etc. Here’s a full list of employee engagement activities for you to try. 

9. Create a culture of acknowledgment

Celebrate all milestones for your employees, whether big or small. Ensure that even efforts are celebrated and acknowledged with public/private appreciation. 

  • Create a monthly appreciation day
  • Have social media shout outs for top performers
  • Recognize in real time with small gestures or goodies

10. Focus on rewards and recognition

Relook at your rewards and recognition strategy. Create a compelling rewards program to facilitate new ideas and greater participation which will result in higher engagement and retention. 

11. Promote work-life balance

Give employees adequate time to focus on their personal and family life. Set clear boundaries and respect them. 

  • Provide compulsory time off 
  • Offer benefits like maternity and paternity leaves, etc. 
  • Offer flexible and remote working

12. Prioritize employee health and wellbeing

Make health and wellbeing a priority. Offer both tangible and intangible support. On one hand, have proper insurance and professionals on board to provide immediate support. On the other hand, eliminate instances of burn out or being overworked by ensuring fair delegation of work and hiring according to need. 

  • Facilitate wellness sessions
  • Offer monetary support for any health and wellness requirement
  • Boost physical wellbeing 

13. Provide a growth ecosystem

Offer the right ecosystem of mentors, coaches and leaders who not only help your employees perform well in their tasks and goals, but also enable them to grow professionally. Help them navigate the personal and professional challenges with adequate resources and formal programs.

14. Increase employee participation

Encourage employee participation across all avenues. Involve them in setting OKRs and goals as well as in other organizational initiatives. Make them a part of decision making wherever possible. 

  • Engage employees in most discussions
  • Involve them in goal setting as well as performance reviews
  • Offer incentives for participation 

15. Gauge employee pulse

Ensure that employee sentiments and opinions are captured, analyzed and reflected upon on a regular basis. Send out pulse surveys frequently to gauge employee feedback on different aspects of their experience and preempt attrition risks to address them.

16. Reinvent performance management

Focus on knowing the strengths of all your team members and delegating work accordingly. Facilitate effective 1-o-1 conversations on different aspects of performance and track performance over time. (Get more insights on all things performance, here)

17. Promote collaboration and co-creation

Create opportunities for teamwork, collaboration and co-creation. Encourage employees to create a network with their colleagues to foster strong workplace relationships to promote greater belongingness and a positive culture. 

  • Create cross-functional teams for certain projects
  • Create a buddy program in the beginning
  • Promote cross-team mentorship programs

18. Ensure clarity in communication

Make clear communication across all aspects a priority. Right from communicating values and vision to daily tasks and goals, ensure that there is no misunderstanding of expectation mismatch to prevent dissatisfaction in the end. 

19. Foster respect, fairness and transparency

Ensure that there is respect, fairness and transparency across all levels of the organization. Don’t let your employees feel that they are treated differently or are subjected to any form of bias. Practice fairness in rewards, recognition, appraisals and promotions and be transparent about all such processes. 

20. Leverage technology across all aspects

Focus on capitalizing tools like SuperBeings to get real time insights into key drivers that impact engagement and hence attrition. Leverage automation and the power of artificial intelligence to create heatmaps and identify areas for intervention to reduce attrition preemptively. 

To see how SuperBeings can help you solve your specific issue in just 15 minutes, book a quick call with one of our experts.

OKRs
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x
min read

How to Write Great Company OKRs: A CEO’s Guide

We have talked about OKRs and their importance for different teams as well as individuals. However, an equally important theme that needs due attention includes company OKRs. For a moment, you might think that different team OKRs together are what will form company OKRs. While this is true, however, you will not get a complete and impactful picture this way. Therefore, you need to specifically focus on company OKRs or high level OKRs which will be overarching for anyone who is a part of your organization.

Setting company OKRs: Why and how

Let’s start by answering one of the first questions you are likely to have, why should you be setting high level/ company OKRs. Well, have you ever felt that a lot was discussed during a business strategy or brainstorming session, but when the final tasks and outcomes came to you, it wasn’t even close to what you discussed? If the answer is yes, it’s mostly because the discussion got left on the whiteboard. Setting company OKRs wisely can help prevent exactly that. Here’s what company OKRs can help you achieve:

  • Ensure that everyone is rowing in the same direction: Without company OKRs, different departments might push diverse agenda in different directions, leading to chaos in the organization
  • Communicate the organizational priorities actively: Ensure that everyone understands what is of priority to the organization at that moment
  • Prevent out of sight out of mind syndrome: Ensure that what is discussed is actioned, implemented and driven to results 

Once you and your team are aligned on the need for company OKRs, it is important to follow an effective process to set them. The following steps/ practices will guide your journey and answer the question of how to set company OKRs:

  • Understand needs and priorities at the organization level, across diverse domains, including, business, finance, marketing, human resources, etc.
  • Create a collaborative group with representation from all teams to ensure no voice gets left behind
  • Develop a guide of sorts to help everyone understand the importance and purpose of company OKRs
  • Substantiate each objective with 2-3 key results as well as initiatives or projects to achieve the same

How to turn business strategy into measurable metrics with company OKRs?

