Build employee commitment to growth through a new paradigm in employee performance

February 21, 2023

In “How to engage employees in performance management through intrinsic motivation,” we discussed strategies to recognize employees for their performance. We know that employee turnover is a costly problem for organizations and Gallup recently released results that show employee engagement is at a 9-year low, with some of the biggest declines in how employees connect to the company’s purpose, whether they see opportunities to learn and grow, and whether they are free to build on their strengths. All of these themes are linked to individual motivators and enabling structures.

Enabling structures and their impact in the workplace

Enabling structures are the policies, processes, and systems that support employees’ growth and development. These structures reduce bias and subjectivity to ensure equity and fairness. They lead to a more engaged and motivated workforce, ultimately resulting in improved organizational performance

Enabling structures can have a significant impact on the workplace. Peer mentorship programs improve employee engagement and job satisfaction. Effective workplace learning programs are another enabling structure. Organizations can provide opportunities for skill development and training, such as through on-the-job learning from experienced team members or tuition reimbursement. 

It might be surprising to hear that performance management systems, when implemented in transparent and collaborative ways, can also act as enabling structures. A study by Deloitte (2019) found that organizations with strong performance management systems see an increase in employee engagement and productivity. The study suggests that companies should focus on creating a culture of continuous feedback and development opportunities rather than conducting the traditional cycle of annual performance evaluations. 

At Pando, we agree. Employees need to know how to progress and meet performance targets on a continuous basis. Understanding employee performance shouldn’t be confined to cyclical performance reviews attached to annual compensation changes. Companies should move towards transparent continuous progression and feedback systems, following a clear development path. These systems are more likely to make employees feel a sense of ownership over their progress and motivated to improve their skills and advance in their careers. 

Ensure you have a transparent system so employees see fairness in the process

Procedural justice is about whether an individual believes that a process is fair. Employees care more about whether the process is equitable than if they get the outcome they are personally hoping for. This ties into performance reviews and career progression - employees need to see that the ways they receive compensation, promotions, and development opportunities are steeped in fairness. 

When organizations have equitable processes in their career progression pathways, they foster a culture of trust and fairness, which leads to increased employee engagement, satisfaction, and commitment. Fair and transparent processes should be used to make decisions about employee advancement and promotions. Even when we have the best intentions within our own teams, the underlying systems that create gender pay gaps, which intersect with other biases, will lead to certain people having more education or experience that compounds into higher achievements, promotions, and compensation. Because of this, we know that closing gender and racial pay gaps will need to be done continuously, transparently, and systemically.

Career advancement should be based on objective criteria, such as job performance and development, rather than subjective factors, such as personal relationships or biases. When employees believe that decisions about their advancement are fair and based on clear criteria, they are more likely to trust the organization and feel motivated to continue developing their skills and contributing to the company's success.

Transparency is critical for creating equity in career progression. Employees should be informed about the criteria, rubrics, and processes used to make decisions, and they should have the opportunity to provide their input. This can help employees understand the steps they need to take to advance in their careers, feel like they have a voice in the process, and ultimately own their development path.

Using Pando’s competency-based rubric is an excellent way to achieve transparency and fairness in performance management. Enabling structures like clear career progression pathways are essential for any organization that wants to retain top talent and foster a culture of growth and development. These pathways should be communicated clearly to employees and aligned with the organization’s overall goals and objectives.

Linking motivators to commitment to performance management

Now let’s revisit the concept of intrinsic and extrinsic motivators from the lens of motivating employees to commit to performance management. Having the enabling structure and culture of procedural justice in place, consider the ways that individual motivators could be leveraged to gain employee buy-in to performance management. Again, the strategies you use will be individualized, and motivators can be gathered from employees during 1:1 or team meetings. The idea is to ask: what types of work and recognition help you do and feel your best in the workplace?

For employees who value a sense of accomplishment most

Performance management for this group of employees will involve recognizing key outputs and outcomes on a regular basis. They may be motivated to commit to performance management through evidence-based information, showing how they can contribute to a culture of engagement and fairness. They may enjoy game-ifying work or setting small challenges for themselves like reviewing performance or providing feedback at least once per month. They may appreciate sharing these accomplishments in a team meeting. Pando’s competency-based rubric is an excellent source of motivation for those who want to check their performance against clear developmental stages. 

For teams that need to be connected to a sense of purpose

For those motivated by a sense of purpose, you can connect performance to service-oriented results, like how committing to performance management as an organization is an enabling structure for others. They may be motivated by information about procedural justice and how this can contribute to equity in the workplace. Again, Pando’s competency-based rubric is an excellent tool to support intrinsically motivated employees because the tool can capture both hard and soft skills. And when roles and responsibilities are aligned with company values and mission, employees are more likely to feel connected to the broader vision. 

For those who value autonomy and flexibility

Performance management for those who value autonomy could be focused on the unique approach and innovative process that an enabling structure like a competency-based rubric provides. Pando increases employees’ agency over their growth and development, enabling them to progress at their own pace. 

For employees looking for learning and growth

Learning and growth-minded employees will connect best to performance management through the degree to which they learned and applied a new skill, contributing to individual and organizational success. They may be motivated by reading the theory behind processes, like how enabling structures and procedural justice underpin performance. Our unique competency-based platform can help you create a culture of continuous learning and development in your organization by clearly communicating to employees how the tool is used and why. Employees will be driven to opportunities to develop and grow in their skills when they see that the organization is committed to an equitable and transparent system for continuous progression.  

Gaining employee commitment to development means first creating enabling structures, grounding these in fairness, and then understanding key individual motivators. Motivators are different for every person, even shifting throughout our lives as circumstances change. When managers make the commitment to understanding their team’s motivators, they can understand better how to get this commitment to performance and also how to develop individualized rewards and recognition as employees own their own development.

Contact Pando to see how we can help you motivate your teams!