The best thing managers can do to support working parents (and in fact all employees), is to get better at one of the most basic and most of the time poorly executed functions of being a manager: performance appraisals.
A lot of managers dislike doing performance evaluations, and so do their employees. The usual complaints about them are: how long they take to complete, their subjective nature, the infrequent timing, etc.
Another problem of these performance evaluations is that it is relatively hard to rate how well people are performing, it is much easier to observe the quantity of work and the number of working hours. As a result ‘face time’ became a consideration, even when they shouldn’t be treated as paramount. A lot of managers don’t feel comfortable rating performance, that’s why they resort to ‘face time’.
The best thing managers can do for all their employees, especially those facing work-family conflicts, is to do the hard work of actually evaluating performance, not face time.
When they do so, they give their employees the freedom to arrange their work lives so that they can be the most effective. When you focus on ‘face time’, you get … face time from your employees. But when you focus on performance in your evaluations, you get superior performance.
Some changes don’t require a full-scale overhaul of the performance management system. They’re small changes that managers can make on their own. Changing the way managers evaluate goes to the core of good management. How much more efficient would your organization be if managers:
- Defined performance in terms of customer satisfaction, core activities, or project completion.
- Regularly held goal-setting and feedback sessions with employees, and used goal attainment as the core of performance evaluation.
- Understood which aspects of employees’ jobs lend themselves to flexible work and which need to be performed at set times in the office.
- Allowed more flexibility in how, when, and where work gets done, while ensuring that enough time is spent at the office to promote communication, collaboration and innovation.
- Gradually allowed more freedom and flexibility employees who perform well and earn trust.
- Recognized that we can maintain or even increase performance standards in professional environments while letting go of exactly how work gets done.
A fitness wristband can track how long you sit in your chair. It takes a leader to understand how work gets done, and by whom. By implementing some of these changes mentioned above, we allow employees to make schedules that work best for their success.
This will benefit working parents, but all employees also gain. And in the long run, their companies will benefit from it as well.
Source: Harvard Business Review. Read the full article here.