Your business strategy is generally an overarching statement or goal that you aspire to reach. However, by its nature, business strategy talks about the actions and steps you need to take to reach that goal, but seldom talks about associated metrics which will signify whether or not you have been able to achieve the goal. Company OKRs can help bridge this gap. This can be used as a tool to translate your business strategy into measurable metrics that can help create clarity for results. 

For instance, as a part of increasing customer lifetime value, your business strategy can be to improve customer experience by reducing complaint resolution time, better responses, etc. However, if you add a layer of OKRs to this business strategy, you will get measurable metrics to translate your strategy into results. Here, key results such as increasing customer NPS by 20% or recurring customers by 45% can be used as metrics as a part of company OKRs.

How to prioritize company OKRs?

With a wide array of goals to achieve, you are likely to come across conflicting OKRs when you try to set company OKRs. You will find yourself wondering which ones to choose over others. While each one of them has its merit, trying to boil the ocean by implementing all of them together will not yield any impact. It will only result in you being too stretched for resources with little or no progress. 

Hence, it is very important that you prioritize company OKRs based on the follow parameters, especially if you are setting company OKRs for the first time:

  • Impact on the bottom line: If an OKR has a direct impact on the profit/revenue of your organization and that is a business need, you need to prioritize it up front
  • Ease of implementation and achievement: Some company OKRs can be easier to implement than others, you can start with a couple of those to facilitate initial wins and promote team confidence and morale
  • Degree of interdependencies: As company OKRs, they will likely require collaboration between different teams, starting with OKRs which do not require a very high degree of interdependency can help set the path for others
  • Level of acceptance: Finally, some company OKRs will be accepted more easily by everyone in the team than others, it’s best to commence with them to secure organization-wide buy-in

Company OKR planning

Before you start putting down the OKRs on paper and implementing them, you need to have a series of company OKR planning and brainstorming sessions. Company OKR planning will help you in not only writing great and effective OKRs but also facilitate smooth implementation. Below are some questions you need to answer as you plan your company OKRs:

Question 1: Who will be a part of the OKR process?

Your company OKR planning should begin with deciding who will be a part of the entire process which starts from planning and ends with evaluation and realignment, thus, bringing the circle back to planning. Ideally, if you have several departments within the team, it is best to have at least one representative from the team to be a part of the OKR planning. Generally, senior leaders who have both functional understanding and institutional knowledge about the organization are ideal for being a part of the company OKR planning process. Once you have the initial planning committee in place, you can start by considering the following parameters for effective planning and implementation:

Question 2: Who will be the OKR champions or OKR masters?

During company OKR planning, you need to decide who will be the OKR masters or who will ensure that once put on paper, the OKRs don’t end up as a part of yet another folder that doesn’t see the light of day. OKR champions can be the same professionals who are a part of the planning committee or can be selected based on consensus. Ultimately, the OKR masters will be responsible to ensure progress for each key result. Adoption of tools, regular stand ups, etc. can help OKR champions track progress. 

Question 3: How will the OKRs be decided?

As they are expected to impact the entire organization, company OKRs are best set by the CEO. However, in most cases, the overarching objective will have key results that will be dependent on different departments. For instance, if the objective is to increase revenue, there will be a key result for the sales team, one will be there for marketing to help build a pipeline for sales and similarly, for product and design to innovate and create better products that either cost less or sell more. Thus, during the company OKR planning phase, it is best to get opinions from everyone to prevent a disconnect later and ensure ambitious but realistic key results. 

Question 4: How will the OKRs be cascaded across the organization?

The next important consideration for company OKRs is how they will be cascaded or trickled down across the organization. While the focus of cascading will be in a top-down manner, considering the company OKRs are set by the top leadership, it is important to ensure that they are not perceived as orders or performance review parameters for employees. Therefore, cascading of the OKRs should happen in a manner that while everyone in the organization is aware of what the company OKRs are, they are not burdened or limited by achieving only those as a part of their performance. 

