October 26, 2021

We were delighted to host Ben Eubanks, Chief Research Officer at Lighthouse Research & Advisory, as a speaker at our 2021 Talent Success Conference. Ben is the author of Artificial Intelligence for HR: Use AI to Build a Successful Workforce. His work has been featured in The New York Times, Business Insider, SHRM, HR Executive, and several other influential publications.

We’re even more excited to welcome Ben back, this time as a guest on the ClearCompany blog! He’s answering some of the most popular questions related to his TSC session, 5 Performance Practices of High-Performing Firms.

We asked Ben to tell us more about the strategies high-performing organizations use to keep their employees motivated and engaged. He’s covering it all, from recognition strategies to the biggest mistake you might be making with your own performance management strategy.

Keep reading to learn more about how your company can manage performance in a positive, encouraging way that contributes to a higher-performing workforce. Then, watch Ben’s TSC 2021 session for even more on effective performance management strategies, and download our resources for recharging your performance management strategy.

According to author and speaker Ben Eubanks, the most important part of high-quality #PerformanceManagement is designing your process for results and positive recognition. Learn more from @ClearCompany’s Q&A with the HR expert:

Q: Which performance management practice is most important to implement first?

A: The most important piece of a high-quality performance process is making sure that you’re implementing something that delivers the intended result: performance. If we throw in all kinds of different methods, practices, and processes without designing any of them to reach our intended outcome, then it’s all just window dressing in the end.

That said, the research shows that weaving in positive recognition is the first thing that high-performing employers do.

Q: Which performance management practice do you think matters most to employees?

A: All of the core pieces that our research covers matter (recognition, peer feedback, in-the-moment manager feedback, coaching for development, and focusing on strengths), but if I had to pick a “favorite” it would be coaching for development. The data we have shows that two out of every three workers have left a job because of a lack of growth.

Remember: If we don’t paint a picture of a person’s future within the organization, they will imagine a future outside the organization when they get a call from the recruiter across the street.

“Remember: If we don’t paint a picture of a person’s future within the organization, they will imagine a future outside the organization when they get a call from the recruiter across the street.”

Q: How do you handle situations when people say, "Everyone can't be a high performer?” For example, when bonuses are being handed out?

A: That’s a tough one, especially when you have a team that is truly made up of high-quality individuals. The good thing is that money isn’t the only motivator that leaders have. While it’s nice to get cash, leaders can use choice projects/assignments, development opportunities, exposure to leadership, and other levers to create positive relationships.

Q: What would you say is the 'sweet spot' for how often we should be giving recognition?

A: The biggest mistake is designing a process focused on completion rates rather than better performance. In our research, we found that a surprising number of companies say the way they approach performance management actually hinders the performance and engagement of their people. Do you think sales says that about their approaches? Or finance? Probably not.

“The biggest mistake is designing a [performance management] process focused on completion rates rather than better performance.”

Q: Do you have any recommendations for recognition tactics for an agency where our employees work in the field and not in the office?

A: Number one, if you have a social wall or an app where people are connecting, make that visible to everyone.

Try a one-on-one call from leadership or a video message for everyone to see for top performers. We used to hold special semi-annual all-hands meetings with all of our staff. Just hosting these for an hour meant we were spending thousands of dollars to pay our people not to do work. But we used them to share vision, recognize top performance, and expose our people to cultural values that we held dear.

Q: How do you handle these concepts with leadership when upper management's views clash with these ideologies?

A: You’re really asking, “How do I build a business case for this?” Just like if marketing was going to leadership to say they want to invest in a new system, you’re saying to leadership, “We want to invest in this new approach, and it will take a little bit of training time.” But for many of the ideas we talked about today, it doesn’t cost anything to do them and to teach your managers to do them well.

So, I would encourage you to think about it as a business case. The research shows that when people are connected and engaged and bring their best selves to work, that brings this amazing set of business outcomes — not just HR and engagement outcomes. Profitability, innovation, customer satisfaction, product quality — all of those elements are affected by engagement.

@ClearCompany’s latest post, get valuable #performancemanagement insights from HR expert and @LighthouseRA Chief Research Officer @beneubanks! Check it out:

If your industry is one where recognition and appreciation don’t often happen naturally (for example, construction), we can encourage managers to start these efforts. Run a pilot within your business so you can point to the teams using these new approaches and see that their retention is higher than other teams. Start there, and you’ll begin to see the uptake of these initiatives quickly.

View the recording of Ben’s TSC21 session to see him in action and dive deeper into how high-performing firms manage employee performance. Then, connect with Ben on LinkedIn and check out his blog, too.

Ready to recharge performance management at your company? ClearCompany’s Performance Management Mega Bundle has all the resources you need to help employees to reach their full potential and support their engagement, motivation, and growth. Download these valuable resources today!

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Meredith Wholley
Meredith Wholley
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As a Marketing and Event Manager, Meredith coordinates best-practice content and brand-awareness events for ClearCompany. With her career in HR tech, Meredith works closely with HR practitioners and is passionate about providing them with the tools and information they need to succeed.

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