Performance Enablement as the Key to Better Productivity in the Workplace

It’s already a well-known fact that hiring a new employee can cost a business way more than retaining the existing staff, and a 2019 study by Zenefits proves this point.

From the 600 businesses surveyed in this study, 63% said it was harder for them to retain the existing employees than hire new ones. At the same time, recruiting new staff costs a business $2.9 million on average per employee. That adds up to a cool $1 billion a year. On top of that, high turnover rates are detrimental to a business’s growth. That’s why it is crucial to invest in employee retention approaches that would help you keep your staff and make your employees more engaged and interested in staying.

Performance enablement is one of these approaches. Today, we’re going to look closely at what it is, how it is different from performance management, and the main factors that make performance enablement successful.

What Is Performance Enablement?

First, let’s define performance enablement to help us better understand the nature of this approach.

Performance enablement is a holistic strategy around maximizing your employees’ potential, by providing them with the resources they need to improve their work quality and job satisfaction.

Performance enablement is comprised of three pillars of business growth – sales readiness and empowerment, onboarding and engagement, and action-based learning and development.

This involves a wide myriad of activities, including improving communication with the team through daily team syncs, coaching and training, job guidelines, etc. It is also closely connected with other employee empowerment tactics, such as engagement programs.

Additionally, a necessary prerequisite to employee enablement is leadership enablement, which involves bringing together leaders and managers to empower commitment and boost performance. Leadership enablement is about helping senior managers to:

  • engage staff
  • communicate a message clearly
  • improve senior management’s visibility
  • foster communication between the organization’s leaders and team managers
  • provide communication support across the organization

Ideally, leadership enablement precedes performance enablement, since it is the company’s leaders who are responsible for the success of performance enablement and empowerment.

Performance Enablement vs. Performance Management

In today’s world, performance management, which is the usual approach of planning, organizing, leading, and controlling the employee’s performance, is going obsolete. Greg Pryor, VP, Leadership & Organizational Effectiveness at Workday, also says that performance enablement should replace performance management if the organization’s goal is to retain its staff.

So, where is performance management failing, and why is performance enablement a good substitute?

The textbook performance management system has a set of significant flaws:

  • Lack of opportunity for timely feedback. The typical performance management system involves employee performance reviews that usually take place once or twice a year. However, to empower better performance, employees need timely feedback on a daily or weekly basis.
  • Control without providing the resources. The essential point in performance management is tying employee performance to the company’s goals. At this point, managers often make the mistake of controlling the result rather than the process. Performance enablement, however, focuses more on providing employees with the necessary resources and training to do the task properly.
  • Assessment without forecasting. The main focus of the standard performance management system is to evaluate the current results, but to boost staff’s job satisfaction, forecasting matters as much as the employee’s current performance.

In its essence, performance enablement is a solution to all the drawbacks mentioned above:

  • One of the goals in employee enablement is to improve communication, which results in better-quality feedback.
  • Leadership enablement as a part of overall performance enablement teaches senior managers how to recognize their staff’s needs in resources and training.
  • Better and more frequent communication between management and their staff would allow them to get a better perspective on how to boost the organization’s performance in the long run.

The traditional performance management system focuses more on control on the managers’ side. Conversely, the goal of performance enablement is to give employees greater decision-making freedom and to improve the communication between leadership and staff.

5 Factors of Successful Performance Enablement

Now, let’s take a look at the main five factors which make performance enablement successful.

1) Employee training

Performance enablement is about upskilling your workforce and letting your employees continuously improve their skills.

The key is to organize on-the-job training available to the employees when necessary; it should also correspond to different learning styles. Employee training should focus not only on delivering the current tasks but also should benefit the employee’s performance in the long run.

2) Access to resources

Apart from regular training, employees should also have access to resources to use for self-studying.

At this point, your employees must have access to learning resources at any time. This means you should digitize your content and make it available through any device. Gnowbe offers businesses an easy solution to turn their ready-made content into a mobile-, tablet-, and desktop-friendly format so that their employees could work on improving their performance whenever they see fit.

3) Access to technology

A lot of employees’ success depends on access to technology that helps automate and speed up certain tasks.

Access to technology is an inalienable part of performance enablement, but it’s also closely connected to employee training since your staff needs to learn how to operate the new tools before drawing benefits from them.

4) Employee contribution

You already know that performance enablement is about giving an employee more freedom. Here’s where it’s connected to employee empowerment – your staff gets to make decisions that positively impact their performance.

The success of performance enablement also depends on how well you reward your employees for their contributions. Employee compensation should be proportionate to the significance of their input.

5) Improved communication

The last factor that impacts the success of your employee empowerment strategy is communication with your staff. It’s all about building the connection between senior management and employees.

At this point, it’s also important to create opportunities for the employees to build deeper connections with their peers. You can also assign a mentor to a team or each employee to work on specific skills or gain experience in certain business areas.

If you decide to refocus your performance management to employee enablement, you should start by transforming senior management’s leadership style, increase the leaders’ visibility, and optimize communication with staff. Once you achieve that, it will be easier to implement your employee enablement strategy.

Embrace the Power of Performance Enablement

Performance enablement is an inalienable part of your business’s growth. Its biggest benefit for your organization is employee retention and engagement since its goal is to increase job satisfaction and give employees more freedom to make important decisions.

The success of performance enablement depends on the five factors – employee training, access to resources and technology, employee contribution, and communication. Your task is to figure out how to implement these factors into your relationship with the staff. It may seem like a tall order, but the results will speak for themselves – when you start investing in your employees’ success, they will become more dedicated and motivated.

This is an exclusive article for Gnowbe
Written by Marques Coleman from Subjecto

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