Question 5: How will you ensure team alignment on the company OKRs?

Unless different teams are aligned on what the company OKRs advocate, it will be very difficult to ensure achievement of results. Again, the goal here is to not achieve alignment by means of force or order but to facilitate genuine acceptance and alignment with what has been set as company OKRs. Here, the OKR masters for each team will have a key role to play. We will discuss more about this in the following sections. You can also check our exclusive article on how to align teams using OKRs.

Question 6: How will you communicate OKRs to the teams?

A linked idea that arises from cascading of company OKRs as a part of OKR planning is communicating the same. Here, the idea is to ensure that everyone has the same idea of what the OKR seeks to achieve and don’t have differing views of what is expected. Therefore, the communication needs to be extremely clear. Thus, when you are in the OKR planning phase, you need to build a robust communication strategy to ensure everyone gets the same and right message about the company OKRs. You can follow some of the steps mentioned in the sections below to create an effective strategy. 

Question 7: What will be the cadence for company OKR review?

Finally, during OKR planning, you also need to set a cadence for subsequent meetings/ sessions that you will conduct to ensure the efficacy of the set company OKRs. One of the most important ones here is to set a cadence for OKR review and evaluation of progress. Here, you need to collaboratively decide on how often or frequently you would like to connect to gauge the level of progress for each OKR and discuss any challenges, opportunities, etc. that may have come to your notice. Furthermore, you will need to decide how often you want to create new OKRs and relook at the old ones. 

How to drive company OKR adoption within teams?

Picture yourself in a situation where you have set forward-looking and aspirational company OKRs which have the potential to take your organization to the next level of growth. However, your team members refuse to accept and adopt them. What do you do? 

To avoid landing yourself in such a situation, it is important to have an effective process in place that will help you drive company OKR adoption within team members. Here are a few ways you can achieve the same:

1. Ensure team representation

Make sure at least one member of each team is a part of company OKRs planning and writing. This will facilitate a feeling of engagement, belongingness and ownership, leading to greater acceptance and adoption. 

2. Have an OKR discussion with the team

Once you have set the company OKRs, as the CEO, have a discussion with each team not only to share what the OKRs are, but also the rationale behind each one and the potential impact on the organization as well as the individual. 

3. Give freedom and autonomy

At a strategic level, you may set broad company OKRs that involve every team. However, you should try to focus on just setting the objective/key result for the team and not how to achieve the same. Give team members the freedom to innovate ways in which they want to achieve it. It will lead to greater relatability with the OKR resulting in higher adoption.

4. Encourage them to set their own OKRs

Finally, while you set the company OKRs, encourage teams to set their own OKRs which align with the high level ones. Again, this freedom to set their own OKRs will encourage them to adopt the company OKRs even more deeply.  

OKR communication strategies

An important part of implementing company OKRs is to communicate them to everyone across the organization in the most effective manner. However, one time communication will not be enough. Ensure sufficient follow through. Here are a few tips to start your company OKR communication:

  • Host an open house where you, as the CEO, will share the company OKRs
  • Add the OKRs to spreadsheets or preferably an OKR tool that can help everyone see not only the OKRs, but also deadlines, progress tracking, etc.
  • Make OKR communication a part of your onboarding process
  • Conduct frequent meetings in smaller groups to share progress on company OKRs and reinforce them 
  • Seek feedback on the OKRs in closed groups and pay heed to the same
  • Encourage managers and team leads to communicate OKRs on a regular basis

Top 5 company OKR examples

Let’s quickly glance at some of the top examples of company OKRs that you can take reference from to set OKRs for your organization. 

Objective 1: Achieve high revenue 

  • Key result 1: Increase overall sales by 25%
  • Key result 2: Reduce production cost by 5%
  • Key result 3: Expand presence by establishing operations in 2 global centers

Objective 2: Create an engaging work culture

  • Key result 1: Reduce absenteeism by 20%
  • Key result 2: Bring voluntary turnover rate to 5%
  • Key result 3: Achieve e-NPS score of 9 or above

Objective 3: Augment customer experience

  • Key result 1: Increase customer stickiness by 25%
  • Key result 2: Increase customer lifetime value by 30%
  • Key result 3: Achieve NPS of 8 or higher

Objective 4: Raise funds for the next stage of growth

  • Key result 1: Convert at least 35% first meetings with VCs to second meetings
  • Key result 2: Secure a reinvestment of xx from old investors
  • Key result 3: Secure yy from new investors in the next 6 months

Objective 5: Create a better company culture

  • Key result 1: Increase employee satisfaction by 35%
  • Key result 2: Acknowledge and appreciate work and effort at least once every month
  • Key result 3: Conduct open houses with senior leadership once a quarter 

Final Thoughts

Are you looking to automate all the processes we mentioned above? An Excel sheet will only get you so far. Using an OKR software will not only help you set, cascade, and communicate your company OKRs, but will also help you keep track of day-to-day progress on each of them across the organization with just a few clicks. 

 If you have got 15 minutes, see all these in action on this quick call with one of our experts. It will be worth your time, we promise!

Suggested Readings

Learn from the CEO: How Chargebee built a $3 billion SaaS unicorn with their efficient PMS

Should your business invest in OKR software: Calculate the ROI

Performance
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How to choose the right performance rating scale 101

When it comes to performance review, there are several aspects you need to focus on, including when to conduct, how to conduct, etc. One important aspect that deserves due recognition is the use of performance rating scales. There are schools of thoughts on both sides of the discussion on using vs not using it. However, if used strategically, a performance rating scale can effectively make the employee performance review process smoother. Through this article we will cover:

  • When to/ when not to use a performance rating scale
  • How to select the right employee rating scale for your organization
  • Common pitfalls of using a rating scale to be aware of
  • Top performance rating scale questions you must use

Performance rating scale: Top use cases

While preparing your organization for a performance review, you might find yourself conflicted about whether or not you should use a rating scale. A performance rating scale is highly effective in gauging an employee’s performance from a quantitative perspective, but has limited scope when it comes to evaluating performance qualitatively. 

Therefore, we have identified the top situations and advantages of using a performance rating scale as well as when you should not be using them.

When to use a performance rating scale

You should use a performance rating scale when you need to:

  • Capture quantitative evaluation of the performance to study trends over time
  • Compare performance of two or more employee on similar parameters
  • Focus on a particular behavior or attribute of performance and don’t want the respondents to digress
  • Gauge concrete data points on performance to decide on appraisals and increments
  • Eliminate the ambiguity from interpretation of subjective responses
  • Get quick responses to your performance feedback

Advantages of a performance rating scale

Based on the use case above, here are a few advantages of using a performance rating scale:

  • Quantitative performance analysis which is easy to comprehend
  • Clear alignment of performance and compensation, leading to reinforcement of high performance
  • Ability to gauge a shared understanding of performance expectations and achievements
  • Ability to clearly identify areas of improvement and strengths

When not to use a performance rating scale

Despite the diverse use cases above, a performance rating scale doesn’t have universal applicability. In fact, using a rating scale in situations it doesn’t fit may lead to a poor performance review for employees. Therefore, you should refrain from using a performance rating scale when:

  • The job roles and responsibilities between employees are not consistent and cannot be compared
  • The role is relatively new and the expectations from performance are ambiguous
  • You want to personally evaluate the performance of each employee
  • You need a detailed report on the developmental areas and remedial actions for an employee
  • You want to offer constructive feedback on the way forward for performance improvement

Disadvantages of a performance rating scale

Here are a few disadvantages of using a performance rating scale:

  • The objective responses might be interpreted differently by different raters based on inherent biases (keep reading to learn more about these biases and how to avoid them)
  • Managers may over/under rate an employee based on few perceptions
  • Performance ratings might label a person without enough context, leading to low motivation and other challenges
  • Focus shifts from development in performance to rationale behind the rating
  • Getting a good rating becomes important over performing well

Types of performance rating scales

Depending on the nature of responses to the scope and intent, there are several types of performance rating scales that you can choose from. Focusing solely on performance, in this section,  we will discuss the top 4 types for rating scales that you can use for different situations. 

1. The Point Scale

The point scale is one of the most commonly used employee rating scales used by organizations. It involves rating employee performance on a pre-decided scale across a spectrum of responses. It can range from a 3-point scale to a 10-point scale depending on the scope and the need

For a long time, the 5-point scale was the one that most organizations relied upon. While the 3-point scale gave only a macro level view, the 10-point performance rating scale became too comprehensive. Thus, the 5-point scale maintained a balance of being detailed but not overwhelming, where identifying differences between the points was difficult. 

The points on your point scale can be numbers or numerals with each number having a corresponding meaning. Alternatively, it could be words like Average, Above Average, Exceptional, etc. to indicate performance levels. 

In the most recent times, there has been a rise of the 4-point scale which focuses on eliminating the neutral or the middle option which is often seen as an easy way out that requires no further explanation. 

4-point scale example

4 point rating scale

2. The Likert Scale

Another common performance rating scale that many organizations use is the Likert scale. Like the point scale, it generally has 5 parameters on the scale. However, the difference lies in the value of the parameters. They are always written and the same for all questions. 

The five options on the Likert scale include

Strongly Disagree-Disagree-Neither Agree Nor Disagree-Agree-Strongly Agree

While the normal range is five options, it can range from 3 to 7 depending on the context and performance parameters. 

The Likert scale can be used as a matrix with statements on one side and the scale options on the other and can run like a list for performance review. An effective Likert rating scale generally has an equal number of positive and negative outcomes with a neutral option in between. 

Likert scale example

likert scale for performance review

3. A scale to improve above average spread

This is a reinvention of the point scale which changes the balance of the positive versus the negative options. Generally, a point scale has an equal number of options that indicate that performance needs improvement and for a job well done. However, many organizations claim that a limited number of options on the positive side make it difficult for them to distinguish between good performers and top performers. 

In most cases, if there are 5 options, with one neutral in the center, there are only two options indicating good performance. Generally, these two options are unable to capture the performance rating for those 1-2% employees who set new expectations and a bar for performance. Invariably, their exceptional performance fails to get noticed and rewarded and is equated with the good performance of other employees.

To bridge this gap, many organizations are using a performance rating scale which increases the above average performance spread. The scale for below average performance is limited to one, which can be substantiated with qualitative feedback. On the other hand, the scale focuses on more above average performance options.

Example

how to rate beyond average performance

4. The Frequency Scale for interpersonal skills

Finally, when it comes to a performance rating scale for interpersonal skills, the frequency scale is most sought after. Like most scales, it consists of a statement, followed by a few options. However, the nature and scope of the statement and options is what makes a difference. 

On the statement front, instead of directly asking whether an employee manifests a particular skill or quality, it focuses on a behavior that comes as a result of personalizing that skill. For instance, instead of inquiring if the person has good communication skills, the focus should be on behavioral aspects like display of active listening, ability to articulate thoughts, confidence of presenting in front of a group, etc. 

The options, on the other hand, seek to understand how frequently that behavior has been observed.

The idea is to gauge whether the employee has been consistently displaying the desired behaviors or is there a particular pattern to it or if it has just been observed as an off chance. 

Frequency scale example

The employee starts and ends meetings on time and runs them with a concrete agenda

  • Not at all
  • Seldom (20% of the times)
  • Sometimes (40% of the times)
  • Most of the times (70% of the times)
  • Always (90-100% of the times)

This question can help gauge the time management, organization and planning skills for an employee, without directly asking the question. 

When to use numbers vs words performance rating scale?

As you have seen above, your performance rating scale can have options in the form of words or numbers. However, choosing which way to go can have an impact on the overall efficacy of the performance review process. It is best to use a rating scale with words over numbers because it is:

  • More explanatory as numbers can have different meanings for different raters
  • More personal as being associated with a number label can be a little dehumanizing
  • Better accepted as numbers are generally absolute and can sound harsh

However, you can still use the number rating scales to review performance in situations where you need an absolute rating or when there is a clear and uniform understanding of what each number represents.  

How to choose the best performance rating scale? 

Working with multiple growing organizations over the years, we have been able to identify a few tips and tricks that can help you select the right employee rating scale for your next performance review. 

1. Go for a 4 or a 5-point scale

As a growing organization, choosing a 4 or 5-point performance rating scale makes sense because, it: 

  • Is neither too abstract nor too cumbersome and detail oriented
  • Will ensure that while your managers have enough options to choose from to rate employee performance, they don’t get lost in the sea of options 
  • Can help eliminate the risk of managers going safe with the neutral middle option, by removing the same and going for a 4-point scale with only positive and negative options

2. Choose description over number

To augment the efficacy of your performance review rating scale, choose one which provides options in words or a description over numbers to:

  • Ensure that your managers are able to give constructive feedback without an absolute label
  • Prevent employees from being demotivated or left with a feeling of condemnation in case they receive rating in the low half of the spectrum
  • Prevent any confusion of what the numbers means, which may lead to a skewed analysis

3. Be aware of the biases

Almost all performance rating scales are vulnerable to biases both in their scope and nature as well as for the rater themselves. Thus, when you pick a rating scale, you need to be aware about the potential biases and have remedial actions in place to ensure that they don’t give you an unauthentic picture of the overall performance. We will talk about some of the common pitfalls and biases in the next section for greater clarity. 

4. Create clear differences

When you choose a performance rating scale, you need to ensure that the difference in options is very clear and not ambiguous for the raters to figure out on their own. There are several aspects to it:

  • First, having one option as sometimes and the other as seldom can be difficult to differentiate between
  • Second, ensure that two options are not poles apart, leaving room for several performance categories in between. For instance, you can’t have one option that never meets expectations and the other as often meets expectations. There needs to be a balanced spectrum

5. Use the right words

Next, it is very important to use the right words in the statements and options that you choose. When it comes to the options, make sure there is a clear index of what each option means, especially if it is numeric. This index must be shared with all the stakeholder, the raters, those analyzing the results as well as the employees

Similarly, the questions should be very specific on one performance aspect. For instance, if you combine performance on communication and punctuality, it might lead to a lot of confusion. An employee might have great communication skills, but may not be punctual and thus, addressing them in the same question will be difficult. Furthermore, even aspects within the same performance parameter like active listening and ability to present in a large group can be separate.  

Common biases in a performance rating scale

Now, let’s look at some of the common biases a performance rating scale might be vulnerable to that you need to be aware of and try to avoid to the maximum extent possible:

1. Definition bias

As discussed above as well, the definition for options can be significantly different even when they are descriptive. This is so because all of us have different notions for each term. For instance, a manager might award an exceptional rating to some of his/her employees because they have been performing consistently well and that’s how they define exceptional. On the other hand, the bar for perfectionism might be too high for another, leading to a lower incidence of being awarded exceptional. Similarly, in instances where the options talk about meets or exceeds expectations, bias on what the expectations are can set in.

How to prevent this: The easiest way to prevent the definition bias is to have very clear definitions for all options which are communicated time and again to all. 

2. Leniency bias

The leniency bias occurs when the rater tends to give a more lenient or positive rating to an employee than what the performance actually begets. This can be seen when the rating is more on the positive side. Mostly the reason is that managers don’t want to demotivate their employees with a lower rating and, thus, end up giving a higher rating, which may not be a true reflection of the performance.

How to prevent this: Leverage a performance rating scale which increases the above average spread and talks about different aspects like top performers, outstanding, etc. This will ensure that decent performance is ranged at above average while exceptional ones have a separate rating. 

3. Numeric bias

Numbers can have different meanings for different raters in a rating scale. While each number can have a different meaning, the entire spectrum can be also looked at from two lenses. For instance, on a scale of 1-10, both 1 and 10 can be perceived as the top or the bottom. 

How to prevent this: Similar to the definition bias, the numeric bias for a performance rating scale can be prevented by using a clear index which clearly illustrates how the spectrum works and a definition against each number. 

4. Centrality bias

This is a very common bias when it comes to using a performance rating scale. Here, the rater tends to select the neutral or the central option to avoid any conflict or external explanation. More often than not, poor performance needs to be substantiated with improvement actions while high performance needs to be supplemented with evidence and rewards. To avoid any such actions, some raters take the easy way out, which doesn’t help differentiating between high and low performers.

How to prevent this: The easiest way to prevent the centrality bias is to remove the center or the neutral option. As shared above, you can simply go for a 4-point scale which doesn’t have a neutral option and thus, the rater has to distinguish between high and low performers. 

If you are dealing with consistent poor performance issues within your team, this article on Performance Improvement Plan might help.

Performance rating scale questions 

Invariably, you will have a statement or a question which will become the basis of the ratings for your managers. This final section will focus on the different nuances around performance rating scale questions that you must be aware of. 

How to choose right rating scale questions

Let’s start with a basic understanding of how to choose the questions for your performance review rating scale which can help you yield the best responses. To make the right choice, you must ensure that your questions are:

  • Relevant for a group of employees. This suggests that your questions should have a meaningful spread and should be able to capture diverse performance levels
  • Valid for the critical parameters for your organization. Put simply, your questions should seek answers for factors that define success for your organization. Simply getting ratings on any parameters will yield no impact
  • Crisp and to the point. Don’t use jargon or very fancy language. Keep the questions simple and easy to understand
  • Concrete and not ambiguous. The meaning of your questions should not be left for interpretation by the rater, they should be very specific
  • Supported by the right kind of options or responses. For instance, if your question/ statement is The employee takes interest in team building exercises and your options are likely, not likely, etc. it may not make a lot of sense. However, options like never, sometimes, often, always, etc. make sense 

Read: 150+ performance review phrases to find a diverse set of questions and statements for your rating scale across 17 employee qualities

Common questions for different types of performance rating scales

Before we conclude, here are some examples of common questions you can use for different types of performance rating scales. These questions can help you understand which scale is most appropriate for you depending on the situation. 

Point scale

  1. How well is the employee able to communicate his ideas?
  2. How often does the employee own up to her mistakes?
  3. How well does the employee make an effort to go out of his way to help others?

Likert scale

  1. The employee takes initiative without being asked to
  2. The employee pays attention to detail
  3. The employee delivers all the work before deadlines

Frequency scale

  1. The employee respects the opinion of others
  2. The employee is able to communicate his ideas clearly in front of others
  3. The employee understands the project needs effectively

Wrapping Up

While there are different views on whether or not a performance rating scale is the best tool to measure employee performance, there is no doubt about the merits it brings along. Therefore, it is critical for organizations to leverage this potential. Here’s a quick revision of everything you need to know about performance rating scales:

  • You should use rating scales to get concrete data points for quantitatively driven performances or when you wish to compare performance levels
  • Rating scales are easy to administer and quick to get results for
  • You may want to stay away from rating scales when you want to measure progress for roles which are different or are relatively new, with no benchmarks
  • You must be cognizant of the rater biases and contexts while interpreting rating scales
  • You must understand the different rating scales before choosing the right one based on the number and nature of responses for your needs
  • When choosing a scale, aim for 4-5 point scale, which focuses more on numbers than description, be cautious about the words you use and have clear differences between different options
  • Finally, make sure all your questions are relevant, valid, crisp, clear and supported by the right options

Now that you have a comprehensive understanding about performance rating scales, you should get started with applying the same to gauge performance levels in your organization. Follow the best practices and be aware of the pitfalls to make a dent in organizational success.

Suggested Reading

150+ performance review phrases to use in your next employee review

100+ most useful self appraisal comments 

How to address poor employee performance at work

Manager Essentials
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min read

How Can Managers Use Employee Coaching to Unlock Performance

“Coaching is unlocking a person's potential to maximize their own performance. It is helping them to learn, rather than teaching them.” - John Whitmore 

Employee coaching is the secret tool that high performing organizations use to develop and nurture talent they already have. It supports continuous  performance management by not only addressing challenges of today, but also preparing the employees to tackle what comes their way in the future. 

In this article we will discuss:

  • How to provide coaching to employees at different levels of performance
  • 16 tips for managers to use coaching to improve performance
  • Top skills for managers to become better coaches

Importance of employee coaching

Before we discuss further about how coaching can be implemented to achieve performance improvement and how managers can support the same, let’s quickly look at a few reasons that illustrate the importance of employee coaching:

importance of employee coaching

On a closer look, you will see that employee coaching not only enhances employee experience leading to greater engagement and retention, but also has direct business impact with better performance, productivity and revenue. 

Identify coaching needs for different levels of employee performance

Before we start with specific employee coaching tips, you need to understand that the same coaching approach may not work for performers across different levels in the organization. There are two sides to this understanding:

  • First, coaching will be different for different vertical levels based on tenure and experience within an organization. The same employee coaching framework will not work for a fresher and for someone with 30+ years of work experience. 
  • Second, coaching for high performers will be different from that for a sub-optimal performer. You can either get this understanding by looking for performance trends manually or use a tool. For example, the Performance Snapshot feature of SuperBeings helps managers with a 9 grid matrix to identify employees at different performance levels based on their performance history over time and their future potential. 

Once you have figured out different groups of performers, use this list of tips to support employee coaching at different performance levels:

1. The newbie

  • Avoid micromanaging
  • Give direction to ensure a culture fit
  • Offer constructive feedback

2. The ones who have just started performing 

  • Encourage desired behavior
  • Appreciate a job well done
  • Help understand the next level of responsibility

3. The ones performing well

  • Help create a career trajectory
  • Encourage greater responsibility
  • Appreciate efforts and recognize initiative

4. The masters

  • Focus on niche coaching
  • Help navigate leadership journey
  • Create a ripple effect by encouraging second generation coaching

5. The high performers

  • Help chart out their high potential professional journey
  • Encourage them to anticipate potential challenges and prepare them to deal with them
  • Focus on building their leadership skills
  • Present them with new challenges to innovate and use creativity
  • Don’t let them off the hook because of halo effect
  • Understand and expand their core motivation

5. The low performers

  • Understand key challenges
  • Promote avenues for continuous learning
  • Involve them in creating a performance improvement plan
  • Encourage them to identify right opportunities for growth
  • Provide constructive feedback
  • Reward incremental performance improvement 
  • Read how to deal with poor performers to learn more specific tips for coaching the low performers

16 tips for managers to use employee coaching for performance improvement

When it comes to improving performance, employee coaching can help in many ways. Here are some actionable tips for you to implement easily.

  1. Ask questions to enable employees to come to solutions on their own, guide the way instead of driving them to the finish line.
  2. Have some questions ready in advance as an ice breaker to avoid any awkward silence
  3. Refrain from jumping to solutions if the employee is taking a little time to think, offer a safe space for brainstorming
  4. Promote open ended questions versus those with binary responses to encourage conversation
  5. Make your phrasing empowering, instead of using terms like “you should”, say “how would you”
  6. Try to make each conversation growth focused, instead of spending too much time on reflecting what has happened. Focus on the future
  7. Focus on professional development, even beyond organizational goals
  8. Show faith in the employee you are coaching and encourage them to believe in themselves
  9. Focus on identifying performance problems for the employee and ensure they understand the same
  10. Collectively with the employee, try to understand the underlying factors that can promote better performance outcomes
  11. Understand common barriers to performance and categorize them as internal (specific to the employee) or external (like organizational support)
  12. Reflect on your conversations to analyze when you are asking questions and when providing solutions
  13. Create an action plan for long term performance goals and areas of improvement
  14. Be consistent in following up the progress and address challenges that might come along the way
  15. Offer constructive feedback at every step
  16. Be open to feedback from the employees on what can be better

5 Must Have Coaching Skills for Managers

To undertake the practices mentioned above, managers need to have a certain set of skills that can enable them to unlock performance for their employees. Following is a list of top skills to hone and some best practices to master the same.

Skill #1: Inquisitiveness

For employee coaching, managers need to move away from providing solutions and towards asking the right questions. The questions should be powerful enough to help the employees think in a growth oriented direction.

How to become inquisitive?

  • Ask meaningful questions
  • Focus on open ended questions 
  • Keep your questions with a positive tone — don’t start a question with “don’t you think” or the like phrases
  • Have follow up questions from within the conversation

Skill #2: Active listening

While coaching is about providing guidance, it seeks to ensure that guidance and support is offered to the situation of the employee. Hence, active listening is an important skill for managers if they want to become better coaches.

Active listening involves hearing, understanding, reflecting on and responding to what the employee has to say. 

How to become an active listener?

  • Provide your undivided attention
  • Use your facial gestures and body language to indicate you are listening
  • Paraphrase and summarize to ensure your listening and understanding was accurate
  • Don’t interrupt to force your point of view
  • Don’t jump to conclusions

Skill #3: Growth mindset

Managers who seek to excel in employee coaching need to have a growth mindset with a commitment and belief for the development and success of their employees. 

How to adopt a growth mindset?

  • Align organizational priorities with growth opportunities for the employees
  • Encourage employees to see challenges as opportunities
  • Help them in mastering the art of reflection and learning 
  • Empower team members to come up with alternative solutions to the same problems
  • Facilitate autonomy and flexibility to innovate and experiment

Skill $4: Empathy

As a coach, managers will be exposed to many sensitivities of an employee that might be holding them back. In such a situation, empathy as a skill is extremely important to create a high level of comfort and confidence.

How to become empathetic?

  • Check your unconscious biases
  • Be open to new perspectives and experiences
  • Connect with your employees on a human and emotional level instead of just transactional
  • Be genuinely interested in the employee’s growth

Skill #5: Consistency 

Finally, for managers to become a highly effective coach, the skill of consistency needs to be imbibed. The intent is to ensure that your efforts are not limited to a one off instance, rather are sustainable and scalable over time. 

How to become consistent?

  • Create an action plan with a follow up schedule
  • Calendarize your 1:1 meetings with employees you are coaching
  • Constantly motivate the employees on their performance
  • Don’t be too pushy or over burdening

Wrapping Up

Drawing this article to a close, it is quite clear that employee coaching has incredible potential to skyrocket performance for any organization. However, a few things need to be kept in mind.

  • Clearly distinguish between coaching and other activities like managing and feedback
  • Have different coaching frameworks and approaches for different levels of performance
  • Coaching works in different ways for high and low performing employees
  • Managers need to hone specific skills to facilitate effective employee coaching
  • Focus on the above mentioned best practices is important to leverage coaching for improving performance

If you are interested in checking out more useful resources on managing employee performance, do check this out